Forward thinking K-12 institutions are already teaching students about collaboration, design thinking, coding, STEM, and experiential learning. There are, however, other skills that we should consider equipping students with for their multiple career, multi-cultural, and diverse futures. These skills include the ability to negotiate, and the capacity to resolve conflict. Contained within this learning is a capacity for empathetic understanding, logical reasoning, problem solving, articulate presentation of position, and the capacity to change your mind based on evidence or argument presented to you.
Being able to negotiate and resolve conflict necessitates the fairly advanced skills of being able to listen for, understand, and explain the point of view of someone else. If you develop this skill, you are more likely to be able to empathize with that viewpoint as well. In being able to listen to and understand the thinking of others, students should realize the importance of clearly and logically presenting their own point of view to achieve maximum impact with their peer group. A person must be able to listen for understanding, as well as convincingly present ideas so that they can be clearly understood and added to the discussion and deliberative process. If a child can develop these skills, it follows that they can become more competent negotiators and resolvers of conflict.
Almost everything we need or want in life is attained from some form of presentation to, and/or negotiation with, another person. Shouldn’t we equip our children early with these powerful tools?
At the Boulder Center for Interactive Learning at Dawson (BCILD), we are working with a professional in the field of negotiation and conflict resolution to bring these skills in any easily implementable form to lower elementary students. Facilitating the development of these skills in young learners gives them both an opportunity to learn valuable life skills, and an opportunity to practice and implement them in their daily interactions.