How to Solve Conflicts

Watch a video about resolving disagreements, then discuss strategies for handling conflicts in a constructive way!
Ages 8-14 / 30
min Activity
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  • Watch a short video about conflict resolution and reflect on the different strategies shared in the video 
  • Participate in a discussion about how they can navigate future disagreements with respect, kindness, and understanding

Supporting Research

Empathy is linked to more prosocial behaviors, fostering our ability to navigate conflicts with compassion for others’ distress. During this activity, educators should encourage students to practice kindness and inclusivity as they discuss how to respectfully navigate disagreements, such as controlling their impulses before reacting and apologizing for any harm done to the other person.

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.

Activity Partners

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  1. Begin the activity by asking students to silently reflect on the following questions:
    • Think of a recent disagreement that you had with someone else - what was it about? 
    • What feelings did you experience? What feelings do you think the other person experienced? 
    • Were you able to settle the disagreement? If so, what strategies did you use? If not, is there something that you wish you had done differently?
  2. Watch this video with your students, and encourage them to pay attention to the strategies shared by the narrator.

    Afterwards, distribute a copy of the “How to Solve Conflicts” handout, and ask students to respond to the questions. The questions will guide them through reflecting on the different strategies, such as how they can be a good listener and embody their values.
  3. Ask students to pair up with someone sitting near them, and act out an extension of the scenario from the video. For example, Shane might realize that Brian has been posting unkind comments on the video of him, and approaches him to ask him to stop. 

    During this role-play exercise, students should try to practice some of the strategies from the handout, focusing on how they can manage their emotions, communicate respectfully, and find a solution together. 
  4. Then, engage students in a reflection by asking the following questions: 
    • How did Shane and Dawson’s inability to control their emotions lead to a bad situation? What could they have done differently?
    • What is something that worked well during your role-play exercise? Were there any particular strategies that were helpful, or did you come up with any new ones? 
    • Can you think of a time when you struggled to control your emotions during a disagreement? How did it impact the situation? What is something you can try doing next time?
    • Dawson shared the video online without considering how it might affect Shane. Do you think his actions would have been different if he had paused and reflected before acting? How so?
    • Why do you think it’s important to apologize when you’ve hurt someone, even unintentionally? What are the qualities of a good apology? 
    • What do you think Dawson meant when he said: “I was a jerk today, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a jerk tomorrow.”? How can this mindset help us grow and learn, even when we make mistakes? 
  5. On a different day, consider asking students to write a response to the following question and continue reinforcing the conflict resolution strategies:
    • Sometimes, when we’re upset, we might say or do things without thinking. Can you think of a time when you wished you had taken a moment to pause and think before reacting? After reflecting on these strategies, what would you do differently in the future?

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.