8.5 What could mediation clubs look like?

Interested students will form a mediation club together with one or two committed teachers. A good size of the group is 10 -16 students consisting of 8th and 9th graders. The aim is to train the practical steps of a mediation process, to learn about conflicts (definition, development, escalation model, conflict styles), the attitude of a mediator and the limits of mediation (mediation is not advised in a case of (cyber) bullying, criminal acts, and mayhem because of an imbalance in power).  The first step is the qualification of the mediation club members (teachers and students will be trained together), often carried out by an external expert. Sometimes the selection of students who will be trained as peer mediators is sensitive, not all volunteers are equally suitable. Here the teachers might decide to give someone a chance because they see a potential for personal growth or decide differently, depending primarily on the circumstances in a particular case.

After the training, the commitment of the students/teachers should be appreciated by issuing a certificate.  Alternatively, teachers can attend a mediation training offered by further or higher education institutions, e.g. in Germany in order to be able to qualify their own students. By participating in the training the concept and didactic methods will be passed on to the teachers who from now on can train the next generation of students themselves. It is important to discuss the practical arrangements (see paragraph guidelines for implementation) before or during the training period to avoid a long break between the training and the first application. Students are usually eager to start right away. The members of the mediation club will meet with the teacher mediators on a regular basis, possibly once a week or every second week for an hour – depending on the conditions in school. During the meetings mediation cases can be reviewed:  what went well, did any difficulties occur, what can be improved? If the students don´t have any or many cases yet they might want to discuss how to change the situation.