•  

Intervention Summary

Back to Results Start New Search

Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers

Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers (TSP) is a school-based program that teaches conflict resolution procedures and peer mediation skills. The program, based on conflict resolution theory and research, aims to reduce violence in schools, enhance academic achievement and learning, motivate prohealth decisions among students, and create supportive school communities. Students learn to be peacemakers in four steps. First, students are taught that conflicts are inevitable but can be desirable and can have positive outcomes when managed constructively. Second, they learn how to negotiate "integrative agreements" to conflicts of interests using a six-step negotiation procedure:

  1. Describing what you want
  2. Describing how you feel
  3. Describing the reasons for your wants and feelings
  4. Taking the other's perspective and summarizing your understanding of what the other person wants, how the other person feels, and the reasons underlying both
  5. Inventing three optional plans to resolve the conflict that maximize joint benefits
  6. Choosing the wisest course of action to implement and formalizing the agreement with a hand shake

Third, students are taught how to mediate their classmates' conflicts, so that they begin to assume a stake in each other's well-being and in the future of their own relationships with others. These first three steps constitute the conflict resolution training part of the program and typically require 10-20 hours of classroom instruction (which may be integrated with academic subjects) over several weeks. Fourth, teachers implement the peer mediation component in which each student gets experience serving as a mediator.

TSP is primarily designed for use in kindergarten through middle school but also has been used with high school students. Teachers deliver the program using lessons that include case studies, role-playing activities, and simulations. Students engage in intellectual conflicts, researching and preparing positions to make persuasive arguments supporting their views, which promotes academic achievement and a higher level of reasoning. Each year, as students proceed to the next grade, the program is retaught at an appropriately more complex and sophisticated level.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: June 2009
1: Conflict resolution strategies
2: Nature of resolutions
3: Academic achievement and retention of academic learning
4: Knowledge and retention of conflict resolution and mediation procedures
5: Attitudes toward conflict
Outcome Categories Education
Social functioning
Violence
Ages 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Race/ethnicity unspecified
Non-U.S. population
Settings School
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History Early versions of the program were first implemented in schools in the late 1960s and with married couples in therapy in the early 1970s. The program as it is now designed was first implemented in 1987. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million students have received the intervention.

In the United States, TSP has been implemented in Navajo schools on a reservation in Arizona and in a consortium of Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni schools in New Mexico. The program also has been implemented in schools with a primarily African American student population. TSP has been implemented outside the United States using manuals translated into Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. Eighteen studies have been conducted to evaluate the program, 16 of which are included in a published meta-analysis of the results. Several studies have been conducted in Canada.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
Adaptations TSP materials have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish; a German translation was in progress at the time of this review.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal

Quality of Research
Review Date: June 2009

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R., Dudley, B., Ward, M., & Magnuson, D. (1995). The impact of peer mediation training on the management of school and home conflicts. American Educational Research Journal, 32(4), 829-844.

Study 2

Stevahn, L., Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., Laginski, A. M., & O'Coin, I. (1996). Effects on high school students of integrating conflict resolution and peer mediation training into an academic unit. Mediation Quarterly, 14(1), 21-36.

Study 3

Stevahn, L., Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., Oberle, K., & Wahl, L. (2000). Effects of conflict resolution training integrated into a kindergarten curriculum. Child Development, 71(3), 772-784.  Pub Med icon

Supplementary Materials

Dudley, B. S., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1996). Conflict resolution training and middle school students' integrative behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26, 2038-2052.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., Dudley, B., & Acikgoz, K. (1994). Effects of conflict resolution training on elementary school students. Journal of Social Psychology, 134(6), 803-817.

