A bi-annual e-newsletter from NP@PON
(Negotiation Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation)
Volume 3, Issue 2
New Teaching Notes for Three Values-Based Mediation Simulations
by Orlee Rabin
NP@PON has developed several new Teaching Notes to accompany
the three values-based and identity-based simulations described in the last
NP@PON Newsletter. The simulations are available
along with an overview Teaching Note, individual teaching notes for each game,
and an Annotated Bibliography.
The overview Note offers extensive guidance on how to organize discussions
about value-based disputes (VBD).
The three simulations focus on situations in which values
and identities are at the forefront of the dispute, challenging students to
move away from the usual focus on positions and interests, to an analysis of
underlying values and beliefs as the source of the conflict. The role-play simulations, Williams
v. Northville, Ellis v. MacroB, and Springfield OutFest, are based on
actual disputes (that were not mediated) and which deal with issues of
homosexuality and religious identity. More about these cases can be found in Jennifer
Gerarda Brown's "Peacemaking in the Culture War Between Gay Rights and
Religious Liberty," Iowa Law Review, Volume 95, p. 747, 2010. Students do not need to be studying law to
benefit from the simulations. (For more information on the simulations, click here).
Created by mediation students at Harvard Law School in the
fall of 2009, the overview Teaching Note examines five different approaches to
mediating values-based and identity-based disputes, and outlines potential
teaching strategies for each of the three simulations. Additionally, the Teaching Note summarizes
student reactions to the simulations.
Values-based disputes present unique challenges for a
mediator, as the common interest-based techniques may not lead to a durable
resolution that satisfies the parties' most important concerns. The individual game Teaching Notes and the
overview Note clarify the relationships among interests, values, and
identities, and further explain the distinguishing features of VBDs.
Before entering a VBD, a mediator must evaluate the relative
importance of values and fundamental beliefs.
Mediators can choose from among a range of approaches and assess the
best strategy (or combination of strategies) relative to the particular
dispute. The Teaching Notes detail five approaches:
Withdraw: choose not to mediate.
Consider interests and values separately.
Facilitate dialogue and offer opportunities for
deeper mutual understanding and relationship building.
Appeal to overarching values.
Confront values directly.
Each approach is thoroughly assessed, evaluated for
advantages and disadvantages, and considered in the context of the three
simulations as well as other disputes.
Recommendations are given as to how to combine certain strategies.
VBDs are common, and often seemingly intractable. The overview Teaching Note outlines a number
of possible teaching strategies for each or all of the three games:
Contrast the experience of mediating one
values-based simulation with at least one interest-based simulation.
Focus on the various ways in which stakeholders
understand how and why values at stake in each of the three simulations.
Compare the different strategies for handling
VBDs highlighted in the overview Teaching Note by approaching the same game in
several different ways.
All three teaching techniques reinforce the idea that there
is variability in the way that stakeholders adhere to and describe their own
values, which in turn affects the choice of a mediation strategy.
To prepare teachers for student reactions to the simulations,
the overview Teaching Note concludes with reflections by students who have
played all three games, including general reactions and simulation- specific
reactions. The Annotated Bibliography
provides teachers with brief summaries of more than a dozen highly relevant
Bruce Patton on Teaching the Micro-Skills of
by Orlee Rabin
There is often a profound gap - of which we are typically
unaware - between what we "know" or "believe" about effective negotiation
practice and what we actually do as
practitioners under pressure. Bruce Patton, the founder of Vantage Partners and co-founder of the Harvard
Negotiation Project, advocates helping students master key "micro-skills" to
enable them to demonstrate competent
macro-behaviors in negotiation. In his presentation "Using
Micro-Skills Practice to Enable Competent Macro-Behaviors" at the December 2009 PON Faculty Dinner
Seminar, Patton outlined the innovative technique that is reviewed in this
Patton emphasized that teachers wanting to help students learn
to use knowledge (as opposed to
acquiring knowledge) and build skills (as opposed to learning about skills) should take a "Joint
Learning" approach to teaching negotiation. The emphasis ought to be on active
learning by doing with the teacher playing the role of facilitator,
interlocutor, and analyst. Teachers
should use a range of teaching strategies to enable students to build skills in
negotiation, including activities to develop problem awareness/appreciation,
facilitated review, and micro-skills practice, to name a few.
Chris Argyris demonstrated that there is a cognitive gap
between what we know and are able to see others doing, and what we ourselves
do; further, we are often unaware of this gap (Argyris, Putnam, and Smith
1985). As Patton puts it, we store
analytic knowledge in a different part of our brain from our action
repertoire. Helping students overcome
this gap requires building in-the-moment awareness and the neural pathways
needed for new responses.
