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The Conflict Cycle

The Conflict Cycle

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The Conflict Cycle

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  1. The Conflict Cycle • “Stress arouses feelings. Feelings trigger behavior. Behavior incites others. Others increase stress. And around it goes!” ~ Wood & Long, 1991

  2. The Conflict Cycle • The conflict cycle was coined by Wood and Long and includes the idea of conflict between a student and a teacher. • The needs within a student “clash” against the teacher’s expectations. • The cycle can be set into motion by certain events.

  3. The Conflict Cycle • These triggers engage the student into his personal, somewhat irrational, belief system that has evolved from undesirable past experiences. • The student will express his feeling in some type of observable behavior. • If the teacher is not familiar with the student or the conflict cycle, she may react negatively to the student and unintentionally escalate the situation further.

  4. Understanding Behavior • Having a clear understanding of a student and his behavior, can help teachers better anticipate the triggers and observable behaviors of stress displayed by the student and intervene effectively. • The following ideas can help teachers better understand student behaviors.

  5. Understanding Behavior • Behavior often has a purpose. • Behavior is a response of an individual to his environment. • Many behaviors are learned, and therefore can be changed. • Behavior difficulties can be viewed as a learning opportunity for both the teacher and the student.

  6. Understanding Behavior • The environment can maintain problem behaviors. • Behavior may be a way of communicating. • Survival strategies learned in early life might not be functional in later life.

  7. Understanding Conflict • In order to anticipate conflict and intervene effectively, the teacher must first understand the nature of conflict. • When addressing conflict, it is critical to focus on the needs of the student. • Below are some helpful approaches for teachers to aid in conflict resolution.

  8. Understanding Conflict • Our beliefs and attitudes about conflict determine how we address it. • Getting into a conflict with a student is rarely productive. • Conflict is inevitable. How you address the conflict is your choice. • It is possible to confront and respond without escalating the behavior.

  9. Understanding Conflict • Be aware of the triggers that can escalate a conflict. • Take advantage of situations of conflict as an opportunity to teach. • Establishing healthy relationships with the student can help when dealing with conflicts.

  10. Understanding Conflict • Conflict usually follows a four-phase process. • 1. Stressful incident (triggers) • 2. Strong Emotions (child’s feelings) • 3. Child’s Observable Behavior • 4. Adult’s reaction

  11. My Personal Experience with the Conflict Cycle and A Particular Student Jake is a thirteen, year old boy with Autism. On this particular day he appeared to arrive at school already in conflict. I acknowledged Jake’s feelings, provided a space, separated him from his peers, and conferenced with him when he was able to calm down. I used this time to teach about using his words to express his feeling and using healthy ways to cope with stress. Jake seemed to be more quiet than usual. He wasn’t participating in conversations and seemed to be upset Once the instructional day began, Jake began to sob and talk about specific home-related issues

  12. References •