Johnson, R. T., & Johnson, D. W. (2002). Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers: A meta-analysis. Journal of Research in Education, 12(1), 25-39.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Conflict resolution strategies
Description of Measures Conflict resolution strategies were assessed using:

  • Conflict Reporting Form. Students in grades 2-5 completed this form to report the conflict they experienced in the past week. The form asked, "What strategies were used to try to resolve the conflict?" Classroom teachers disseminated and collected the forms weekly throughout the intervention period.
  • Conflict Scenario Written Measure. Ninth-grade students were asked to read a brief scenario about taking turns at a computer that ends in an unresolved conflict. Students were then asked to write an essay regarding what they would do if they were in that situation. This measure was administered before and after the intervention.
  • Negotiation Conflict Scenario Interview. This measure was administered to kindergarten students by trained program staff before and after the intervention. This measure involved reading to each student a brief scenario about a child wanting to use a computer but being blocked from doing so by a classmate. Each student was then asked to explain what he or she would do to resolve the conflict. Oral responses were written down verbatim by program staff.
The strategies reported by students on the above measures were categorized using two scales:

  • Conflict Management Scale, in which behaviors for dealing with conflict were arranged on a continuum from 0 to 12, corresponding with most destructive (e.g., physical or verbal aggression, avoidance) to most constructive (e.g., invoking norms of appropriate behavior, proposing alternatives, problem-solving negotiations).
  • Conflict Strategies Scale, which assumes participants in a conflict have two concerns: achieving their goal and maintaining good relations with the other person. These dimensions of concerns were combined to form five strategies placed on a continuum from 0 to 5 (0 = none reported, 1 = forcing, 2 = withdrawal, 3 = smoothing, 4 = compromising, and 5 = problem-solving negotiations).
In addition, the kindergarteners' responses to the Negotiation Conflict Scenario Interview were scored for the presence of each of the six steps in the integrative negotiation procedure (1 point per step for a total of 6 points).
Key Findings In one study conducted in the United States, students in grades 2-5 received 9 hours of training in how to negotiate integrative agreements to their conflicts and how to mediate the conflicts of their classmates. These students reported using more constructive conflict resolution strategies and more negotiating strategies in solving their own conflicts during and after the intervention, compared with baseline, as indicated by scores on both the Conflict Management Scale and Conflict Strategies Scale (p values < .001).

In a study conducted in Ontario, Canada, 9th-grade students assigned to the experimental condition spent 10 hours studying a literature unit into which conflict resolution and peer mediation training had been integrated. Students assigned to the comparison condition studied the identical literature unit for 10 hours without the conflict resolution and peer mediation training. There were no significant baseline differences between conditions in the conflict resolution and negotiation strategies students used in responding to the Conflict Scenario Written Measure, as indicated by mean scores on the Conflict Management Scale (3.00 vs. 3.69) and the Conflict Strategies Scale (1.05 vs. 1.05). After the intervention, students in the experimental condition scored significantly higher than the comparison group on both the Conflict Management Scale (7.38 vs. 3.42; p < .01) and the Conflict Strategies Scale (2.85 vs. 1.05; p < .01). In addition, in responding to the conflict scenario, students in the experimental condition generally said they would use various levels of negotiation, while students in the comparison condition generally said they would tell the teacher or use force, with no negotiation.

