How does it work? Say Alice, a single mother age 35, and Bob, an 18-year old student who lives independent of his parents, are both Gavilan students in a math class. The second week of school, Bob somehow loses his $70 math text and is frantic; he can't afford another. Two days after it disappears, when he is behind in his homework, he notices that Alice's book has some of the same markings his had. He says loudly, "Dang, who took my book?" He tries to grab the book but she stops him. Alice vehemently denies that it could ever have been his. He sasses her. "You big-mouthed, spoiled brat," she says, and a conflict ensues that makes the whole class uncomfortable for a week. Another student who has been certified as a mediator suggests that perhaps voluntary mediation will help. Their teacher suggests they'd better get some homework done if they want to pass.
1. Do they both want to resolve the problem?
Yes--They need to do their homework! Go to step 2. No--conflict continues or they try another solution or Bob will fail the class.
2. Is the conflict mediatable?
Yes--go to step 3. No--conflict continues or they try another solution such as grievance procedure. Or he'll fail the class.
3.Can they be scheduled with two co-mediators, Carine and David?
Yes--Even though Bob has to go late to work and Alice has to park her five-year old with her ex-mother in law, so they can go on to step 4. No--try other scheduling, different mediators, or another solution. Or he'll fail the class. Does he need this class to graduate, anyway?
4. At the start of the session, can Alice and Bob agree to confidentiality outside the session?
Yes--Even though everyone in class will be curious, they can agree to keep the session to themselves, and go on to step 5. No--try another solution or explain requirements so all present can agree.
5. At the start of the session, can Alice and Bob agree to basic groundrules?
Yes--go on to step 6. No--try another solution or clarify groundrules so all present can agree.
6. During the session, can Alice and Bob take turns presenting their issues to co-mediators Carine and David?
Yes--go to step 7. No--try another solution, or work on barriers to communication.
7. Can co-mediators Carine and David model and encourage good communication skills for Alice and Bob, help Alice and Bob be heard, and keep Alice and Bob on a constructive and positive track?
Yes--go to step 8. They never really hated each other; they just both need the book and can't afford another. No--Use caucuses, time outs, and other strategies. Or return to step 6.
8. Can Alice and Bob get to the point where they can discuss their issues with one another directly, rather than through mediators?
Yes--they turn their chairs towards one another and talk. No--return to step 7.
9. Can Alice and Bob come up with a mutually agreeable, fair, and workable solution or series of solutions?
Yes--they clarify and commit to paper their agreement, with help from co-mediators. Maybe they share the book. Or maybe Alice admits it probably was his book. Or maybe Bob realizes it probably wasn't. Or maybe they make xeroxes. Or maybe she joins EOPS and gets the book paid for. Or maybe he starts studying at her house, and they fall in love. Or maybe...the possibilities are endless.
No--return to step 8.
10. Can Alice and Bob sign off on their solution agreement?
Yes--they sign agreement and each take a copy. No--return to step 9.
11. Does the institution keep records for evaluation purposes?
Yes--a copy of agreement is kept confidentially on file. No--Alice and Bob keep copies.
12. Have all issues been resolved?
Yes--all may leave. They can both still pass the class if they get busy on the homework. No--go back to appropriate step.