My first year as a facilitator with The Ripple Effect Education has been a wonderful experience. This year I have not only learned from the lessons and students I have taught, but I have been able to better understand what peace and conflict actually means and how I can apply it in my own life.
Our facilitation team at TREE works in pairs which allows us to have someone to lean on and learn from. Working in a team has allowed me to practice skills we teach our students, like clear communication, active listening, and problem solving.
One framework that we teach across different age groups is an I Feel Statement.
The framework for an I Feel Statement is:
“I feel… when…. I would like…”
This sentence structure allows us to express our own feelings and name our needs to the people around us. As I taught I Feel Statements, I became much better at using them in my own life. Often as adults we don’t think we need to work on the basics in conflict resolution and communication, but I have learned it is important to revisit those first steps, especially as we begin to work in groups in the workplace and in our personal relationships. The I Feel Statements have helped me work efficiently with my co-facilitators and I have been able to admit how I am feeling about a lesson or a challenge I am facing. This confidence in expressing my feelings expands into other areas of my life and has helped me in conflict situations.
For example, I live with four other roommates, and there are always challenges living in community. Using I Feel Statements, I have been able to express my feelings about an issue without blaming anyone, which allows my friends to receive what I’m saying and prompt further discussion.
As I continue to work with TREE, I am excited to learn alongside the students and continue to use these simple conflict resolution strategies with my peers. I look forward to introducing them to more classrooms in the fall!
Have you used I Feel Statements to start tough conversations? Tell us below!
Paige Court is a fourth year student at Wilfrid Laurier University studying Global Studies and Social Entrepreneurship. Currently, she is spending her summer doing an internship in Peru facilitating workshops and conducting focus groups about youth employability. Fun facts: she speaks Spanish and loves playing hockey.