Research Day

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Determining Best Practices of Peer Mediation methods in Kalamazoo Public Schools Melanie Bourgeau, Dagan Hammar, Neil Hughes, Sarah Kemp, Sydney Spitler, Catherine Kothari BACKGROUND Peer mediation is a method of conflict resolution in which a conflict between two people or groups is guided by a fellow student in order to reach an agreement. Peer mediation has been shown to be an effective tool in helping students resolve conflict and how to respond to future conflicts. This has led to a reduction in school violence and suspensions in schools that have adopted this method. Several methods have been employed in the implementation of peer mediation. However, the two most common methods are the whole school and the cadre approach. The whole school approach requires everyone at the school to be trained, while the cadre approach only requires a few to be trained. PURPOSE The purpose of this study is to explore the various forms of peer mediation and determine best practices for peer mediation in Kalamazoo Public Schools. MATERIALS AND METHODS An online survey was distributed to eligible educators and administrators throughout the Kalamazoo public elementary schools that currently have a peer mediation program. Survey included questions ontheir opinion regarding the effectiveness of peer mediation program currently in place and if there were any barriers to successfully implementing the program. RESULTS 16 Surveys were completed by the study participants at multiple schools in the Kalamazoo area. Overall, the survey respondents found the peer mediation program to be somewhat beneficial to the students (3.69/5; 5 being most beneficial). The results show that the greatest barriers to using the peer mediation program are student willingness (50%) and time (38%). Respondents also feel there is not enough school-wide support for the program (2.94/5) CONCLUSION One of the main barriers to the peer mediation program is having school-wide engagement in the program., Evidence from literature show that the most effective way to implement peer-mediation is through the school-wide approach. Findings from our study show that peer mediation program could be a effective intervention for conflict resolution, however, this is not currently functioning at its full potential. The best way to improve the program, without going to the full school approach, would be to increase awareness and participation at all levels.



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