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More than Manners: Conflict Resolution in Primary Level Classrooms


A diverse sample of kindergarten and 1st grade students participated in a social-emotional literacy and problem solving program. Students and their teachers participated in seven one-hour training sessions which included concrete activities designed to increase affective vocabulary and social problem-solving. Effective communication strategies such as I-messages and paraphrasing were also introduced and practiced. Pretest data and responses to the activities revealed that students could easily articulate inappropriate and disrespectful behaviors prior to training; however they were unable to articulate behaviors that would be helpful in resolving conflict. Although students had been extensively exposed to manners curricula which emphasized respectful behavior, the posttest results indicate that the social-emotional problem solving curricula offers a distinct set of skills which enable students to constructively manage conflict, manifested through statistically significant decreases in verbal and physical aggression. Teacher and staff posttest surveys corroborated the student findings.

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Correspondence to Roberta Heydenberk.

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Heydenberk, W., Heydenberk, R. More than Manners: Conflict Resolution in Primary Level Classrooms. Early Childhood Educ J 35, 119–126 (2007).

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  • bullying
  • social/emotional learning
  • verbal aggression
  • physical aggression
  • conflict resolution
  • school safety
  • emotional intelligence
  • affective vocabulary