Com 102 Students Perform Conflict Skits

Participants share food, solve conflicts

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Using facts and reasoning to settle the argument, junior Clyde Louise Hao gets the opportunity to practice resolving conflicts with his friends. “I played the intellectual in our conflict resolution and, honestly, it was a hard role for me to play.” Hao said. “I don’t normally look for facts and reason to end an argument and I had the instigator targeting me the whole time, so it was difficult coming up with good responses.” Photo Credit: Lily Gurdison

Lily Gurdison

Teaching students the importance of resolving conflicts, COM 102 teacher Henry Castillo gave students the opportunity to “dress rehearse” issues they might face. Students were able to create and perform their own conflict situations using real world events. 

“Leading to this conflict potluck, students had been focusing on romantic relationships and platonic relationships,” Castillo said. “Research suggests that conflict most often happens within those two relationship types. So to help them better understand conflict, rather than simply giving students a test, I had my students act out these scenarios and go through the entire conflict resolution process, which I think will be way more beneficial for them long term.”

Groups included steps of the conflict resolution process in their presentations. To further simulate real life arguments, Castillo required all students to bring a food item for the class to share so the scenario was more realistic. 

“I started the presentation by introducing each group’s conflict scenario that they made up,” Castillo said. “The amount of creativity my students put into their skits was incredible, some of the scenes took place over dinner, in the workplace, at school or at a party. It makes the class period super engaging and even more fun.”

Each group had 12 minutes to present their conflict situation while the rest of the class listened, ate and took notes. Along with including all steps of the conflict resolution process, students had to take a stance on a specific character role.

“It is our job as a group to show all of these characters (the instigator, sheepish character, mediator and intellectual) in our skit and have them work together to get our problem resolved.” senior Konstantina Dimitrova said. “I thought it was exciting to take on a character that was completely different from my personality. ”

Castillo is pleased with his students’ performances and feels confident about their ability to settle conflicts among peers.

“The best thing about this project is seeing students committed, engaged and having fun,” Castillo said. “Instead of just seeing students buried into their chromebooks, I see them engaged in the conversation and I see them make a more meaningful attempt at a process that I think we should all know, which is the conflict resolution process.”