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Making Peace in Elementary Classrooms: A Case for Class Meetings

Available from: Taylor and Francis Online

Publication: Theory and Research in Social Education, vol. 32, no. 1

Pages: 98-104

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Abstract/Notes: How do meetings in elementary classrooms influence student attitudes and behaviors, both individually and collectively? Can regular opportunities to participate in collective problem solving educate students for peacemaking and alter the social dynamic of the classroom? As an experienced teacher who previously studied class meetings in a private Montessori school, I address these questions again by examining the minutes of class meetings conducted in my public school classrooms over two years in a Montessori magnet school. The students used class meetings to clarify school rules and to resolve interpersonal conflicts with the support of the group. Meetings provided opportunities for collective problem solving in an atmosphere of perceived fairness, which seemed to contribute to a more peaceful classroom climate. The students' considerable store of internalized rules from other contexts, however, appeared to compromise the group's effectiveness in achieving consensus or taking collective action.

Language: English

DOI: 10.1080/00933104.2004.10473245

ISSN: 0093-3104, 2163-1654

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