After reading the assigned chapters for this week, discuss your personal observations and reactions to the roles and definitions provided. In addition, identify how conflict affects you on a regular basis in your profession. PARKER: Upon reading the assigned chapter for this week’s discussion, Barsky (2007) solidifies the concept that conflict resolution is a skill set that typifies a diverse group of occupations. It can be argued that when two or more individuals or groups have a difference in values, positions or personal interest “social conflicts” will emerge which may warrant the conflict resolution process (p. 2). Arguably, depending on the nature of the conflict be it a couple going through a divorce or a student who is failing in class, the negotiation process would prove to create additional havoc to the conflict resolution process without a well-defined functional role models for the conflict resolution professional. The author is to be commended for identifying and defining the key roles of a conflict resolution professional as warranted by the nature of the conflict. For example, I always thought that a judge’s role within the legal process was to monitor the behavior of the lawyer advocates ensuring that their legal arguments are within the bounds of juris prudence. I had no idea that a judge could serve as an evaluator with the authority to decide on a “parenting plan” pertaining to child custody versus the prerogatives of child protective services authorities (p. 8). The most controversial role in chapter one was the role of the healer. It can be argued that healing in the secular sense denotes medical practice and procedures that results in a cure of a specific aliment. However when addressing the conflicts that are predicated on psychosocial or spiritual matters the question becomes if prayer should be part of the facilitation process if the healer is a member of the clergy? I concur with the author’s observation that a mediator is one who controls the mediation process but has no authority to determine the outcome for the parties Barsky (2007, p. 9). However when it comes to the healer being a role within the realm of conflict resolution with regard to spiritual matters, I will argue that God is the true healer. Psalms states “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you” Ps. 32:8-9 (English Standard Version) implying that Gods word can intervene between two parties and heal all spiritual conflicts. Lastly, the conflicts that I incur in my profession are viewed as a valid working tools that effectively evaluates plans, policy, and procedure in reference to my job performance. These conflicts are normally resolved by way of a constructive dialoged between my supervisor and I without mediation. Reference Barsky, A. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole Vincent – Your input to this issue shows a careful reading and reflection of the text. There are, however, a couple of issues that your writing raises for me. The flow is wonderful, but there are a couple of hiccups in composition . . . “without a well-defined functional role models” does not require the “a” and “viewed as a valid working tools” also does not require the “a” (Parker, 2014, n.p.). The examples are well stated and pertinent, and raise important insights. I have to concur that there is no reason that Clergy would not fall under healers, but then, most clergy would fall under most of the roles enabling resolution of conflict wouldn’t they? I would have liked to hear more about the conflicts in your job and what theories you think are employed in resolving them. Reference Parker, V. (2014), Group Discussion Board Post 1, Conflict Resolution Roles, EDUC746-D01LUO-Fall 2014, dated October 21, 2014. GRANT: Conflict is impacted by life experiences, perceptions, beliefs, and even the culture of a business or career. There are multiple layers to conflict which impacts the strategies used to resolve it. As I read the chapter, many examples and life experiences were reflected upon. One of the most profound points in the chapter was made in the opening. Conflict can result from poor communcation and message interpretation. I am reminded of situations in which individuals are so focused on their response to an issue that the intent of the message is lost and unclear. A lack of trust prevents situations from being resolved as well. This may be the result of the construct of one's homelife as a child. It may also result from how an individual feels about himself. This reminds of colleagues who feel that their instructional methods do not need to change because they have seen great results in the past. It can also be noted that indivduals bring dysfunctional attitudes in environments which negatively impact others. For example, the colleague who feels that their instructional methods do not need to updated or changed, has the ability to influence his/her grade level mates negatively. It is evident in the overall demeanor and make up of the individuals on the grade level. They exhibit very little tolerance or acceptance of new ideas and initiatives. These individuals are always expressing a negative opinion about the direction of our organization. Now that I am aware of the different roles