Temple Times Online Edition
    DECEMBER 2, 2004
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Professor sees conflict resolution education as a solution for declining teacher retention

Hoping to reverse shrinking teacher retention rates and boost teacher satisfaction — particularly in urban, public schools — education professor Tricia Jones has launched the Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education (CRETE) project with funding from the George Gund Foundation ($128,000) and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education ($504,000). The program’s intent is to train future teachers in conflict education and social and emotional learning before they enter a classroom.

“The latest figures show that 50 percent of teachers in urban settings quit teaching within three years of starting,” Jones said. “By training teachers in these techniques prior to beginning their careers, we’re hoping that it helps them manage a classroom climate that is safe, constructive and motivating for students. If they have conflict resolution skills going in, the chances for success are much better.”

Jones is partnering with educators at Cleveland State University, Kent State University and the Ohio Commission for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management to implement CRETE.
They plan to use a variety of tactics to fold conflict resolution education into postsecondary schooling for teachers. CRETE will help higher-education faculty infuse such training into existing courses, and mini-seminar modules will be offered to teacher candidates who miss out on courses that explain conflict resolution. The program will also train teacher mentors to assist new teachers in conflict resolution. Finally, project supervisors will develop a system to chart the progress of teachers who have been educated in conflict resolution.

Faculty training and mini-seminars are already under way at Cleveland State. Jones is currently recruiting Temple education faculty to participate in the project and hopes to offer mini-seminars starting next semester.

“Temple University and Cleveland State are such perfect institutions to start a project like this because they are major feeder schools for urban schools,” Jones said. “No other institution creates more Philadelphia public school teachers than Temple. We’re sending our graduates into schools that have much larger classes, are more diverse and have student populations that generally have less of a social support structure at home. This type of training is essential to teacher and student success.”

Ted Boscia