8.7.8 Solution phase 4

Exercise,handout number Time Method Materials
Opening session 15 min Plenary
Square game  25 min Dividing into groups
Wrapping up in the whole group
Envelopes with puzzle cards
Phase 4 Introduction 10 min Plenary Copy
Checklist for a good solution 15 min Plenary Copy
Phase 5 Introduction 10 min Plenary Copy
Role play phase 4 + 5 continuation 20 min Group work
Evaluation phase 4+5 15 min Plenary Copy
Evaluation of the session 10 min Plenary Copy

Handout 24: Square Game


30 – 40 minutes


Participants learn that the first solution is not necessarily the best one and experience the benefit of a collective effort to solve a problem.


Cut puzzle pieces  according to the template below, use thick paper. Prepare one set of envelopes per group (= 5 envelopes) containing pieces of a puzzle with the following pattern:

Different pieces in five envelopes: (A-E)

A: I,h,e

B: a,a,a,c

C: a,j

D: d,f,

E: g,b,f,c

The five equal size squares:

Instruction for implementation:

The facilitators ask for one or two participants who volunteer as observers, then form groups with five members each. Each group gets one set of envelopes, which contain different pieces of different shapes to form a square.  These are the instructions for the following activities in the subgroups:

Instructions to the groups:

  • Your individual task is to form a square.
  • Your group task is to form five squares of the same size.
  • Nobody is allowed to talk.
  • Everybody can put pieces in the middle of the table and take pieces away from there.
  • No one is allowed to intervene in the work of someone else (“steal” pieces).

Observer task:

  • Check that everyone follows the rules.
  • Observe and report later how the exercise developed.

Evaluation procedure:  After about 15 minutes the facilitators ask everyone to come back to plenary and discuss:

  • Have you solved the task?
  • What happened in the group? Did you cooperate?
  • How did the members communicate (eye signals, showing openness…)?
  • How did the individuals behave (cooperate, compete, accommodate…)?

  • Katharina Schilling, Peacebuilding and conflict transformation – Methods and games to facilitate training sessions, 2012, p.90 revised by Beate Roggenbuck

Handout 25: Looking for possible solutions: Who can offer what?

The third phase in the mediation process is aiming at strengthening the mutual understanding of the conflict parties, furthermore to enable a change of perspectives. On this basis, the parties can go a step further. They can think about possible solutions to solve the problem.  The mediators should encourage the parties to find their own solution: “You are the conflict experts, you know best what to do in order to prevent more tensions and find ways to reconcile again.”

One method to find solutions is to ask the parties to brainstorm possible ways out of the conflict. The mediators take notes of the proposed points (if possible on a flipchart to enable the parties to keep an overview).  The next step is to identify proposals both parties agree on, discuss them in detail and apply the checklist for a good solution.

Another possibility is to prepare a paper circle, cut it in half and ask the students to answer the following questions:

  • What can I do to solve the problem?
  • What do I expect from the other party?

The students write down their ideas and place the paper on the table, (the two halves don´t form a circle yet) and discuss the ideas. Again, the checklist of a good solution will be applied.  If both parties agree the mediators ask the students to combine the halves to symbolize the solution.

This method is goal oriented and often suits the expectations of the students: both parties give and take. Plus it is less time consuming which is helpful in a school context.

If a problem is more complex it might be necessary to use moderation cards instead of paper halves, again following the give and take an idea.

In case the students don´t come up with proposals the mediators can offer assistance: “I have had a similar case before. These students agreed to… Do you think that this might be a possibility in order to solve your conflict?”

Handout 26: Checklist for a good solution

As mediators you have to pay attention that the proposed solution is fair. Here are some questions which are helpful in order to assure a good solution:

  • Is the proposed solution fair? E.G. both parties feel responsible for the solution and contribute. No party will be disadvantaged.
  • Is it a real solution for the problem? The conflict will be solved and not just delayed.
  • Is the solution appropriate? The proposal does not cause additional problems ( e.g. too expensive, someone else will suffer, too complex)
  • Is the solution realistic? Are the parties able to execute the solution on their own?
  • Is the solution concrete? Do the parties know what to do by when?

  • Jamie Walker (Ed.), Mediation in der Schule, p. 199, revised by Beate Roggenbuck

Handout 27: Agreement and closing

Mediators can intensify the relevance of the solution and mutual reliability of the parties by asking them to sign a written agreement.  The mediators write down the solution which the parties agreed on, make sure that nobody wants any more changes and then ask the parties to sign the paper. Both parties receive a copy of the agreement. Depending on the complexity of the conflict and/or on the commitment the students show, the mediators can offer another meeting in one or two weeks.  The mediators thank the parties for their participation and their trust, wish them well and remind them (if agreed on) of the date of the follow-up session.

Sample for a contract:

Party A Party B
Type of conflict
On (date) we have voluntarily participated in a mediation process. This is the solution we both agreed on:
We accept the agreement.
Party A Party B
Mediator Mediator

  • Jamie Walker (Ed.), Mediation in der Schule, p. 204, revised by Beate Roggenbuck