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No lose conflict solving

The no-lose problem solving is based on the philosophy, which assumes that in a conflict it is possible for both sides to have their needs met. It usually needs creativity for finding a new solution matching both sides, and/or to apply certain communication methods.

Two main methods are highly recommended to use for solving conflicts in teacher-student relationships. One that is used in Gordon’s T.E.T. programs and the other is Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Both of these methods help to solve problems by keeping mutually satisfying relationship between partners.

What is common in these no-lose conflict solving methods is that

both are based on

  • the value: both side’s wellbeing is of equal worth in a conflict,
  • non-judgemental attitude, empathy (not sympathy nor antipathy) and
  • certain skills: using active listening, and expressing I-Messages.

In what case do we prefer using Gordon’s model? If…

  • there is only limited time
  • it is possible to modify physical environment to prevent problems and conflicts
  • it is important to decide who is the owner of the problem
  • it is essential to recognize and avoid the 12 Communication Roadblocks
  • the aim is to get a rule-setting process
  • the emphasis is on the problem/conflict solving itself

How to use it?

The basic version of Gordon’s method is that first it needs to labelled who is the problem owner, then comes the 3 STEPS of communication:

  1. Non-judgemental description of the other’s behaviour (factual description of what happened without any adjectives)
  2. Expressing feelings (how did I feel as a result of the other’s actions)
  3. Identification of the tangible/concrete effect of the others’ behaviour on us (sentences that start with "This made me…")

In what case do we prefer using NVC? If…

  • more time we have for understanding the roots of the conflict
  • we would like to have/keep a meaningful deeper relationship
  • we want to focus on the relationship between us (more therapeutic approach)
  • we want to focus on one’s own needs and on the other’s as well
  • having the knowledge, that everyone takes responsibility about her/his feelings
  • the emphasis is on the process between us in the present 

How to use NVC?

Briefly: Keep role changes (use empathic listening and expressing) as many times as needed to understand each other.

Using empathy and active listening (clarifying, questioning with NVC’s 4 steps) to listen to the other, and using 4 steps to express our inner world.

Applying the NVC’s 4 STEPS:

  1. Observation of behaviour or events (without interpretation or evaluation being mixed in)

  2. Expressing our feelings (avoid evaluating expressions)

  3. Expressing our needs (NVC includes a literacy of human needs and a listed itinerary of basic universal needs)

  4. A clear specific request for connection or action (I-Messages, or Strategies) 

Alternatively, there is another Gordon’s no-lose conflict solving method in 6 STEPS:
When shell we use this model? If

  • we are not or not much involved emotionally in the conflict (we have no specific feelings about the conflict or the people in it)
  • The problem/conflict is of a materialistic type (the issue is not about different feelings, personalities but concrete actions or objects, like if two students need the only available laptop for use)

Step 1 :Identifying and Defining the Problem Together

Warning: your statements of the problem should be expressed in a way that does not communicate blame or judgment. I –messages are recommended.

Step 2: Generating Alternative Solutions

Both parts should be creative in generating possible solutions.

It’s important to avoid evaluation until a number of possible solutions are proposed.

Step 3: Evaluating the Alternative Solutions

It is important by this phase to take special care that both you and the other person are honest and use active listening.

Step 4: Choose a Solution

In this phase both people agree on a solution or combination of solutions. Someone needs to state the solutions to make sure that both agree. Don't try to push a solution - both should choose freely.

Step 5: Plan for and Take Action

In this step, you both decide Who does What by When to carry out the agreed-on solution. It's best to trust that both will do what they agreed on instead of talking about what will happen if they don't.

Step 6: Check Results

Both need to agree to check back at a later time to make sure the solution worked/is working for each of them.

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