Group activity and discussion on handling disagreement.
After spending some time in discussion on various ways to manage conflict, students will engage in an activity where they will likely experience some disagreement amongst themselves. Use the initial conversations as a baseline for the student activity.
As per usual, much of the learning can come in the reflection segment of the lesson. Be prepared to offer examples of conflict resolution strategies that you observed students using during the activity portion of the lesson.
1. Hand out or display the articles on Conflict Resolution Strategies. Assign whichever one you wish, or allow students to read whichever article they prefer.
2. Allow time for students to read and digest the material.
3. Group up students into groups of four to share their information from the article.
- Information you thought was a helpful tip or tool.
- Something you have a question or something you wonder about?
4. Have students in groups of 2 – 3 discuss reasons why people get stuck in conflict. Have them share out their main points to the class.
5. Next, read aloud—or pass out—several of the conflict-scenarios. Ask students to use the information they gathered from the article to give conflict-management advice to the characters in the scenarios.
Hope and Aaliyah are best friends. They don’t like another girl, Jess, though she would like to be their friend. They both tease her a lot by laughing at her and whispering about her behind her back. One day they decide to tease her more by inviting her to meet them in town on the weekend. They don’t turn up and don’t call her beforehand. Jess is hurt, angry, and confused and doesn’t know what to do. What advice would you give Jess about how to handle this conflict?
Omar has recently moved to a new school. At the end of his first week, he’s become friends with the popular group of boys. They include Omar and he plays soccer with them most lunchtimes. All the boys joke around with one another and they start making jokes about Omar being a terrorist. Omar feels really uncomfortable with the jokes but when he says something the boys get annoyed and tell him to ‘take a joke.’ Omar doesn’t know what to do. What advice would you give Omar about how to handle this conflict?
Kiana and her friend Nada are spending the night over at Kiana’s house. They want to watch a movie but cannot decide which one to watch. The movie Kiana wants to watch Nada has already seen. The one Nada wants to watch Kiana has already seen. They can’t seem to work this out. What advice would you give Kiana or Nada about how to handle this conflict?
Jerrell’s friend Nick asks to borrow his basketball almost every day after school. Pretty often, Nick won’t return it until Jerrell asks for it, and Jerrell notices that he returns it muddy, and last time had some sticky stuff on it. Jerrell is annoyed and doesn’t want to let Nick use his basketball anymore, but he’s afraid that if he says no to Nick, Nick will be angry. What advice would you give Jerrell about how to handle this conflict?
6. After some time spent discussing in small groups, introduce the next activity.
7. SAY: “Using the discussion and ideas you’ve just generated, let’s do an activity where you will most likely experience some levels of group conflict. Notice how you respond, how others respond, and how your group moves through the conflict. I wonder if anyone will find themselves using any of the ideas from the article, or noticing anyone else using them?”
8. Hand out the Lost at Sea worksheet to each student.
9. Read the survival scenario aloud: You and your team have chartered a yacht. None of you have any previous sailing experience, and you have hired an experienced skipper and two-person crew. As you sail through the Southern Pacific Ocean a fire breaks out and much of the yacht and its contents are destroyed. The yacht is slowly sinking. Your location is unclear because vital navigational and radio equipment has been damaged. The yacht skipper and crew have been lost whilst trying to fight the fire. Your best guestimate is that you are approximately 1000 miles South West of the nearest landfall. You and your friends have managed to save 15 items, undamaged and intact after the fire.
10. Allow time for each student to individually rank the supplies in order from most important (1) to least important (15).
11. Next, place students into small groups of 4-6. Have the groups collectively rank the supplies. They should give reasons for why they ranked in that order.
12. To keep an atmosphere of competition, tell the groups that whichever team gets the most “points” from having the correct answers will be the group that truly survives! (and wins a prize?)
13. Allow time for discussion and debate among the groups about their ranking, there is no need to rush them! Circulate among the groups to watch for any conflict resolution strategies that you see.
14. Once groups are coming to a close, circle everyone up for reflective discussion. You will share the “right answers” at the end.
Ask students to annotate the article as they read. Consider:
- Circle information that is important
- Underline information that they already know or believe in
- Star information that they have a question about
1. Debrief Questions (don’t ask all of these, there’s too many. Choose questions that connect to the groups experience. Look to include the bolded questions as they are the basics of reflection and transference):
- How did people feel about the decisions that were made?
- How were decisions made?
- There are a few different responses to the decision-making process when disagreement arises. You can:
hold your point at all costs
stay quiet and acquiesce to anyone’s opinion
voice your idea and give reasons for it—while being open to seeing others’ opinions
what other ways did you notice?
- What did you notice yourself doing?
- Who influenced the decisions and how?
- How could better decisions have been made?
- Did people listen to each other? If not why not?
- What roles did group members take in this process?
- How was conflict managed?
- Think back to the conversations about conflict that you did prior to this activity, which ideas did you see play out during this activity?
- What kinds of behavior helped or hindered the group?
- What have you learned about the functioning of this group?
- When did communication break down in your group?
- How would you do the activity differently if you were asked to do it again?
- What situations at work/home/school are like this exercise?
- Did you do better with the individual section of this activity or the team section? Why?
- What did you notice about how you handled points of conflict? What did you do?
- What is helpful to the activity?
- Could your style be improved in any way?
- Were there any group decision making tools such as voting or tallying used?
- Did the group aim for consensus or majority? What were the benefits of each?
Share the “correct” answers with the group.
According to the experts (US Coastguard), the basic supplies needed when a person is stranded mid-ocean are articles to attract attention and articles to aid survival until rescue arrives. Articles for navigation are of little importance since even if a small life raft were capable of reaching land; it would be impossible to store enough food and water to survive for the requisite amount of time. Without signaling devices, there is almost no chance of being spotted and ultimately rescued. Furthermore, most rescues occur within the first 36 hours and a person can survive with only a minimum of food and water during that period.
The following is the order of ranking the items in their importance to your survival:
- Shaving Mirror. Critical for signaling
- 2 gallon can of oil/petrol mixture critical for signaling. The mixture will float on water and could be ignited with one of the $5 bills and a match. What the experts don’t say is how you get away from this conflagration or what to do if the wind should push the life raft into the flames!
- 5 gallon can of water. Necessary to replenish fluids lost through perspiration (that’s sweat)
- One case of army rations. Basic food intake.
- 20 square feet of opaque plastic. Can be utilized to collect rain water and provide shelter from the elements.
- 2 boxes of chocolate bars. Reserve food supply (what were you going to do with that much chocolate?)
- Fishing kit. Ranked lower than the chocolate as ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’. There is no guarantee you will catch any fish.
- 15ft of nylon rope. Could be used to lash people or equipment together to prevent it being washed overboard.
- Floating seat cushion. A life preserver if someone fell overboard.
- Shark repellent. Enough said.
- One quart of rubbing alcohol. Contains more than 80% alcohol, which is enough to be used as an antiseptic for any injuries, otherwise of little value – would cause dehydration if ingested.
- Small transistor radio. Of no use without a transmitter. You would also be out of range of any radio station.
- Maps of the Pacific Ocean. Worthless without navigation equipment. It does not matter where you are but where the rescuers are!
- Mosquito netting. There are NO mosquitos in the mid-pacific ocean. As for fishing with it? – stick to the fishing kit.
- Sextant. Useless without the relevant tables and a chronometer.