Can’t We All Just Get Along? Conflict Resolution Strategies

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Human Services

    Course : Interpersonal Studies

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (12) The student exhibits employability skills. The student is expected to:
      • (A) practice effective verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic communication skills
      • (C) practice positive interpersonal skills, including conflict resolution, negotiation, teamwork and leadership
      • (D) determine ethical practices in the workplace
      • (E) use leadership and team member skills in problem-solving situations
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • apply the interpersonal skills needed to resolve conflict
    • review steps to solving conflicts in different situations
    • brainstorm solutions to personal and workplace conflicts
    • be provided with various opportunities to demonstrate effective communication skills – verbal, non-verbal, written and electronic
  • Rationale


    What are ethics and what are appropriate methods of conflict resolution? Conflict is an inevitable part of life. The way that we handle conflict in personal and professional settings will shape our lives and the perceptions that others have of us. Learning to manage conflict is difficult because emotions often control our reactions during conflict.

  • Duration of Lesson

    Three 45 minute class periods

  • Word Wall

    Communication: The process of sending and receiving messages from others

    Conciliatory: To make (someone) more friendly or less angry

    Conflict: A disagreement, dispute or fight between people with opposing points of view

    Conflict resolution: The process of settling a conflict by cooperating and problem solving

    Ethics: Moral principles that govern a person’s behavior; a set of beliefs about what is right and what is wrong

    Defensive: Behaving in a way that shows that you feel people are criticizing you

    Empathy: The skill of thinking about what it would be like in another’s place

    Interpersonal Skills: The ability to relate to others in a socially appropriate, meaningful way

    Leadership: The ability to motivate others to cooperate when completing a common task

    Mediation: Intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement or compromise

    Resolution: The act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict or problem

    Teamwork: Learning to effectively communicate, resolve conflicts and develop negotiation skills

    Techniques: Methods of doing some task or performing something

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • computer with projector for PowerPoint™ presentation
    • computers with Internet access (be sure to follow district guidelines)


    • basket


    • cardstock
    • magazine pictures of people and situations that show conflict

    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)
  • Anticipatory Set

    Prior to class:

    Become familiar with PowerPoints™, handouts and activities.

    Print and cut apart the Conflict Resolution Scenarios on cardstock (see All Lesson Attachments tab). The cards will be placed in a basket and used in an activity during Independent Practice. Some cards have been left blank so that other scenarios may be added.

    Refer to “A Look at Workplace Ethics” for additional resources and references at:

    Before class begins:

    Display as many of the lesson-related supplies (see Materials or Specialized Equipment Needed) as you have available on a table in front of the room.

    As students enter the classroom, allow them to observe the images of people who are in a conflict with others.

    Ask students the following questions:

    • Have you ever had a disagreement with another person?
    • How did you resolve that disagreement?
    • Were you able to compromise and settle the disagreement?
    • What are some other ways to practice constructive conflict resolution?
    • Can you recall the last conflict you had with an individual?
    • Did you resolve it? How was it resolved?
    • What happens if there is conflict at a place of employment?
    • How do you normally handle conflict?

    Lead a discussion about conflict and how it affects individuals.

    Students will practice leadership skills: Communication, teamwork, decision-making and problem solving with this activity.

    Human Knot


    • Have the group stand in a circle
    • Everyone must reach in with both of their hands and grab somebody else’s hand. They must be holding hands with two different people. This creates the “human knot”
    • Everyone must work together to untie the knot without letting go of any hands. They will need to step over or duck under each other
    • In the end, they will be untied into one large circle or sometimes two small circles

    Lead a discussion with the following questions:

    • How does this activity relate to “real life?”
    • Did you experience any conflict during this activity?
    • Why do you think I had you participate in this activity?
    • Where might this situation occur in the future?
    • Why is it important to have plenty of information before making decisions?
    • What did you learn about your own skill in communicating with others?
    • Did you make any mistakes that you can learn from?
  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Introduce lessons, objectives, terms and definitions.

    Distribute graphic organizer Slide Presentation Notes (see All Lesson Attachments tab) so that students may take notes during the slide presentation.

    Introduce PowerPoint™ Can’t We All Just Get Along? Conflict Resolution Strategies (see All Lesson Attachment tab). Allow time for questions and class discussion.

    Using Slide Presentation Notes (see All Lesson Attachments tab), students will have an opportunity to reflect, review and respond to the information pertaining to the PowerPoint™. They will write a summary of questions, topics or statements which reflect the information from the lesson:

    • Discuss the topic
    • Write down your thoughts
    • Make a real-world connection to the lesson
    • How is this going to help you in the future?

    Allow for questions and answers to check for understanding.

