Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 1997 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award.

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Open Access Dissertation


Conflict management--Study and teaching (Elementary); Constructivism (Education);


The study involved six weeks of classroom observations and in-depth interviews with two teachers, kindergarten and first grade, who are currently engaging in an on-going process of implementing constructivist education in a public school in Missouri and whose teaching practices are considered to be exemplary. The purpose of the study was twofold: (a) to describe and analyze the teachers’ practical approaches in promoting children’s conflict resolution in the classrooms and (b) to examine how the teachers’ beliefs and practices related to conflict resolution reflect the theoretical framework o f the constructivist program.

The results of the data collection were analyzed and presented according to the following four aspects: (a) characteristics of teacher-initiated and solicited interventions in children’s conflict situations, (b) characteristics of teachers’ mediations, (c) teachers’ beliefs about promoting children’s conflict resolution in the classroom, and (d) teachers’ approaches to creating a classroom environment for promoting children’s conflict resolution. The study found that the teachers initiated interventions only under certain conditions. In their responses to children’s solicitations for intervention, the teachers effectively promoted the children’s abilities to solve their conflicts by themselves. The study also identified the constructivist teachers’ characteristics that were guided by underlying aims of mediating children’s conflicts: to teach children practical strategies to manage conflicts, to foster positive attitudes toward solving interpersonal conflicts in children, and to promote the development of children’s interpersonal understanding. The teachers’ beliefs about promoting children’s conflict resolution were consistent with the theoretical approach of constructivist education and were reflected in their classroom practices: The teachers integrated conflict resolution as an essential part of the curriculum and fostered the children’s abilities to manage conflicts through various experiences in the classroom. The study also identified and analyzed the teachers’ efforts to create a classroom environment that were closely tied to promoting children’s conflict resolution according to three features: (a) providing and using the peace chairs, (b) involving children in making classroom decisions and rules, and (c) establishing a community in which the children and the teacher build close connections by sharing experiences and, at the same time, freely exchange their points of view and respect different ideas.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

1997 Award

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Rheta DeVries

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 153 pages)



File Format