The State of Peer Mediation 2011 Survey
In 1984, the people who were interested in peer mediation could fit in one room.
I know because I was lucky enough to be there.
About three dozen educators and conflict resolution practitioners gathered on Cape Cod, Massachusetts for the first NAME conference.*
We were excited. We had begun training young people to mediate conflicts, and the results were impressive and inspiring. Though the quantitative research that confirmed our individual observations came much later, we knew we were on to something special.
I, for one, was optimistic, a bit naïve, and I'm sure not alone in hoping that our experiments in what would come to be called "peer mediation" would ripple around the world.
And it wasn't long before "the world" started to take notice.
Interest in peer mediation grew steadily here in the US and Canada. Then, less than a decade after that conference, the hoped-for ripple turned into an enormous wave that carried peer mediation across the globe.
In the mid-1990's I worked and corresponded with educators all around the world--from Ghana to Spain, Kyrgistan to Argentina--who were teaching young people to mediate the conflicts of their peers.
The promise of that heady conference seemed to be fulfilled.
But today, almost 30 years later, the waters appear to be receding.
As I have written before, these are difficult times for peer mediation in the United States. While some schools are implementing programs for the first time, many more peer mediation programs are struggling to survive. Other efforts have evaporated, leaving hardly a trace in their host schools.
Of course, conditions are different in every country. Last month alone I was contacted by educators in Singapore, Peru, Russia and Australia, all of whom were either operating peer mediation programs, or were considering implementing them. That's 4 of 7 continents right there!
In Slovenia--where in 2008 the Ministry of Education officially encouraged schools to implement mediation programs--peer mediation is experiencing rapid growth. This October I'll be traveling to Slovenia to work with educators there, and already it reminds me of what was happening here in Boston 15 years ago.
So as another school year winds down in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought that it would be interesting and useful to assess where we are as a movement. Not only what is happening now, "on the ground," but what is the outlook for next year and beyond? Is your peer mediation effort thriving? How confident are you that it will be operational next year? And what is happening generally in your region?
This "The State of Peer Mediation 2011" survey takes 5 minutes to complete.
It will only be useful if enough of you devote a few minutes to doing so. If even a quarter of the readers of this newsletter complete it, we'll have a great sample.
Whether your peer mediation effort is going strong, it is no longer operating, or you are an observer of the movement and have a sense of what's happening in your region, we can all learn from you.
Please forward this survey to anyone else who has an interest in or insights about peer mediation. It's easy to do using the green box below.
For my part, I promise I will analyze and publish the results next Fall.
Let's see what we find.
"The State of Peer Mediation 2011" Survey
*The National Association for Mediation in Education was a precursor to what is now The Association for Conflict Resolution