Having a group treaty is a great way to make a contract with your group.
Discuss your ideas about conflict resolution, to create a group treaty. This will be a way of recording how everyone wants the group to behave to avoid conflicts, and how to deal with any conflicts that arise. If you have moved from physical to online meetings, this may have brought up new issues to explore, and different ways of working together that are needed for the group to continue to work well together.
Here are a few suggestions the leader can introduce if necessary:
- Never raise your voice at someone in anger
- Never swear or use bad language at each other
- Always try to resolve a conflict by discussion
- Never let a conflict continue outside a meeting
- If you can’t reach agreement, ask someone else to act as a mediator
- Never deliberately provoke a conflict
- Remember the value of saying ‘I’m sorry’
Use simpler phrases for younger children e.g. ‘we will not shout’, ‘we will say sorry’, etc. Write suggestions up on a large piece of paper/shared screen, or someone can keep notes and read them out. Once the group has drawn up a list together, check whether there are any points people don’t agree on. Is there anything extra someone wants to add? How is the group going to decide on a final version? By voting? Or do they want a complete consensus from everyone? From this task you may learn some ideas about how you want to work together in future.
When you have a final version, get everyone to confirm they agree with it and sign up to it for the future. Share the treaty with the group, and remind them of it at the start of each meeting.
- What behaviour is not acceptable in the group and why?
- How can we challenge unacceptable behaviour?
- What should we do if we’re not happy with the way we’re being treated?
- When should we look at our group treaty in the future?
Take it further
Now that your group has a treaty to follow why not try having a debate as a group and see if all can stick to the treaty even when they are on opposite sides of the discussion.