School for Young Artists
Student Sees Need for Conflict Resolution

Jasper came to me after class one day saying she thought we should have a group meeting because of the conflicts that come up around Infinity. Infinity is the word we coined to describe the time when class is over and some students haven’t been picked up yet. We have two computers. The first people to call “Infinity” at 5:56 get to use the computers until their parents arrive.

Her idea was to have a monitor who would pay attention to those who hadn’t had any chance to get a computer that day and give them the first opportunity to claim one. We called a class meeting the next time the class convened. Some children choose to abide by the decisions we made and go to work instead of participating. We had a committee of four who remained.

People acknowledged that there was a problem but came up with a slew of reasons why Jasper’s idea wouldn’t work, or be fair. It was ultimately decided that I would get an alarm clock and that one of the four participants would set the clock for 6:00 on each of the four days I teach this class. That way no two people would have the advantage of seeing the time on the computer they are working on and everybody would hear the signal.

Wondering how Jasper might feel about her ideas so completely undermined I asked her. I got no sense of loss or frustration from her at all. She thought it was a good meeting. People brought up things she hadn’t thought of and Infinity would be better in the future. And it is.