SABONA - Searching for the Good Solutions - Learning Solving Conflicts
ISBN: 978-82-300-0784-6
Year: 2011

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SABONA - Searching for the Good Solutions - Learning Solving Conflicts

Many see conflicts as being caused by difficult parties, persons, countries, violent in action and speech. To see them as carriers of an important message is contradictory to many. However, we do not necessarily have to accept that message as presented, we have to understand it and see the human being behind the violence.

This book is about such matters, with the school rather than the world as the arena. There is violence, and perhaps not only the violence that comes from a bully. The question is how we relate to that violence. Is it only a question of controlling the bully, or could it be that "bullying" is a problem in search of a solution? Can we contribute to building a culture around conflict resolution, and make that culture a joint property for teachers and students, administrators, parents and guardians?

This method is referred to as SABONA, Zulu for I see you. SABONA is Transcend for the conflicts of daily life. Evidence shows that handling conflict can be quickly learnt by children who can give their parents some hints when they are quarreling. What we call conflict hygiene creates a feeling of safety: this problem we can handle.

It is remarkable that the introduction of SABONA in schools, enabling students, teachers, administrators and parents to handle conflicts with empathy, nonviolence and creativity, has also improved educational achievements in other subjects. The students feel they receive fewer harsh words and verbal punishment, they feel treated with respect. A similar effect has been observed in companies, where disputes seem more quickly to rise to the surface and being taken care of. The working environment has improved.


Aase Marie and Synove Faldalen
Vigdis R. Faldalen and Lars Thyholdt

With a Preface by Johan Galtung

Illustrations by Melvær & Lien Idea Entrepreneurs

Searching for Good Solutions -Learning Solving Conflicts

An Introduction to Conflict Handling and Social Relations at School

© SABONA Core Group, 2011

Table of Contents

Preface                .  	  5

Dedication                ...	10

Introduction                 	12

SABONA in the Family       ..............	14

SABONA at School         .............	22

SABONA at Work       .  ..............	28

SABONA: Based on Experience and Testing  	34

The Concepts          .   .......	38

	1.   One Definition of Conflict:
	      Incompatibility           ..	40

	2.   Two Aspects of the Same Issue:  
		Means - Ends           	43

	3.  	Three Corners in the ABC Triangle  ......	47

	4.  	Four Fields in the SortingMat    .......	50

	5.  	Five Conflict Outcomes in the		
		Fiver Scheme            .	54

6. Six: Three Steps With Two Foci Each on the		
	Solution Ladder            	57

7. Seven: Five Squares, One Cross,
		One Recipe: The Conciliation Cross   	60

Life at School With SABONA        	67

	The Football Field            .	67
	Andreas Who Wanted to Stay Out Late    	70
	Emil and a Little Girl in Grade 1      ..	71	
	Mini-Satan               ..	73	
The Morning Robe            .	76
Negotiations              ...	79
The Happy Wanderer           .	81
The Sour Taxi Driver           .     84
The Bus Card              .	   85
The Underlying Conflict          	   87
Assume Responsibility          ..	   88
The Wallet               .	   90
The Fiver Solution            .	   93
Mona the Victim             	   95
The Skiing Day             ..	   97
The Rubber Stamp           .....	 100
What Quarrel?              	 101
The Work Plan             ...	 103
Flexibility               ...	 106
The Sledding Hill            ...	 108
The Sledding Hill 2            	 110
Above the Clouds the Sky Is Always Blue  .	 111
Bullying on Youtube           ..	 112
The King Upon the Hill          .	 114
Martin Is Pregnant            .	 116
The Bananas Are Green!          	 118
Students in Charge            .	 120
No, No, My Boy, This Has to Come to an End! 121
Chain Reactions             .	 124
Oles Story               ..	 126
The Snowman              .  136

No-Peace and Yes-Peace   ...       ..	 139

Literature             ..   	 140


Aase Marie and Synove Faldalen
Vigdis R. Faldalen and Lars Thyholdt

With a Preface by Johan Galtung

Illustrations by Melvær & Lien Idea Entrepreneurs

Searching for Good Solutions -Learning Solving Conflicts

An Introduction to Conflict Handling and Social Relations at School

© SABONA Core Group, 2011

The Snowman

"€He just ruined our snowman!!"

