Why should we include peer mediation in (primary) schools? Irena Lesar and Darja Rugelj
Summary: In recent years, peer mediation in schools has been one of the most desired techniques to resolve disputes. However, it cannot usually exist in the absence of school mediation led by professional workers. As research in this area has had little research devoted to it in Slovenia, the primary aim of this article is to help fill this gap. The qualitative research, made on the basis of the example of the education plan of primary schools in Ljubljana, shows that almost three fifths of the education plans in place include mediation. Nevertheless, in more than a fifth of all education plans this technique is only written and the schools know nothing about it. In more than a fifth of all education plans peer mediation is included. Coordinators of the mediation and the teachers of the chosen schools recognize many benefits of peer mediation, therefore a more qualitative introduction of this technique should be applied. Examples from abroad show peer mediation should be a basic part of the whole-school approach. It enables school management to take responsibility for professional, financial, and spatial support. It also encourages student empowerment, and helps students develop their social skills. A comparison of well-known “mediation stories” or goals in the context of legal and community traditions of mediation, clearly shows that special attention should be focused in schools on achieving transformational effects of the (peer) mediation.