Do people struggle to approach conflict?

Today’s post is a joint effort by Uzay Ashton (@UzayAshton, blog) and Louie Barnett (@louiebarnett123)

In today’s Tech Mentor meeting at UWCSEA, we were asked: “Do our students/peers know how to approach conflict?”. We were forced to answer yes or no (no sitting on the fence, arghhh!) and could use 8-10 words to explain our answer. No pressure! Here are our responses:

Uzay Louie
No, because they’ve not learned how to negotiate it No. People struggle to approach conflict and need support to do this

As you can see, we both had similar viewpoints (phew, no conflict).

We then listened to an awesome podcast about conflict avoiders and conflict seekers, linked here. You can see our written notes about the podcast below:


Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 16.09.31.png
Some our thoughts whilst listening to the podcast


We then had a 5 minute conversation on what we heard in the podcast. You can find the recording of this here.

This led us, ultimately, to have a few questions that we would love some help in answering!

  1. How can we help community members see that it’s ok to experience conflict?
  2. How can we help community members acquire the skills needed to approach conflict respectfully?
  3. How can we help community members recognise whether they are conflict avoiders or conflict seekers and how might we be able to give them the tools to account for the negatives of each stance?

One thought on “Do people struggle to approach conflict?

  1. Dear Louie,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Apologies for being a month too late to join in this class activity.

    The most important take-away I have about this conversation is that conflict shouldn’t be viewed as a taboo (something to avoid at all costs or merely to allude to vaguely) or even something that should come to a resolution immediately.

    Instead, I see it now as a necessary point of growth. It makes me think of times when there is an opposing viewpoint during something as low-risk as a meeting to moderate exams. Surely, listening to someone’s perspective should open myself up to more ideas of how to provide feedback for my students. And as such, my providing the alternative shouldn’t feel like a form of disloyalty to fellow teachers/friends. Instead, to see that paying “devil’s advocate” is also one of the functions of a colleague and friend.

    I appreciate this reflection point a lot.

    Many thanks,


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