After years of peer mediation, Lashayla Eason has surmised that the difference between elementary school and middle school arguments is that elementary school students converse with their mouths, while middle schoolers do it with their hands.
Eason was one of four Carl Sandburg Middle Students presenting a mock mediation at this year’s Peer Mediation Summit and that is how she answered when a younger student asked if the problems are the same in middle and elementary school. Another Carl Sandburg student said that she thought that elementary school students had more arguments than in middle school.
Beatrice Gee, Monet Oliver and Ruth Smith were the other students presenting. Jill Tucker, counselor at Carl Sandburg, said about the presentation, “The role playing scenario is pretty typical.”
Colleen Hooper moderated the presentation and said, “These girls only had an hour to prepare this but once you have the skills you can come to agreement.”
When she asked the girls how many years of experience they had as peer mediators, the answers were anywhere from two to five years; in all a total of 13 years experience.
Questions after the presentation ranged in scope. Elementary school students were very interested to find out if the mediators were ever unsuccessful in their mediations (no) and how long they last (depends). The girls said that they became mediators because they were asked.
The younger students also wanted to know if they ever had to break up a fight in the mediation room (no) and if the same people kept coming back. The girls said the latter happened mostly in elementary school.
“It’s an opportunity for elementary, middle and high school mediators to come together to strengthen their skills,” said Marjorie Bleiweis, conflict resolution specialist.