an individual may have in conflict, I have a little more insight in to some of the conflict that arises within my current organization. For example, the principal or assistant principal have many roles in the resolution of conflict. They are identified as administrators due to the fact that they are charged with the implementation of conflict resolutions, but they also can be viewed as buffers when there is conflict between educators and parents. They are also penalizers for those who fail to follow the mission and vision of the school when individuals are placed on Professional Development Plans or PDPs. In my current role as one the Instructional Coaches, I have multiple roles as it relates to conflict resolution. This year, an additional coach was added to the staff and I have found myself serving as the buffer, arbitrator, the healer, and mediator. I work very diligently to maintain my role as support for the teachers and not come across as if I am an administrator, expert, or penalizer. It has been challenging because conflict is inevitable due to the fact that many of the teachers do not feel as if they are supported by my co-coach. In an effort to be supportive to all parties, it has been challenging to maintain the balance of support for the teachers and my cocoach. Hopefully, I will be able to employ the strategies learned within this course to impact how I help resolve conflict. Sabrina – Nicely stated! There are a couple of places where you have typos – you may want to type in Word and check for spelling and grammar before publication. There are a couple of plurality shifts as well. It would seem you truly reflected on the material as it reflects in your workplace environment. You referenced several of the roles that Basky (2007) named, and specifically referred to the application of communication in conflict (p. 2), yet neglected to include the reference – I had to go looking for it. The application of penalizers (Barsky, 2007, p. 14) as they apply in your organization was very thought-provoking for me, as it is an area that my institution endeavors to avoid. Thank you for your input. References Barsky, A. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions. (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. Grant, S. (2014), Group Discussion Board Post 1, Conflict Resolution Roles, EDUC746-D01LUO-Fall 2014, dated October 23, 2014. GOAD: While reading this chapter, I was surprised at the number of participants possible for resolving conflict. I was unaware of the available resources for overcoming different types of conflict. Within the psychological realm of conflict resolution theories, I agree with the personality theorists in that people deal with conflict based on learned responses. As children develop they observe many different people dealing with conflict, but how their parents deal with conflict has the most impact on their personal style of conflict resolution. I personally have to fight the reactive devaluation response to conflict. I have to force myself to look at certain suggestions neutrally. I like how the text pulls in the business administration and law aspects of conflict resolution. I was not as familiar with these as some of the others and was enlightened. Being in an educational system, I was able to relate most to the information related to this area. “Universities and similar institutions are supposed to promote excellence, independent thought, and academic freedom, while constrained by limited resources, departmental politics, and convoluted bureaucracies: a perfect combination if you want to foster conflict” (Barsky, 2007, p. 24). I agree wholeheartedly that educational systems are able to contribute to conflict resolution theories, but they are provided with the least amount of resources. I agree with Barsky in that many theories of conflict resolution are a mixture of all the different disciplines. Often when talking to parents conflict can arise. I attempt to contact parents often, but there are times that my phone calls are not happily received. Sometimes when I contact parents to ask for help with a discipline problem, they are angry with me, for pointing out their child’s pitfalls. We are taught to approach problems in the “Oreo method”. Start off good, and then state the problem, then end the conversation with something else good. Also, when dealing with students, conflict will arise. When students make poor decisions, they need to be corrected. Frequently, they want to argue their decision by explaining the reasoning behind it. Lastly, conflict occurs between teachers and administrators. The administrators will make decisions and teachers will not agree with the outcome. Barsky, A. E. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Meaghan – You are certainly correct in affirming the plethora of roles in conflict resolution listed in the Barsky (2007) text. While I think I knew most of them, I know I could not have listed them. I even made a chart of roles and theories to aid my understanding. In my situation, we don’t deal with parents, for our students are adults, but I know how defensive parents can (and should) be! Parents should be a child’s first advocates. Even the advocate, though, must recognize when the interested party has made an error. It is hard, as a parent, to have someone else direct our attention there. Parental anger (Goad, 2014) can overcome the reasoning power of adults. Anger is a big issue in conflict because of that. References Barsky, A. E. