Video Review: Resolving Conflict Creatively
This set consists of three separate training presentations about conflict resolution. Two are built around training events led by experienced facilitators. The first, called In the School Community: Negotiation and Mediation, deals with principles of conflict resolution that can actually be applied in many more situations than schools (more on that later).
The second, called In the Multicultural Community: Inter-Cultural Mediation, captures a conflict resolution training event for young people from the four Commonwealth regions, focusing on the problems experienced when the conflict is inter-cultural.
The third presentation, Between Victims and Youth Offenders: Diversion and Transformation, is an introduction to the criminal justice system, and in particular to the use of diversion both before and after sentencing. Restorative practices such as victim offender mediation and healing circles feature prominently, but are not the only diversion alternatives discussed.
Negotiation and Mediation is a 52 minute video in two parts, one on each of the named topics. It begins with a vignette about a family conflict, and concludes with the daughter in the family using lessons she has learned to help her parents resolve their ongoing argument about her older brother. The effect of this well-done dramatization is to diminish the focus on the school community and to underscore that the principles involved are applicable in dealing with many kinds of inter-personal conflict
The video shows portions of a two-day seminar led by Tim Kearns, whose teaching style is engaging. It does a nice job of capturing his key points. He invited students and faculty at the workshop to prepare, in advance, role plays of various conflict situations. These scenarios are presented using dramatic vignettes, followed by role plays of attempts to resolve the conflict.
Inter-Cultural Mediation is a short (24 minute) video presenting part of a workshop in conflict resolution for young people from around the world. The portion we see addresses the complications that arise when participants in mediation come from different cultures. The mediation process presented is the same as that used in the Negotiation and Mediation video, and it offers useful ideas for mediator training as well.
Diversion and Transformation consists of two videos (67 and 55 minutes in length) discussing the use of diversion and restorative processes in criminal and juvenile justice systems. The story is of a victim of crime who was traumatised by what took place. Stimulated by his daughter’s challenge to his “lock ‘em up” attitude, he turns to his computer named Howie for help. Howie connects him with people who can help him understand the criminal justice process.
This is a useful way of presenting what would otherwise be a series of short lectures by justice system personnel: a policeman, probation and parole officer, prosecutor, judge and prison chaplain, as well as a community representative and an ex-offender. Each of these persons is Canadian as is the justice system described; however, the descriptions can be reasonably easily generalized.
The second video, on transformation, includes a fairly lengthy dramatization of a healing circle conducted as two prisoners prepare to re-enter the community. It is helpful in illustrating the potential for restoration among victims, offenders and their communities.
At the end of the second video, we discover that having concluded his research, the crime victim used a healing circle to confront the young persons who committed his crime and that as a result he no longer requires mental health counselling.
The set comes with brief manuals and participant handouts. The manuals are less focused on how to generate discussion around the videos and more on how to present a workshop on the topic with the videos as one portion of that. Nevertheless, they offer useful suggestions for those who want to build training around the videos themselves.
The set costs $425 (US) or $595 (Cdn). Between May 14 and June 30 of this year, they will be offered at a 40% discount ($255 US and #357 Cdn.). They may be purchased at http://www.triune.ca/pages/prod/rcc1.html.
Daniel W. Van Ness