Conflict resolution education in classrooms: The intersection of educators, an inservice training program, and a curriculum

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Cultural Foundations of Education


Joan N. Burstyn


Conflict resolution, Educators, Inservice, Curriculum

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Teacher Education and Professional Development


This applied research study examines how six educators who participated in the Community Mediation Bureau's fifteen hour training program for the Conflict Solvers curriculum understood and used the curriculum. The Conflict Solvers is a kindergarten through third grade conflict resolution education curriculum. There are five components to the curriculum: capable, contribute, connect, communicate, and conflict resolution.

This study is based on data from interviews, participant observation, and a review of the curriculum. I interviewed six educators who participated in the training. I also interviewed two principals and one social worker to get their perspective on conflict resolution education in the schools. I was a participant observer of the training program. I reviewed the Conflict Solvers curriculum and the training handbook.

The educators I interviewed indicated that they were practicing the capable, contribute, connect, communicate aspects of the Conflict Solvers before the training. It was in these areas that they made changes in their practice because of the training. They did not indicate that they added conflict theory to their practice nor did they use activities from the curriculum.

From my analysis of the data I concluded that there were certain limitations to the training that prevented the teachers from more completely using the curriculum. The limitations I identified were that the training did not provide the teachers with a level of competence with the language to be adept and confident to use the activities. The similarities and differences between the Conflict Solvers and other programs were not explored and teachers were concerned about the larger social-economic issues that, they felt, affected students who were particularly problematic.

From this data and analysis I recommend that the teacher training be modified. I suggest using a model that is elicitive drawing on participants implicit knowledge, and enabling them to reflect on their practice and beliefs. I also recommend that further research be done on conflict resolution education in urban settings.


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