Students Learn the Skill of Conflict Resolution in a Multi-Age Class


>>Carmen: We’re going to do one
minute with our eyes closed, two, three, four minutes
with our eyes open…>>Narrator: This unique
sixth-period elective at AS1 begins with a moment of meditation.>>Carmen: On your mark. Get set. Go.>>What happens is the
children learn to be focused. They learn to meditate, because just
learning how to be in the presence of others is so important. Children just chose
to be in the class. I didn’t go around
and elicit interest, and I had the very first
class, which was last April. I had 12 students, 1 from every
grade, including kindergarten.>>Yosi filled out the forum form,
and Yosi wrote “throwing my”…>>Kipa.>>…kipa like a Frisbee. A kipa or a yarmulke is
what Yosi wears on his head.>>It’s what I believe in.>>Narrator: Called “the forum,”
the class is primarily dedicated to helping students resolve
their problems peacefully.>>Well, he pushed me on the
ground and I pushed him back. He grabbed my kipa. He was, like, keeping it away
from me, and I grabbed his hair and I said, “Give me back my
kipa and I’ll let your hair go.”>>Carmen: Okay. Questions for Yosi?>>How did you get your kipa back?>>It was on the ground
and I picked it up.>>So did he grab it, or he…>>Carmen: They ask questions for
clarity, and then they figure out a way to solve the problem of
these two people who can’t figure out how to solve the
problem without outside help.>>So, Yosi’s — no
offense or anything — a little bit smaller than
me, so I didn’t see him, and when I ran into him he fell over. And then he came up and
he tried to kick me, and it was like a playful kick. I don’t think there was any, like…>>Carmen: Malice?>>Yeah, malice or anything.>>Carmen: And I just
think it’s very cool, because some of the most
insightful questions will be asked by first-graders.>>Why did you push him back?>>I was pretty much really angry.>>Carmen: What comes out of it more
than anything is people learn to talk to each other and listen
to each other.>>I probably should’ve apologized,
but I just kept on walking.>>Carmen: And they learn that there’s
another avenue besides hitting or screaming or yelling
or going to get someone.>>Yosi, what do you need from Levi?>>Please do not take my kipa.>>Carmen: Can you accommodate that? Okay, he needs to hear that.>>I won’t take your kipa anymore.>>Thank you.>>Carmen: Do you need
anything else from Levi?>>The children learn that
they can become empowered and that they can take
care of their own stuff and they don’t need to
run and get someone.