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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sample Dialogue Between a Mentor and Mentee Demonstrating the Seven Steps of the Conflict Resolution Method


Step Number

Step Explanation

Sample Dialogue


The mentor and mentee find a time and place to resolve their conflict.

·  Mentor: "Let's find a time to get together to resolve our difference. What would be a convenient time for us to meet?

·  Mentee: “ I have a planning period staring at 9:45 tomorrow morning. Will that work for you?

·  Mentor: Excellent, we’ll meet in my office at 9:45.


The mentor invites the mentee to state how he or she sees the problem. The mentor listens, and paraphrases the mentee's statement.

·  Mentor: "Let's begin with you stating how you see the problem that we're having. I'll listen to what you're saying, and not interrupt you."

·  Mentee: "In our previous discussion we had agreed that there would be no surprise observations. But yesterday you came into my classroom, sat down, and started taking notes. This upset me. I thought you were going to inform me prior to your observation."

·  Mentor: "Let me see if I understand you. You're saying we had agreed that there were no surprise observations, and you’re upset that I came into your classroom yesterday without prior notification. Is that what you’re saying and feeling?”

·  Mentee: "That’s absolutely right.”


The mentor states how he or she sees the problem, and the mentee listens, and must correctly paraphrase the mentor's statement.

·  Mentor: "Now, it's my turn to tell how I see the problem, and you’ll listen to me, and then show me that you understand what I'm saying and feeling. Are we clear on this process?"

·  Mentee: "Yes, I understand"

·  Mentor: "What I remember discussing at our initial meeting was that I would do two formal observations and several informal ones. Yesterday was a spontaneous informal observation. A formal observation is one in which we have a pre-conference meeting, and agree upon (a) when I will visit your classroom, (b) what lesson you will be teaching, (c) what I will be observing in your classroom, and (d) the time and date for the post-observation conference. An informal observation is one where I just come in to see how you are doing. There is no post-conference meeting unless you or I request to discuss something. I do these informal visitations to help me understand how you are doing, and how I can best serve you. I’m surprised by your reaction to my visit to your classroom. Now please tell me what you understand that I’ve said, and how do you think I’m feeling right now.”

·  Mentee: "You explained the difference between a formal and informal observation, and you’re surprised that I’m upset by your visit yesterday.

·  Mentor: “ Good, you understand what I’m thinking and feeling.”


The mentor and mentee continue speaking, and listening to each other until they both are satisfied that they understand each other's thoughts and feelings.

·  Mentor: "I think we both understand each other better now. Do you agree?"

·  Mentee: "Yes, I agree. Are we finished now?"

·  Mentor: "Not yet. Now, let's brainstorm how we can resolve this problem for the future.”



The mentor and the mentee brainstorm how to solve the problem.

·  Mentor: "What can we do to solve this problem? Can you share one suggestion?"

·  Mentee: "Sure, why don't you just let me know when you will be doing your formal and information observations?"

·  Mentor: "I'll record your suggestion on this brainstorming list. Now I'll offer my suggestion; You will eventually permit me to visit your classroom for an informal observation without prior notification.”

·  Note: The mentor and the mentee brainstorm a list of actions the mentor, and the mentee can do to resolve their conflict.


The mentor and the mentee create a plan to resolve their differences.

·  Mentor and the mentee agree to the following plan:

·  The mentor will give prior notification for the next informal observation. At a point in time when the mentee feels more comfortable with the mentor, the mentee will welcome all observations, both formal and unannounced informal ones.”


The mentor and mentee agree to meet again to evaluate how the plan is working.

·  Mentor: "Let's meet in two weeks to see how well our plan is working. Will that work for you?"

·  Mentee: "Absolutely!”

·  Mentor: "Then our meeting is over.”


Note: We are not suggesting that this is the optimal solution for this conflict. It is quite conceivable and likely that a mentor and mentee might resolve this conflict in another and more productive way. The purpose for this scenario is not to show the elegance of their solution to this problem.  It is, rather, to model the seven step Conflict Resolution Method (CRM).


On the next blog post we will discuss four additional interpersonal skills that Carl D. Glickman suggests the mentor needs to possess in his or her repertoire.

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