I did a training as mediator with “Seniorpartner in School e. V.” (here you find the full text in German). Our teacher Thomas Jennrich taught us NVC (Nonviolent Communication) according to Marshall B. Rosenberg by using the two symbolic NVC animals, the wolf and the giraffe. The wolf embodies the way we usually deal with each other, on the other hand, the giraffe, the land creature with the biggest heart, how we can communicate empathetically, i.e. sensitively. NVC does not analyze and does not propose any solutions. It tries to understand which need is not met when we are unhappy.
Needs such as community, contact, love, security, appreciation and many others know no nationality or national borders and are the same for all people. We use different strategies to meet our needs. However, some strategies do not lead to the goal, but lead to arguments. If Paul doesn’t want to play with Beate, but rather with other children, Beate’s need for community is not fulfilled. Paul is the “strategy” with which Beate tries to meet her need for community. But there are “1000 other strategies” (M.B. Rosenberg), how Beate can satisfy her need for community. Empathic listening tries to make the other person’s needs aware and asks, for example: “Are you sad because contact is important to you?” If the other person recognizes the need behind his or her unhappiness, he or she will be able to find new strategies to meet his or her need.
But that we only have gradually understood. The numerous practical exercises and role-plays that we did in addition to the theory in 3 blocks of the 80-hour, in-depth training to become a mediator were most helpful. For me, the role-playing games, in which two students sat opposite two mediators, were an eye opener. In the role of the pupil, we were able to empathize with typical conflict situations among pupils, while the mediators were able to practice the process of mediation and the application of the NVC.