The three first graders are crying over the loss of their newly built snowman. It's a wonderful, sunny day in late February. The snow is fresh and wet and excellent for shaping all kinds of snow sculptures. The schoolyard is filled with joy and children's laughter, with exception from these three unhappy kids. They run to one of the teachers guarding the schoolyard this break, and tell him about the incident. The teacher listens to the story about how an older student, a sixth grader, has kicked over the first graders’ snowman. Not just once – but twice! They tried to build it up again after the first attack, but suddenly he was there again and destroyed their work. The youngsters know this boy and reveal his name to the teacher, who searches him up. The boy has hid behind one of the school buildings, sitting on a bench. The teacher approaches him.

"May I sit next to you? I need to talk to you."

The boy, slightly surprised by not being addressed in a strict manner, answers with an almost unnoticeable gesture, nodding his head. The teacher continues.

"Look, I need to hear your side of a story I've just been told, involving you, three kids from the first grade and a snowman. Do you know what I'm talking about?"

The boy looks down for some seconds, and after being confronted with the accusations against him, he admits the damage he has caused.

”What you have done is unacceptable, but like I said, I am willing to listen to your story. Can you tell me why you did it?”, the teacher continues.

The boy is not too eager to tell his version. It is embarrassing. But after a while he is ready to ”let go”.

"They wouldn't let me play with them. Why is it only the first and second graders who are allowed to borrow shovels for making igloos and snowmen?" The teacher has to admit he's having a point there, and says so to him.

"I understand you feel this is unfair. Still, your behavior in this matter is not acceptable. You know we have ways to handle wishes and requests from the students. The student council takes care of such matters."

The boy agrees, but replies. "I know, but why didn't they let me play with them?" "I don't know. Did you ask them if you may?", the teacher asks. "No, not exactly, but I was there when they started and tried to help them, but they only told me to go away!" "Could it be that they misunderstood your intentions? Maybe they thought you wanted to bully them?" "Why would they think that?"

"Well, I'm sure you can remember being a first grader yourself many years ago. You thought the older students at school could seem rather scary to you, didn't you?"

The boy nods silently. ”So, what do you do now?”, the teacher continuous. ”What do you mean?”, the boy asks.

”Like I said, what you did was not acceptable”, the teacher goes on. ”You need to do something about it.”

”I could, of course, help them rebuild the snowman, but I’m sure they won’t let me join them now, after what happened”, the boy sighs. ”If you had been one of them, what would you have wanted a sixth grader to do in order to let him join in after first having ruined your work?”, the teacher asks. ”I could say I’m sorry…”, the boy answers uncertainly. ”That would be a good start, I think”, the teacher replies. ”I also think telling them that you wanted to play, but that you didn’t quite make it clear to them, could be a good idea. Let’s see if we can find them, and talk to them, shall we?”

A little while later, the sixth grader is busy building a new and much bigger and even more beautiful snowman together with three happy first graders.

Comment: Listening to this story, Johan Galtung once said; "There is a snowman called the Oslo process. The Israeli Labor Party and Palestines Al Fatah are allowed to play, Likhud and Hamas are excluded. What is their natural reaction? To try to destroy what the others have built. If we want to make peace, we must include all parties, even those with whom we may disagree!"

Working with children, we need to add that they also must learn to acknowledge other children’s right to play alone – and to be left alone, if that is their wish.

However, we must encourage them to look for the overwhelming possibilities that dwell in creating things together with others; exploring the field of togetherness, challenge the risk of having clashes of goals, improving the skills of how to make positive outcomes and new realities from such processes.

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