In another U.S. study, kindergarten students assigned to the experimental condition received 9 hours of conflict resolution training integrated into a curriculum unit on friendship taught daily for 4 consecutive weeks. Kindergarten students in the comparison condition were taught the identical friendship unit for the same period of time without the conflict resolution training. There were no significant baseline differences between conditions in the conflict resolution and negotiation strategies students used in responding to the Negotiation Conflict Scenario Interview. After the intervention, students in the experimental condition scored significantly higher than the comparison group on both the Conflict Management Scale (7.95 vs. 5.63; p < .001) and the Conflict Strategies Scale (2.82 vs. 1.34; p < .001). In addition, at baseline, none of the students in either condition included any of the six integrative negotiation steps in their response to the conflict scenario. After the intervention, students in the experimental condition included some of the integrative negotiation steps (mean score of 1.63), while students in the comparison condition still included none of these steps.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2, Study 3
Study Designs Experimental, Preexperimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.6 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Nature of resolutions
Description of Measures The resolutions students reached in resolving conflicts were assessed using the Conflict Reporting Form. The form, which was completed weekly throughout the intervention period, asked students how they resolved conflicts they experienced in the past week. Classroom teachers distributed and collected the forms. Students' reported solutions were classified according to a content analysis. The categories derived were, from least to most constructive: no solution, adult-imposed solution, student's choice imposed, other's solution imposed, forgiving, a new solution reached (such as a compromise or a decision determined by chance), and integrative agreement created by the disputants.
Key Findings In a U.S. study, students in grades 2-5 received 9 hours of training in how to negotiate integrative agreements to their conflicts and how to mediate the conflicts of their classmates. Results showed that strategies used at baseline differed significantly from those used during and after the intervention (p values < .001). At baseline, only 1% of students reported reaching resolutions through integrative agreements, which were considered the most constructive outcome. Many conflicts were left unresolved, were arbitrated by adults, or resulted in one of the parties getting his or her way. In contrast, during and after the intervention, the percentages of students who reported reaching resolutions through integrative agreement were 29% and 26%, respectively.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Preexperimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.3 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Academic achievement and retention of academic learning
Description of Measures Academic achievement and retention of academic learning among 9th-grade students were assessed using two paper-and-pencil tests:

  • Achievement Test. This measure, administered when the intervention ended, asked students 15 open-ended questions about the novel they had studied during the intervention. Most questions focused on the plot, asking students to more fully describe what happened by providing details and to create rationales explaining why the events in the novel were significant. Other questions focused on the entire novel, such as "What do you think is the underlying meaning of the story?" Students' answers were assigned points on three response levels: literal (recalling factual information, 1 point); interpretive (demonstrating comprehension through inference, 2 points); and insightful (synthesizing and making new connections, 3 points). There were no correct or incorrect answers and no maximum number of points possible.
  • Retention Achievement Test. Administered 13 weeks after the intervention ended, the test comprised four open-ended questions that asked students to draw conclusions about the novel they had studied during the intervention. Students' answers were scored on multiple criteria, such as presenting factual answers about the novel (1 point per factual answer), identifying insights behind the action in the novel or presenting conceptual thinking about underlying meaning (2 points for each insight or observation made), and defending viewpoints with evidence (1 point per piece of evidence). There were no correct or incorrect answers and no maximum number of points possible.
Key Findings In a study conducted in Ontario, Canada, 9th-grade students assigned to the experimental condition spent 10 hours studying a literature unit into which conflict resolution and peer mediation training had been integrated. Students assigned to the comparison condition studied the identical literature unit for 10 hours without the conflict resolution and peer mediation training. Students in the experimental condition scored significantly higher on the Achievement Test at posttest than did comparison students (mean scores of 52.48 vs. 44.06; p < .02). Students in the experimental condition also scored significantly higher on the Retention Achievement Test than did comparison students (mean scores of 32.16 vs. 26.00; p < .032). These results indicated that combining conflict resolution and peer mediation training with the study of a novel in an English literature unit had a significant and positive effect on students' academic learning.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.6 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Knowledge and retention of conflict resolution and mediation procedures
Description of Measures Knowledge and retention of conflict resolution and mediation procedures were assessed using:

