From Retribution to Restorative Practices :Handling Classroom conflicts using Nonviolent Communication


With pleasing words you can get connected: Anju Tandon
The Samiti in association with Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan’s Mehta Vidyalaya (BVBMV) New Delhi organised a webinar on “From Retribution to Restorative Practices – Handling Classroom conflicts using Nonviolent Communication on June 12, 2020. The key speakers at the webinar included Shri Dipanker Shri Gyan, Director GSDS; Dr. (Mrs) Anju Tandon, Principal, BVBMV and Dr. Vedabhyas Kundu, Director GSDS. Over 100 participants from Delhi NCR, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan’s NSCB Vidyaniketan Haldia, Bangalore, Hyderabad, teachers from the Holy Child Sr. Sec. School Tagore Garden joined the webinar.
Giving his introductory remarks and initiating the dialogue, Shri Dipanker Shri Gyan highlighted the traditional Indian system of mitigation of conflicts amongst parties and also spoke on the concept of ‘panch parameshwar’ which governed the society and handled all the disputes, which was finally sorted out or decided by the head of that system. He said, ‘Establishing peace is the ultimate aim humankind wants to attain”. While speaking about the competition amongst peer groups, society, in education, jobs and so on, he said that if healthy competitions develop then the process of establishing communication between groups becomes easier. He also laid stress on the challenges teachers face in their day-to-day life and appreciated their patience in handling students with different behaviour, attitude and mannerisms and felt that a more integrated approach through the methodologies of non-violent communication can bring in great changes not just in the students but also the teachers because when communication bridges the gap, problems solve and does not precipitate.
Dr. (Mrs) Anju Tandon in her address reflected on the necessity of communication and said that it is not possible for humankind to not to communicate. There is communication within, outside at each and every moment. She emphasised on the need to develop trust and confidence amongst one another and that is only possible through words. “Both or verbal as well as non-verbal communication matters and takes us a long way in building establishing relationship”, said Dr. Tandon, adding, “With pleasing words you can get connected, for words are the most important force in the hands of humankind”.
Dr. Vedabhyas Kundu through his presentation highlighted the various ideas of non-violent communication (NVC) with specific emphasis on the Gandhian principles of NVC – respect, understanding, acceptance and appreciation – and highlighted on the importance of encouraging interpersonal literacy amongst teachers. He said, “The aim should be for the evolution of a value-based classroom culture where both the students and teachers are able to work together coherently”.
While talking about various methodologies and techniques of applying NVC in classrooms to avoid retribution, he called upon the teachers to avoid being stereotyped and evaluative. Instead he hoped that teachers should be empathetic and attempt towards understanding the reason behind the ‘disruptive’ or such behaviours of the students. He also defined the concept of TEACHER through an acronym as – T- Truthful/trustworthy/transparent; E- Empathetic; A- Acceptance; C-Compassionate; H- Humane/Humorous; E- Enlightened and R- Reassuring/Reliable and said, “Teaching is an emotional and demanding job”, adding, “Teaching is mediated by knowing the needs of students and creating a climate where the students are actively engaged”.
He also pointed to the need for practicing how our thought processes are also nonviolent by nature and called for encouraging constructive dialogue, for which he underlined the need for developing active and deep listening skills.
Laying importance on the need of gratitude from home to schools, Dr. Kundu concluded his presentation by asking teachers to promote peer mediation practices and making learning fun.
The webinar concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Ms. Alka Jayaswal, Academic Coordinator of Bharatiya Vidya Vhawan’s Mehta Vidyalaya. Dr. Anju Tandon proposed for including more such topics as emotional intelligence, social awareness and reflection exercises. Ms. Anupama Nagendra, Ms. Anny Narang, Ms. Sunita Jha, Ms. Subhashree Praide and others also interacted with the panellists.