    Videos included in the PowerPoint™ presentation:

    • In the Mix: Peer Mediation — A Process of Respect (Excerpt)
      We visit a diverse small city school that has a variety of pro-active student centered programs in place. When a fight breaks out in the cafeteria, two boys choose to participate in peer mediation rather than face the administration.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • providing students with a copy of the notes or a fill-in-the-blank note sheet to follow along with instruction
    • pairing up students with elbow partners who can assist them with verbal and written responses to the lesson

  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Distribute Conflict Resolutions (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout. Tell the students that there are choices they make when they are involved in a disagreement or a conflict. Every choice they make has a consequence. Learning about conflict resolution, or learning about how to work things out peacefully without fighting, running away or going against their own beliefs, can keep them safe from violence, make them feel good about themselves and help them learn to respect others. On the handout they are to describe an incident or problem that occurred to them, their family, a friend or at the workplace and complete the chart with the appropriate information. Please be aware of personal issues so inform students they may opt to change the names on the handout.

    Allow students time to complete the activity. Discuss the handout as a class so that they may share their information.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • working with a peer tutor
    • participating in a small group/classroom

  • Independent Practice/Laboratory Experience with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Distribute graphic organizer Steps to Resolve Conflicts (see All Lesson Attachments tab) and discuss the importance of solving conflict problems at home, school and in the workplace with your students.

    Place the Job-Related Conflict Scenarios (see All Lesson Attachments tab) cards in a basket. Some cards have been left blank so that other scenarios may be added.

    Divide the class into groups of four, and allow one person from each group to pick a card from the basket.

    Students should brainstorm possible solutions to the scenarios and document their ideas on the graphic organizer.

    Solutions to the conflict scenarios will be presented in the Lesson Closure section.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • providing specific websites or articles from which students can obtain their research information
    • providing students with a checklist or rubric to help them organize and complete all steps of the process

  • Lesson Closure

    Review lesson plan objectives, terms and definitions.

    Each group can discuss the scenarios that they chose and how they solved the conflict by following the steps to resolve conflicts.

    Distribute Word Chain Activity (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout. Provide students with a topic/lesson title for the activity and a word or terms related to the topic. Have students write the word in the first chain link. Instruct students to think of a word related to the topic that BEGINS with the LAST letter of the word you provided. Their task is to continue adding topic-related terms to the chain links until all links have been completed. An example has been provided for you, as well as a blank template for your use.

  • Summative/End of Lesson Assessment with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Assessments during the lesson:

    • Conflict Resolutions
    • Steps to Resolve Conflicts

    Students will write a one-page reflection of what they have learned from this lesson and how they will apply it to their lives, now and in the future. Content of reflection may include that conflict resolution is a journey and requires continual evaluation and readjustment.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • assisting students with research for assignments
    • modifying assignments if IEP calls for modification
    • giving students copies of slide presentations for study

  • References/Resources


    • Microsoft Clip Art: Used with permission from Microsoft.


    • Sasse, C.R. (2004). Families today. New York: Glencoe/McGraw Hill.



    • In the Mix: Peer Mediation — A Process of Respect (Excerpt)
      We visit a diverse small city school that has a variety of pro-active student centered programs in place. When a fight breaks out in the cafeteria, two boys choose to participate in peer mediation rather than face the administration.
  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • ask students to repeat your instructions back to you to be sure they know what is expected of them before each new phase of the lesson
    • discuss vocabulary in detail and make sure everyone has a firm grasp on it before moving forward with the lesson
    • use graphic organizers and visuals to explain the lesson in detail
    • print fill-in-the-blank handouts of the PowerPoint notes for students to follow along with the lesson
    • provide note-taking assistance using Article Stop and Jot
  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website provide Texas teachers with a direct connection between their CTE course TEKS and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Cross-Disciplinary integration are the focus of the CCRS. These college and career readiness standards are essential in the planning and delivery of CTE lessons. The extent to which the integration occurs is determined by the methods and strategies utilized by each teacher.

    Career Cluster Crosswalks for Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, and Human Services Career Clusters can be found at:

  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    • Distribute Article Evaluation (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout. Choose three newspaper or magazines articles that are the result of conflict situations. Summarize each report and identify at least two situations that may have contributed to each conflict from the list on the handout.

    TED Talks:

    TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). The video below is related to this lesson. Allow students to view the video and lead a discussion concerning the TED Talk.

  • Family/Community Connection

    • Invite a communications specialist to speak to the class on the importance and impact of nonverbal communication.
  • CTSO connection

    Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

    National Program – STOP the Violence: The FCCLA Students Taking On Prevention (STOP) the Violence program empowers youth with attitudes, skills and resources in order to recognize, report and reduce youth violence.

    Star Event:

    Leadership – An individual event – recognizes participants who actively evaluate and grow in their leadership potential. Participants use the Student Leadership Challenge and supporting materials, to investigate their leadership ability and develop a mentorship relationship to further their leadership development.

  • Service Learning Projects

    Successful service learning project ideas originate from student concerns and needs. Allow students to brainstorm about service projects pertaining to the lesson. For additional information on service learning see

    Create a multimedia presentation on conflict resolution that students can share with an elementary school in their district.

  • All Attachments