Book Review: Kids Working It Out

By Elizabeth Cushing Payne | March 1, 2004 | 0 comments

Edited by Tricia S. Jones and Randy Compton
Jossey-Bass, 2003, 360 pages

Conflict resolution education (CRE) is an umbrella term for a variety of pro¬grams that have emerged over the past 20 years. Gen¬erally these efforts are designed to enable students to understand the roots of conflict, appreciate the variety of ways people respond to conflict, and develop their own skills for managing conflict, inside and outside of school. Inevitably, CRE pro¬grams must address the social and emotional skills that are key to navigating difficult sit¬uations effectively.

The editors of Kids Working it Out esti¬mate that as many as 20,000 of our nation’s 85,000 public schools have CRE programs in place. In addition to outlining the origins of such programs and the changing cultural influences on children, the book provides a comprehensive look at several successful CRE programs.

Each chapter is authored by an expert in the field, including program developers, educators, and advocates of CRE. The second part of each chapter features first-person testimonials from teachers and students who have engaged in these programs. Some of the chapters emphasize training students to serve as peer mediators, while others focus strictly on children’s need for social and emotional skills, such as effective listening and emotional control. One chapter, by Beverly Title, developer of an anti-bullying program, explains misconceptions about bullying and successful efforts to engage students in reducing bullying behavior, such as teaching children (both victims and observers) to respond effectively—through humor, assertiveness, and/or reporting to an adult—the first time bullying occurs.

The power of this book lies in its real stories from real people. Teachers describe their doubts as they attempt a new approach with their students, only to be astonished by its positive impact. Students realize there are more effective ways to protect their personal safety than by acting aggressively toward one another. Administrators successfully bring together students and families to discuss openly, and lay to rest, past conflicts. Across the board, these school community members recognized that punitive responses to negative behavior were failing and a new approach was desperately needed.

These are not stories about learning to “play nice.” They are testaments to the power of conflict-resolution education and its integral role in contemporary classrooms.

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Greater Good wants to know:
Do you think this article will influence your opinions or behavior?

  • Very Likely

  • Likely

  • Unlikely

  • Very Unlikely

  • Not sure


Like this article?

Here's what you can do:

blog comments powered by Disqus



Greater Good Events

The Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators 2017
Clark Kerr Campus, UC-Berkeley
Sunday, June 25 - Friday, June 30, 2017 OR Sunday, July 16 - Friday, July 21, 2017

The Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators 2017

The GGSC’s six-day Summer Institute equips education professionals with prosocial learning strategies, tools and processes that benefit both students and teachers.


Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!


Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.


Greater Good Resources


Book of the Week

Roots of Empathy By Mary Gordon Mary Gordon explains how best to nurture empathy and social emotional literacy in all children—and thereby reduce aggression, antisocial behavior, and bullying.

Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

thnx advertisement