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Goad, M. (2014), Group Discussion Board Post 1, Conflict Resolution Roles, EDUC746-D01LUO-Fall 2014, dated October 22, 2014. Conflict, as a verb, means to engage in battle, or to buffet with adversity. It can also mean “to come into collision” as regards feelings, interests, or opinions (“Conflict”, 2014, n.p.). The Oxford English Dictionary, for all its wordiness, cannot really define the feeling of conflict as a positive or a negative, for it is neither. Rather, the verb conflict, is an action. I would posit that it is not the action, but the reaction that matters in conflict. Barsky (2007) seems to present this same thought when he reminds us that “the manner in which we deal with conflict determines whether it is constructive or destructive” (p. 3). In the reading, I found eleven roles and at least twenty varying theories in dealing with conflict. It is critical, therefore, that as leaders in education, we understand our roles, and the theories that work best for us in various forms of conflict. This I espouse because not every theory is going to fit every person, every situation, nor every conflict. There are times when conflicts will resolve naturally, without intervention, and there are times when they will not. Sometimes, a mediator can aid parties in finding resolution, sometimes an arbiter, and sometimes, a judge is needed. Frequently, as educational leaders, students will come for advice or consultation because of student conflicts with peers or other teachers. Sometimes we are party to the conflict ourselves, as none of us is immune from the troubles of life. Job reminds us “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7, KJV). Job also gives us the answer to all our trouble: “. . . seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause” (Job 5:8, KJV). In a public University setting, sometimes guiding the students must be a more prosaic matter. In my class recently, there a student had plagiarized several paragraphs directly from two sources. The University Code of Conduct has a very convoluted method of dealing with Academic Misconduct, including plagiarism. The student, who admitted her wrongdoing and provided no excuses for her response to the pressures of her life, was set upon by the academia of the University. The Provost, the Dean, the Department Chair, even the student ombudsman were arrayed against her and ready to expel her from the University. Having heard her tearful confession and seen her response to the situation, I prevailed upon them for grace. The situation remains unresolved, and the student remains in my classroom and is working very hard to learn as much as she can while she is there. The isolating horror of facing a panel of academic leadership, I believe, required a dose of grace. For the school, the matter was simple – she plagiarized, throw her out of school. System theory reminds us, however, that “relationship between individuals or groups is not simply the sum of the parts” (Barsky, 2007, p. 20). We must evaluate the whole of a situation before determining or guiding resolution. Reference Barsky, A. (2007). Conflict resolution for the helping professions. (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. In this week’s reading, there were so many terms and roles, that I found it useful to make a chart defining them. As I did so, and then reviewed them, I marveled at how many are encompassed in that most wonderful of jobs, motherhood. Of course, they also apply to my occupation as an Adjunct Professor at Shawnee State University. The reading made me pause and consider my role in conflict as an academic leader. In Luke 22:24, we are reminded that “And there was also strife among them, which of them should be counted the greatest” (KJV). Conflict is nothing new. In Genesis 4:7, the Lord tells Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. . .” (KJV). Doing well and being recognized for it seems to be the key points here. In my experience, most of the conflict seems to be from a desire to achieve greater recognition with less work. It would seem, therefore, that my goal as a leader in education is to reduce conflict to enjoin the students in the path of edification. Recently, in my classroom, I had to deal with a conflict with a student who had broken the rules – a case of academic misconduct. Our school has guidelines for student conduct and methods to follow when those guidelines are breached. The Code of Conduct is so poorly written a meeting had to be held to determine the needed steps. In this conflict, the student and I were the interested parties, and the Provost should have been the mediator. However, the student’s behavior was so egregious that she had no advocate. Even our student ombudsman was failing her. Since I felt is critical that she have an advocate, I found myself aiding her in the process, providing her my administrative expertise so that she would not be overwhelmed by a process none of us really understood.