In March, 2012, I was given an excellent opportunity to begin my journey as a CRETE trainer. CRETE or Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education is a conflict resolution training funded by the JAMS foundation and led by one of my heroes, Dr. Tricia Jones of Temple University. At this moment, I have completed two CRETE workshops and I have one more to go before I am a certified trainer!!
Why am I so excited about CRETE? One of the biggest reasons for my enthusiasm is the fact that pre-service teachers and counselors have little to no exposure to conflict resolution course work in college. Because of their lack of training and immersion into a chaotic learning environment, these educators are likely to leave the profession within 5 years. An additional reason for becoming a CRETE trainer includes my desire to promote conflict resolution training among staff and students in my school. Teaching staff and students the art of communication, active listening, perception taking, and negotiation can create a positive learning environment!
There are many ways CRETE can be incorporated into a school and there are no limits to who may participate in the training. To educate others about the CRETE training, I have added information about the training from the website CREducation. CREducation is a wonderful site with lots of conflict resolution materials for educators created by my friend, Dr. Bill Warters of Wayne State University. If you have a minute, go to his website as you will not be disappointed.
Now, more information about CRETE…
Why is CRETE Important?
Teaching conflict education to pre-service and in-service teachers addresses urban education’s dual crises of teacher attrition and unsafe learning environments. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that about one-third of new teachers leave the profession within five years (NCES, 1997). This problem is especially significant in urban education environments, where teacher turnover is 50 percent higher in high-poverty than in low-poverty schools (Ingersoll, 2001). One reason teachers leave is that they feel they cannot create a constructive learning environment or help students do the same. But, if teachers are taught conflict resolution education and can impart these skills and knowledge to their students, they can help students create a safe, caring and constructive community that enhances the teachers’ ability to teach and students’ ability to learn.
Several studies have demonstrated that CRE programs create a positive classroom climate, enhance academic learning, and encourage supportive and nurturing relationships between teachers and students (Aber et al, 2003). We now have solid data on the link between CRE and academic achievement. A new book titled Building School Success through Social and Emotional Learning reports that students’ social-emotional competence fosters better academic performance (Zins, Weissberg, Wang, &Walberg, 2004). When students are more self-aware, more emotionally connected, and better able to create safe learning environments, they can focus on academics and achieve success in a supportive environment.
However, pre-service teacher education programs do not include sufficient content on CRE for adequate teacher preparation. The CRETE Project was designed to fill this gap. The success of CRETE provides a strong curriculum and protocol available and adaptable for use in institutions of post-secondary education throughout the US.
o Training: Provide CRE/SEL curriculum and training for pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, cooperating/mentor teachers, field supervisors and school staff.
o Infusion: Work with higher education faculty in teacher education programs to increase their knowledge of CRE and SEL and infuse it into courses in teacher and counselor preparation programs
o Instructional Materials:
Develop and distribute hard copy and web-based protocols, curricular materials, and evaluation materials and provide materials on clearinghouse web site (www.creducation.org
o Evaluation: Evaluate impact of CRETE curricula and training processes and systems interventions.
Each partner institution works to develop the best model for CRETE for their institution. The ultimate goal is to have CRETE institutionalized in teacher education programs. The following approaches have been used by various partners:
Faculty at partner universities have participated in CRE training and infused elements of CRE into their pre-service coursework.
Required Practicum Experience:
CRETE training has become the basis of required practicum.
Required Student Teaching:
Colleges require CRETE training for all student teachers.
Colleges require a 3-credit or 1.5 credit CRETE course of all teacher education majors.
Colleges offer elective CRETE courses in addition to offering external CRETE trainings.
Field Supervisor and Mentor Teacher Training:
Colleges have developed courses for Field Supervisors and have created CRETE training
for mentor and cooperating teachers.
Professional Development Schools:
Colleges have developed and delivered CRETE trainings for their Professional Development Schools.
External CRETE Trainings:
All of the partners offer 4-day external CRETE trainings available to pre-service and in-service teachers, counselors, and other school staff.
Over 1500 pre-service and in-service teachers have participated in CRETE training sessions. Critical concepts and skills covered in the training include:
Understanding Conflict – What Causes It, What To Do About It
Conflict Styles – How We Manage Conflict
Emotions and Conflict – Handling Anger and Understanding Triggers
De-escalating Angry Students
Positive Discipline and Dealing with Disruptive Students
Using Classroom meetings to Establish Classroom Management
Bullying Prevention – What Can Teachers Do?
Building Collaborative Negotiation Skills Among Your Students
Using Peer Mediation to Your Advantage
Dialogue and Diversity Conflict
Restorative Practices in Schools
CRETE Instructional Materials:
CRETE training participants receive valuable teaching resources. In addition to the CRETE training materials they also receive:
Searchable CDs with over 1200 pages of field-tested exercises and materials
CRE web site (www.creducation.org
) on which CRETE materials are made available to all interested parties at no charge.
CRETE Participant Guides for CRETE 4-Day Trainings
Qualitative evaluation of the project development and implementation were conducted in 2004-2006 and showed very strong success and satisfaction with CRETE implementation protocols and materials.
Pre-test and post-test surveys from over 1700 pre-service majors in 2006-2009 demonstrated that CRETE training offers teachers significant advantages.
Perceived Preparedness for Managing Conflicts in Educational Environments CRETE significantly increased pre-service teachers’ confidence in their ability to:
· manage conflicts between students
· manage conflicts between themselves and students
· manage conflicts with parents
· manage conflicts with colleagues and peers
· enact a variety of conflict skills including collaborative problem-solving, negotiation, facilitation and mediation
Attitude toward Teaching as a Profession:
· Pre-service teachers who participated in CRETE felt that teaching would be significantly less difficult for them than they had assumed before the CRETE training.
· In comparison, pre-service teachers who did NOT have CRETE came to feel (at post-test) that teaching would be significantly more difficult for them than they had assumed previously (at pre-test).
Preparation for Teaching Specific Conflict-Related Content:
CRETE significantly increased participants’ perceptions that they are ready to teach the following conflict-related content and skills to their students:
· Problem-solving techniques
· Identify when conflict between students is escalating and needs intervention
· Understand how students’ needs trigger conflict
· Critical thinking skills
· Critical communication skills necessary for constructive conflict management (active listening, interest based negotiation, perspective-taking)
· Understand the dynamics of conflict
· Encourage students to handle their own conflicts effectively
Conversely, control group pre-service teachers felt less able to teach these content and skill areas at post-test when compared to pre-test. Classroom Management Style:
CRETE significantly increased pre-service teachers’ perceptions that they are prepared to and will actively employ
the following classroom management practices:
· Having classroom meetings as a method to address classroom management issues
· Have students help set and enforce the rules
· Teach conflict management strategies
· Use cooperative learning approaches
For more information contact:
Dr. Tricia S. Jones, Project Director, National CRETE Collaborative Project
Department of Psychological Studies in Education
2nd Fl. Ritter Annex
1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19122