Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Judith A. Anderson

Third Advisor

James R. Jeffery

Abstract

Problem. Limited research has been done regarding the magnitude of the attributes of peer mediators and its impact on elementary students. The purpose of this study was to examine fourth- through sixth-grade students' perception of the attributes of peer mediators at four rural elementary schools located in Pinconning, Michigan.

Method. This study examined the fourth- through sixth-grade students' perception of the attributes of peer mediators using a qualitative approach. The data collection procedures included using a purposive sample of 24 peer mediators in focus groups, as well as 74 peacemakers and 79 disputants who participated in a questionnaire. Questions were open-ended to attain the participants' perspective in their own terms. Focus group responses were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim; themes were identified and sorted.

Results. In examining peer mediation, peacemakers and disputants discovered four core attributes that peacemakers should possess: A peacemaker should be (1) an effective problem solver, (2) kind, (3) an effective communicator, and (4) responsible and committed. Disputants additionally indicated that a peacemaker should be fair and maintain neutrality when intervening with a conflict.

Suggestions for program improvement were also examined, and the primary results conveyed (1) recruitment of more peacemakers who demonstrate kindness, fairness, responsibility, commitment, and effective problem solving and communication skills, (2) provision of more meetings and incentives for peacemakers, (3) utilization of two or more sets of peacemakers to serve duty on the playground, (4) collection of additional disputant information, and (5) provision of additional guidance and support to address uncooperative disputants, to stop teasing directed toward peacemakers, to cease interruptions from bystanders during conflict resolution, and to modify scheduling for peacemakers who are required to be absent from class as a result of fulfilling their responsibility to serve duty.

Conclusions. Peer mediators and peer mediation program facilitators must be cognizant of the qualities a peer mediator should possess to promote a successful peer mediation program. The attributes and implications learned from this study can be emphasized as valuable factors in promoting an effective peermediation program, therefore, it would be worthwhile to consider these factors when training peer mediatorsand coordinating a peer mediation program.

Subject Area

Conflict management--Study and teaching (Elementary), Mediation--Study and teaching (Elementary), Education, Elementary--Activity programs

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