how do peer medaiation programs work and what type of stragies do the use. Also how can you engage students in constructive class conflicts.

I am not so keen on using peers to work in disciplinary situations involving other students (fights, etc) because of legal issues: students are not responsible for insuring safety of other students.

However, I am a strong advocate of peer mediation in the use of illegal substances, family issues, teen issues, alcohol, and personal health issues. Peer advocates have to be chosen with great care, and carefully trained, and carefully periodically screened. Again, legal liability is a touchy issue here. The reason for my hypocrisy on these issues is that it is not possible for teachers or school personnel to get involved directly on these issues with kids because of family and political resistance. All teachers can do is refer kids to parents, or government offices. Catholic Social Services once offered an excellent program to train peer mediators in these issues, I don't know if they still do that or not.

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