  • Negotiation Achievement Test, "How I Manage Conflicts." This paper-and-pencil questionnaire assessed 9th-grade students' total recall of the six steps of the integrative negotiation procedure. Responses were scored by trained program staff for the presence of each of the six steps (1 point per step for a total of 6 points). This measure was administered by trained program staff immediately after the intervention and again 13 weeks later.
  • "How I Manage Conflict" Interview. This interview was conducted with kindergarten students by trained program staff immediately before and after the intervention, as well as 10 weeks after the intervention ended. Each child was asked, "When you have a conflict with someone, what do you do step-by-step to solve it?" Each oral response was written down verbatim by the program staff and scored for the presence of the six steps of the integrative negotiation procedure (1 point per step for a total of 6 points).
Key Findings In a study conducted in Ontario, Canada, 9th-grade students assigned to the experimental condition spent 10 hours studying a literature unit into which conflict resolution and peer mediation training had been integrated. Students assigned to the comparison condition studied the identical literature unit for 10 hours without the conflict resolution and peer mediation training. Mean scores on the Negotiation Achievement Test showed that at immediate posttest, students in the experimental condition had learned the negotiation procedures more completely than did students in the comparison condition (4.90 vs. 0.32; p < .0001). Students in the experimental condition also retained significantly more of the procedure when assessed 13 weeks after the intervention than did the comparison students (5.19 vs. 0.12; p < .0001).

In a U.S. study, kindergarten students assigned to the experimental condition received 9 hours of conflict resolution training integrated into a curriculum unit on friendship taught daily for 4 consecutive weeks. Kindergarten students in the comparison condition were taught the identical friendship unit for the same period of time without the conflict resolution training. Data from "How I Manage Conflict" Interview indicated that at baseline, none of the students in either condition included any of the negotiation steps in their descriptions of how they resolve conflict. At posttest, students in the experimental condition included significantly more negotiation steps in their descriptions of conflict resolution than did comparison students (mean scores of 4.53 vs. 0.05; p < .001). The same was true at 10 weeks postintervention (mean scores of 4.24 vs. 2.22; p < .001), indicating the students in the experimental condition were able to retain knowledge of the negotiation steps over time.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 2, Study 3
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.7 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 5: Attitudes toward conflict
Description of Measures Attitudes toward conflict were assessed before and after the intervention using "What Conflict Means to Me," a word association measure. This paper-and-pencil tool asked students to "write in the circles" words (ideas, beliefs, or feelings) that come to mind when they think of conflict. Twelve circles were provided, with instructions to make additional circles if needed. Research staff categorized each word written down as positive (associated with constructively resolved conflict), negative (associated with unresolved or destructively resolved conflict), or neutral (neither positive nor negative). For each administration of the measure, the ratio of words in each category to words written down was calculated. The ratios before and after the intervention were compared to determine change in attitudes.
Key Findings In a study conducted in Ontario, Canada, 9th-grade students assigned to the experimental condition spent 10 hours studying a literature unit into which conflict resolution and peer mediation training had been integrated. Students assigned to the comparison condition studied the identical literature unit for 10 hours without the conflict resolution and peer mediation training. At baseline, students in both the experimental and comparison conditions primarily viewed conflict as negative; 86% and 90% of the words they associated with conflict, respectively, were negative, while only 7% and 5% were positive. After the intervention, the proportion of negative words decreased slightly for both the experimental and comparison groups (70% vs. 82%), although this change was not significant. Furthermore, after the intervention, the experimental group had a significantly greater proportion of positive words relative to the comparison group (29% vs. 16%; p < .005).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.5 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood) 52% Female
48% Male
100% Race/ethnicity unspecified
Study 2 13-17 (Adolescent) 55% Female
45% Male
100% Non-U.S. population
Study 3 0-5 (Early childhood) 60% Male
40% Female
100% Race/ethnicity unspecified

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Conflict resolution strategies 3.5 3.8 3.4 3.6 3.8 3.8 3.6
2: Nature of resolutions 3.5 3.5 3.3 3.5 2.8 3.5 3.3
3: Academic achievement and retention of academic learning 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.3 4.0 3.8 3.6
4: Knowledge and retention of conflict resolution and mediation procedures 3.8 3.8 3.5 3.5 3.9 4.0 3.7
5: Attitudes toward conflict 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.3 3.5 3.8 3.5

Study Strengths

The measures used in the studies have good psychometric properties. Data collection did not exclusively rely on self-reports; a combination of methods, including observations and interviews, were used. The intervention was delivered using a standardized curriculum. Teachers implementing the program received extensive training and were observed at random to ensure fidelity of program implementation. The analyses used in the studies were appropriate.

