Open Discussion Forum

  • 1.  Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-27-2017 03:42 PM
    A teacher friend of mine has asked me the following question. Does anyone have suggestions for her?

    "When children in my classroom have disagreements with each other, I frequently observe that they talk over each other, that they do not hear what the other is trying to say. I have tried telling them to listen to each other but it doesn't seem to be working. Do any of you have some suggestions that I might try?"

    Marilyn Shelton [Designation]
    Fresno CA


  • 2.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-28-2017 12:57 AM
    When I see children struggling with communication, I go to them and help moderate the exchange, modeling clear messages they can share with each other. The actual messages would depend on their ages. 
    If they were 4 year olds, I would repeat one child's message, then rephrase it. "Did you hear Bobby? He said the black marker is his, so you might need to wait because he isn't done. Bobby, you should tell him you aren't done with the marker."

    I think we often forget that as adults, we are constantly modeling and reminding children of the appropriate words and behaviors. After not too long of consistent modeling and reminding, they will begin using that language. 


    Shawna Daniels-Ash
    Carrboro NC

  • 3.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-28-2017 08:58 AM
    As others have shared, children can learn to talk about  and resolve their disagreements - explain, model, use a talking stick.
    Once they get the idea, and also see their teacher model the behavior, if they are 4 or older, you can have them sit down across a table facing each other and ask them to talk to each other - what is the problem? How are you going to solve it? They can learn to solve their own problems by themselves, with guidance at first.

    Bette Beane
    Adjunct Instructor - Early Childhood, Child Development
    North Carolina
    Also experienced: lead teacher of 4 year olds, 5th grade, NC Zoo Visitor Educator (homeschools, public schools, onsite programs)

  • 4.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-28-2017 08:09 AM
    I believe that modeling the way to communicate is important.  Allowing children to talk about their feelings is also very important.  Have you ever tried using a talking stick?  You teach children how important it is to hear each other.  So if you use the talking stick in your classroom,which ever child has the stick talks, when they finish they pass it to the other child.  The teacher has to facilitate this several times with children in order for them to understand how it works.  After children use it several times, they know they speak when they hold the stick.  It takes several times for a child using it to understand but it helps eventually.  This technique could be used for Pre K children to school age.  

    Just remember, nothing can take away, us the teachers, modeling good examples of how to talk out a situation or problem.  The talking stick just makes them aware of which child should be talking at that time.

    Joanne Whaley
    Kaplan Early Learning Company
    Greensboro NC

  • 5.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-30-2017 04:44 AM
    Because preschool children are very concrete and visual, I have found that they respond well to using a red-yellow-green stoplight sign. (It is simply a 2-foot tall strip of black paper with red, yellow, and green circles placed like a traffic light. We called it the Stoplight for Peace.) RED means STOP (shouting, fighting, crying) and take a deep breath. YELLOW means LOOK and LISTEN to each other, taking turns. (They express the problem and propose solutions, one at a time.) GREEN means GO (once they have agreed on a solution).

    This idea works very well with children who have already practiced listening to each other and expressing their thoughts and feelings, with the support and modeling of the teacher (as others have described). At first, children will need adult support, but they will soon be using the technique independently and coming up with mutually satisfying (and sometimes creative) solutions to their disputes. They become proud of being able to do this on their own. Sometimes we ask another child to help them with the process.

    A similar idea is to designate a Peace Table or Peace Corner, where students can sit calmly to resolve a conflict. Just removing them from the situation, to a place dedicated to peaceful discussion, can help them start from a calmer place. (The adult can be there to listen and to restate their statements and feelings, to make sure that they hear and agree.)

    (We adapted the stoplight idea from The Optimistic Classroom by Deborah Hewitt and Sandra Heidemann. The Stoplight for Peace idea is more fully described in Your Amazing Preschooler, by myself and Deb Ellsworth.)

    TIna Charney
    Phoenix, AZ

  • 6.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-28-2017 10:02 AM
    I agree with the others.  I usually help moderate between the two children.  When one starts talking over the other, I make sure to say, "it's Johnny's turn.  You will have a turn to tell your story next."  As the children go through this process repeatedly, they come to trust that they will each get a turn to have their say in helping resolve whatever the issue is.

    Sherrie Rose Mayle
    San Jose CA

  • 7.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-28-2017 10:37 AM
    Ian finding it hard with 2 and 3 year old because they are always going to be right and then comes the crying

    Normadean Rodriguez
    Christian Family Child Care
    Columbia SC

  • 8.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-28-2017 01:45 PM
    I saw this used in a 2nd grade classroom.  The teacher had taken pictures of an ear and lips, cut them out and put them each on a Popsicle stick.  When the children had a disagreement they would each take one of the sticks to decide who would speak first and who would listen first, then they would switch sticks and take a turn in the other role.  This way the children built in the respect for listening and taking turns talking.  When I saw the students using this, they had been using this method for a while and it worked well for them.  This also gave the students a chance to work things out before involving the teacher.  If no conclusions could be made between the students, then they went to the teacher for advice.

  • 9.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-28-2017 02:02 PM
    When I taught first grade, I became a Peaceable Schools classroom. One thing I learned through training is to create a paper ladder with 6 rungs which I laminated. Children who are having conflict face each other on either end of the ladder at the first rung. Each child takes a turn stating their grievance. Then move forward one rung. They state what they heard the other child saying. If they each agree that was what they said, they move forward again one rung. If they do not agree, they move back a rung and try again. When agreement is made and they both move forward, each child states what they will do to resolve the situation and shake hands. It requires a little practice, but works amazingly.

    Marzee Woodward
    Murfreesboro TN

  • 10.  RE: Disagreements among children

    Posted 10-31-2017 12:36 PM
    I have observed the use of the Peace Rose in a Montessori school with preschoolers to solve problems between classmates and it works well. The book title is "The Peace Rose" by Alicia Jewell. Here is an explanation of how it would work:  "The Peace Rose method of problem solving allows children to recognize and express their own feelings as well as learn respect for the other child's feelings. A vase holding the peace rose is made available to the children at all times. The children are taught how to handle and care for the Peace Rose. When a conflict arises one child will get the Peace Rose. While holding the Peace Rose the child can express what they did not like or how they feel to the other child. When they are done they pass the rose to the other child. Respect for the other persons turn to talk is stressed. The children are encouraged to use "I" words such as "I didn't like it when you hit me". Abusive or unkind language is not used when holding the Peace Rose. When the two children reach a solution or simply get over their difficulty they put their hands on the rose and say, 'we declare peace', or 'friends'."

    Laura Thomas
    Laura Thomas
    High Springs FL