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Peer Mediation in New Zealand: A Peer To Peer Conflict Resolution Initiative

Peer mediation is an initiative that is used in several schools throughout New Zealand. The training is run by Cool Schools. The main goal of the program is to give our learners the skills to resolve conflict among their peers with the assistance of an older learner. In a successful peer mediation, there is no adult input. All of our Year 6-8 students received this training, but only students who volunteer become active peer mediators.

Each break time we have 2-4 Peer Mediators in the playground and they wear bright vests so that other learners can easily find them. Learners are encouraged to find a Peer Mediator before they approach a teacher if they have had any conflict with their peers. Peer Mediators have a structure that they follow to try and find a resolution to the learner’s conflict. A key part of the process is ensuring that all the learners involved in the mediation feel as if they have been heard.

We prioritise EQ (emotional intelligence) in our education program. Peer Mediation is an authentic context in which our learners can use their emotional intelligence to make a school a more positive place. 

Joe Wearne teaches 7&8 grade at Te Kura Whakatipu o Kawarau school in Queenstown, New Zealand. This school is one of GEA partner schools on the South Island and a source of continued inspiration.

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