The Forum: Students Learn the Skill of Conflict Resolution (Transcript)
Carmen DiDomenico: We’re going to do one minute with our eyes closed, two, three, four minutes with our eyes open…
Narrator: This unique sixth-period elective at AS1 begins with a moment of meditation.
Carmen DiDomenico: On your mark. Get set. Go.
What happens is the children learn to be focused. They learn to meditate, because just learning how to be in the presence of others is so important. Children just chose to be in the class. I didn't go around and elicit interest, and I had the very first class, which was last April. I had 12 students, 1 from every grade, including kindergarten.
Yosi filled out the forum form, and Yosi wrote "throwing my"…
…kipa like a Frisbee. A kipa or a yarmulke is what Yosi wears on his head.
It's what I believe in.
Narrator: Called "the forum," the class is primarily dedicated to helping students resolve their problems peacefully.
Well, he pushed me on the ground and I pushed him back. He grabbed my kipa. He was, like, keeping it away from me, and I grabbed his hair and I said, "Give me back my kipa and I'll let your hair go."
Carmen DiDomenico: Okay. Questions for Yosi?
How did you get your kipa back?
It was on the ground and I picked it up.
So did he grab it, or he…
Carmen DiDomenico: They ask questions for clarity, and then they figure out a way to solve the problem of these two people who can't figure out how to solve the problem without outside help.
So, Yosi's -- no offense or anything -- a little bit smaller than me, so I didn't see him, and when I ran into him he fell over. And then he came up and he tried to kick me, and it was like a playful kick. I don't think there was any, like…
Carmen DiDomenico: Malice?
Yeah, malice or anything.
Carmen DiDomenico: And I just think it's very cool, because some of the most insightful questions will be asked by first-graders.
Why did you push him back?
I was pretty much really angry.
Carmen DiDomenico: What comes out of it more than anything is people learn to talk to each other and listen to each other.
I probably should've apologized, but I just kept on walking.
Carmen DiDomenico: And they learn that there's another avenue besides hitting or screaming or yelling or going to get someone.
Yosi, what do you need from Levi?
Please do not take my kipa.
Carmen DiDomenico: Can you accommodate that? Okay, he needs to hear that.
I won't take your kipa anymore.
Carmen DiDomenico: Do you need anything else from Levi?
The children learn that they can become empowered and that they can take care of their own stuff and they don't need to run and get someone.