Study Weaknesses

In one study, no data were collected on the comparison group after baseline, creating the potential for some confounding variables (e.g., maturation effect). There was no analysis of potential attrition bias in another study.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: June 2009

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Johnson, D. W. (1995). Peacemakers: Songs about conflict resolution and cooperation [VHS]. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (1991). Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers. [DVD]. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (1995). Our meditation notebook (3rd ed.). Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company. [Student workbook]

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (2005). Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers (4th ed.) Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company. [Teacher's manual]

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (2005). Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers: Trainer's manual (7th ed.). Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers Web site, http://www.co-operation.org/

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
2.5 2.8 1.8 2.3

Dissemination Strengths

The trainer's manual is comprehensive, well organized, and nicely produced. The DVD provides a good example of peer mediation. Training is available on site for school districts across the United States and is also offered at an annual summer institute held in Minneapolis. The program Web site provides information about materials that can assist in understanding the theory of cooperative learning and help in implementing some of the program procedures. The Web site also includes the developer's contact information as well as answers to questions that implementers may have about the program. A pretest/posttest instrument is available.

Dissemination Weaknesses

The teacher's manual and student workbook are difficult to follow. The lack of information provided about specific implementation processes makes it difficult to understand the proper sequencing of program components. Additional training and technical assistance are needed to properly understand and implement the various program components. The Web site is not solely dedicated to the Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers program model and therefore may be confusing to some users. There is insufficient guidance on how to measure program effectiveness, and quality assurance instruments, such as fidelity checklists, are not provided.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Teacher's manual $35 each Yes
Student manual $15 each Yes
Video/DVD $30 each Yes
Audiotape $12 each Yes
6-day, on-site training $9,000 plus travel expenses Yes
Follow-up visit to classrooms and administrator briefing $1,500 per day No
Quality assurance tools, including teacher questionnaire and classroom life instrument for students $2,500 per set No

Additional Information

Depending on how many teachers participate, the estimated total cost of implementation ranges from $9,000 to $12,000 per school, including training and materials.

Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (2001). Peer mediation in an inner city elementary school. Urban Education, 36(2), 165-178.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R., Cotten, B., Harris, D., & Louison, S. (1995). Using conflict managers to mediate conflicts in an elementary school. Mediation Quarterly, 12(4), 379-390.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R., & Dudley, B. (1992). Effects of peer mediation training on elementary school students. Mediation Quarterly, 10, 89-99.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R., Dudley, B. & Magnuson, D. (1995). Training of elementary school students to manage conflict. Journal of Social Psychology, 135(6), 673-686.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R., Dudley, B., Mitchell, J., & Fredrickson, J. (1997). The impact of conflict resolution training on middle school students. Journal of Social Psychology, 137(1), 11-22.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R., Mitchell, J., Cotten, B., Harris, D., & Louison, S. (1996). The effectiveness of conflict managers in an inner-city elementary school. Journal of Educational Research, 89(5), 280-285.

Stevahn, L., Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., Green, K., & Laginski, A. M. (1997). Effects on high school students of conflict resolution training integrated into English literature. Journal of Social Psychology, 137(3), 302-315.

* Stevahn, L., Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., Laginski, A. M., & O'Coin, I. (1996). Effects on high school students of integrating conflict resolution and peer mediation training into an academic unit. Mediation Quarterly, 14(1), 21-36.

Stevahn, L., Munger, L., & Kealey, K. (2005). Conflict resolution in a French immersion elementary school. Journal of Educational Research, 99(1), 4-18.

Stevahn, L., & Oberle, K. (2003). Effects of perspective reversal training and conflict resolution based classroom management in kindergarten. Journal of Research in Education, 13(1), 62-72.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation or research, contact:
David W. Johnson, Ed.D.
(612) 624-7031
johns010@umn.edu

Roger T. Johnson, Ed.D.
(612) 624-7031
johns009@umn.edu

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

Web Site(s):