Case Study: Conflict Resolution

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Conflict Resolution

It is clear that the conflict between the regular education teachers and the special education staff will not go away without some form of intervention. In fact, with ample evidence of frustration, it is likely to just get worse if left unattended. Therefore, the school administrator at Sunnyslope High School should take on the role of a neutral to mediate the dispute and should also make sure the appropriate teaming environment and structures are in place to encourage collaboration.

As its name implies, the role of a neutral in providing third-party assistance is not to take sides or do judge who is right to who is wrong (Liddle). Jones (1998) explains that the resolution will not be accepted by one or both parties if the neutral is not accepted as a person with no recognizable bias to the personalities and issues involved in the dispute. This is certainly the most obvious and the most important responsibility of the neutral. However, the job of the neutral is far more complex than many realize.

Before the mediation process between the education teachers and the special education staff even starts, the school administrator and the parties must establish ground rules (the role of the mediator). These make clear the purpose of mediation, explain how the mediation process works and identify the expected behaviors of all parties. Setting ground rules is particularly important because it will set the tone for the entire mediation process to generate enthusiastic participation.

According to Jones (1998), the most difficult job of the neutral is to fully understand the causes of the conflict by gathering and analyzing information. This is because conflicts are caused by various reasons that must be resolved in unique ways. In the case at Sunnyslope High School, there are a number of factors that may or may not be contributing to the conflict such as communication, training, newly adopted policies, power imbalances, and planning time and classroom limitations. Great attention to what is said and what is not said holds the key to appropriately framing the real issues.

Of particular concern in this case is the lack of shared planning times and communication and whether there may be structural causes and, therefore, the school administrator should take note of teaming best practices for application at Sunnyslope High School. For instance, Flowers, Mertens, and Mulhall (2000) compared 155 Michigan middle schools that were teaming with either high levels of common planning time (defined as 4 meetings per week of at least 30 minutes per session), low levels of common planning time, and no teaming. Their research showed that planning time, team size as well as the length of time a school had been teaming all contributed to the success or failure of the teams. Those with higher levels of planning time, smaller teams, and longer lengths of team cohesion were the most successful, enjoying benefits such as a more positive school climate, higher teacher job satisfaction, and higher student achievement scores than schools… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Conflict Resolution.  (2008, November 30).  Retrieved May 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/conflict-resolution-case-study/87719

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"Conflict Resolution."  Essaytown.com.  November 30, 2008.  Accessed May 22, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/conflict-resolution-case-study/87719.