How peer mediation can put an end to bullying

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Aggression between pupils is an ongoing problem in its various forms – physical aggression, bullying, cyberbullying and social exclusion – but today’s school communities can combat this in an innovative, modern way by means of peer mediation.

Statistically, an aggression problem exists in every European school. Although there are radical ways of dealing with severe violence, such as police intervention, the level of aggression is often much lower, while still threatening the well-being of pupils and the community. The best way for teachers and peers to respond to this type of behaviour seems to be mediation.

By applying a creative method of conflict resolution-mediation, the entire educational system can work successfully. Peer mediation – where pupils in conflict work with a pupil mediator – has multiple benefits. When applied properly, it can be a form of personal and civic education; it helps young people to take responsibility for their behaviour; it shapes social attitudes, values and morals, as well as communication skills; and it supports the family. It also develops empathy and sensitivity, and builds interpersonal relationships, which in today’s world are often replaced by new technologies.

The Erasmus+ project entitled Cre@t1ve Conflict Resolution and Peer-To-Peer School Mediation creates opportunities to work out an effective programme based on peer mediation. Applying the mediation method in partner schools is expected to solve many peer problems, and to successfully replace the current ineffective system of dealing with them.

Given that implementing this method in some schools has demonstrated considerable effectiveness and the possibility of a positive, educational influence on young people, it could be considered by European education systems, and tested on a larger scale.