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Conflict Resolutions for English Language Learners











This session is designed around a curriculum guide for teaching conflict resolution with English language learners. Participants will engage in conversations on prejudice awareness and reduction, communication, and conflict management and will discuss challenges and opportunities to bringing these conversations into their classroom.




1. To provide a forum where teachers can engage in conversations that will aid them in addressing the following guiding questions.

2. To introduce participants to concepts in conflict resolution through interactive, experiential activities.


        Guiding Questions


1. How can we incorporate conflict resolution in the learning experience of ELLs? 

2. What, from our own experience, contributes to our facilitation of conflict resolution concepts?

3. How can we effectively teach controversial issues?


Target audience


The Conflict Resolution for English Language Learners teaching guide, on which this EVO is based, was designed for high school age students at the intermediate level. The content can be modified for younger or older students, with higher or lower language skills. This EVO is appropriate for classroom teachers, teacher educators, or administrators.


Interest Section/Other TESOL Sponsors


Teachers for Social Responsibility Forum, NNEST IS, Teacher Education IS



Weekly content





During Week 1, we will engage in several exercises designed to set the stage for the rest of the program and to establish a level of trust that will allow for free and open communication.



1.   Ground Rules

2.      Name Game

3.      Draw Your Own Symbol


Discussion Points:

1. Framework of the CRELL teaching guide

2. Content of Activities


Assignment: Prior to the first session, review the Powerpoint presentation and notes in the Week 1 folder, which introduce the framework of the teaching guide.





Trust building and prejudice awareness and reduction, Part I

In Week 2  we will continue to focus on developing trust within the group. We will spend some time discussing what conflict is and developing a working definition for it, and then we will move into exercises on prejudice awareness and reduction. We will begin by reflecting on and sharing our own identities. We will also look at definitions of terms around prejudice and discrimination as we attempt to develop a common language for our conversations. 


Guiding Question: How do we create a safe place in our classroom where experiences around prejudice and discrimination can be shared?


Activities from the guide:

1.      Defining Conflict

2.      Identity Molecule

3.      Definitions



Tatum, B. D. (2000). The complexity of identity: “Who am I?” In M. Adams et al. (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice (pp. 31-35). New York, NY: Routledge.


Blumenfeld, W. & Raymond, D. (2000).  Prejudice and discrimination. In M. Adams et al. (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice (pp. 21-30). New York, NY: Routledge.


Discussion Points:

1. Content of activities

2. Readings

3. Challenges/modifications for implementation



Prejudice awareness and reduction, Part II

Week 3 will be a continuation of conversations on prejudice awareness and reduction. Participants will continue to share personal experiences around bias and to learn from experiences of other group members. We will explore the various roles we play in acts of prejudice and discrimination and will close by considering how we can act more as an ally to others in society.


Guiding Question: How do we view the “other” and how are we “othered?” In what ways can we work to become stronger allies to those who are not like us?


Activities from the guide:

1. Concentric Circles

2. Our Many Roles

3. Becoming an Ally



Pincus, F. (2000). Discrimination comes in many forms: Individual, institutional, and structural. In M. Adams et al. (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice (pp. 9-14). New York, NY: Routledge.


Staples, B. (2005). Just walk on by: A Black man ponders his ability to alter public space. In E. Disch (Ed.), Reconstructing gender: A multicultural anthology (pp. 165-168). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.


Young, I. (2000). Five faces of oppression. In M. Adams et al. (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice (pp. 35-49). New York, NY: Routledge.


Assignment: Select two other exercises from this section of the guide and comment on how you think you could use them in the classroom.


Discussion Points:

1. Content of Activities

2. Readings

3. Assignment

4. Challenges/modifications for implementation



Communication and Conflict Management Part 

In Week 4 we will turn our attention to communication skills, as we consider the role of effective communication in managing conflicts. We will discuss the role of both verbal and non-verbal communication in our interactions with the other.


Guiding Question: What is active listening and how can we develop our listening skills so we truly hear the “other” as she or he wishes to be heard?


Activities from the guide:

1. Communicating to understand (with pictures)


Assignment:  Review the “I” messages exercise in the teaching guide, and create five statements for your students to change into “I” statements.


Discussion Points:

1. Content of activities

2. Assignment

3. Challenges/modifications for implementation




Conflict Management, Part II

Week 5 will focus on specific conflict management skills. We will consider how conflict styles shape our interactions in different conflict situations and we will spend time on conflict analysis, a basic skill that precedes any action in a conflict situation.


Guiding Question: How do we analyze a conflict that involves our identity? How do our conflict styles enable or prevent us from moving toward resolution?


Activities from the guide:

1. Conflict Styles

2. Conflict Analysis


Discussion Points:

1. Activities from the guide 

2. Challenges/modifications for implementation




Closing  and Evaluation

During Week 6, we will discuss how we use the content of the EVO session both in our own lives and in our classrooms. We will also participate in a closing activity that asks us to consider the “seeds” that have been planted for us, as we consider what we will take away from the session.


Guiding Question: How do we move forward and implement these concepts strategies in the classroom?



1. Closing exercise: Planting Seeds


Discussion Points:

1. Content of activities

2. Next Steps: How do we get started in the classroom?





Alison Milofsky  Alison Milofsky




Alison Milofsky is a special adviser at the United States Institute of Peace where she facilitates workshops and develops curriculum materials on peace education. Previously, she was a teacher trainer in the Slovak Republic and taught English as a Second Language at the University of Maryland and Georgetown University. Milofsky is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland.


  Valerie Jakar

Valerie S. Jakar  is a teacher educator and applied linguistics researcher and teacher . She teaches at David Yellin Academice College of Education in Jerusalem, Israel.  Valerie works with pre-service and in-service teachers of English and other subjects. At TESOL Conventions in the past she has presented workshops on Mentoring and Mentorship, Multicultural Education and Peace Education, Language Policy and Language Planning, and on Content-Based Language Instruction.




Communication tools to be used


This EVO will use E-discussion, chat, links, blogs, Tapped–In, and Skype for realtime video assisted interaction.

Join this session



To join this group:


From January 1 to 12:
  1. Go to:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CRELL09/
  2. Click on the blue button:  (This is just an image). The real button is on the Yahoo Group. If you don´t have a Yahoo ID, you will be prompted to create one (it is free).
  3. Follow the instructions





Note: When you register for the group, you will have to be approved by the moderator. In order to reduce the possibility of "unwanted" members (such as spammers), please be sure to explain who you are and why you want to enroll in the session. This message will only be seen by the session moderator


Back to Call for Participation


 The Electronic Village Online is a project of TESOL's CALL Interest Section.


 Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.





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