Patton and his associates devised micro-skill building
exercises after realizing that negotiation students were able to critique other
students when they did certain things incorrectly, but were completely unaware
that they were doing the same things themselves. The goal of micro-skills exercises is to be
able to demonstrate the specific activities required to perform a specific
negotiation skill when prompted and when appropriate. By pulling apart these skills piece by piece,
students can learn to reconstruct behaviors and perform a skillful combination
of negotiation tasks. Through guided instruction, role-playing, and repetition,
the micro-skills method enables
students to devise new cognitive practices that bridge the gap between
knowing/understanding and doing.
Patton demonstrated how micro-skills exercises can help in
teaching and conceptualizing the difficult task of active listening. He explained, "Productive conversations do
not involve 20 minutes of listening, followed by 20 minutes of sharing and
telling your story. Rather, they move very rapidly between inquiring into and
testing your understanding of what the other side said, and then sharing your
response to that. . . .You are really digging into each other's story." To
create an effective dialogue, you need three micro-skills of active listening:
genuine inquiry, paraphrasing logic or meaning, and demonstrating empathy with
feelings. The skills are essential for
any productive conversation as they "help the other side actually feel like you
have heard them, and that at some point you have understood them ... because if
you want someone to listen to you, it is necessary for them to feel listened
With his colleagues, Patton devised a simple two-sided
scenario and a series of practice exercises to develop the needed skills. In the first phase, one party acts as a
"talker" and the other as a "listener," with the talker initiating a
provocative conversation and the listener asked to demonstrate one of the three
active listening micro-skills by a "coach."
Through repetition, the listener must gradually demonstrate an ability
to produce each one of three micro-skills and understand the differences among
The second phase of the exercise the listener and talker
engage in a conversation in which the listener tries to combine the
micro-skills to demonstrate understanding, but without revealing their own
view. The talker and coach are given an
unpleasant imaginary buzzer and must "buzz" the listener whenever s/he
accidentally reveals his/her own views.
Listeners' brains quickly figure out how to avoid the buzzer, giving the
listener the ability to recognize when their "listening" is being contaminated
by their own view and turning into "spin."
By using such repetitive exercises to develop and reinforce
neural pathways, or habits, the student is more likely to repeat these
behaviors under pressure, as the brain favors well-traveled pathways.
Micro-skills are just one part of a teacher's overall
approach to teaching negotiation, but they are a critical piece in enabling
students to use critical skills under pressure in real situations.
For more information on micro-skills management and other
teaching approaches, go to: http://www.vantagecorped.com/
Making and Using Films to Teach Negotiation
by Orlee Rabin
Access to multimedia content is rapidly increasing
throughout the world, with videos and short clips permeating our daily life -
whether in gas stations, on ATMs, cell phones, or mobile entertainment
devices. We are consuming, producing,
and interacting with videos more now than ever before: YouTube is the
third-most visited website on the Internet, the website Hulu is now seen as a competitor
to cable TV, and Flip Cameras and digital technology like Movie Maker and
iMovie allow a novice to become a director, cinematographer, and producer with
little effort.[i] In light of increasing trends toward video
fluency and interest in using videos in education, the Program on Negotiation
Clearinghouse is making a concerted shift toward providing more videos as
negotiation and mediation resources. To that end, NP@PON invited Hal Movius,
principal and director of Training and Consulting Services at the Consensus
Building Institute, to present "Reel Life: Making and Using Films to Teach
Negotiation" at the 2010 Spring NP@PON Faculty Dinner. Hal is a pioneer in developing corporate
negotiation video simulations and has created four DVDs to help corporations
train staff in negotiation techniques.
The 2009 NP@PON Mediation Pedagogy Conference Participant
Survey (reviewed in the 2010
Winter NP@PON E-Newsletter) found that respondents are eager to use new
technology and techniques to teach mediation. More than three-quarters of the
teachers and trainers interviewed indicated that using video is important to
teaching mediation. The curriculum review
described in this issue of the NP@PON E-Newsletter found that more than half of
the course outlines we reviewed utilized videos to teach mediation, either by
creating video recordings to assess students' mediation strategies or to view
video role plays and simulations.
Hal Movius's Work
While consulting with the Consensus Building Institute for a
large media conglomerate, Hal had the opportunity to work with professional
video producers. Hal has scripted and
produced powerful instructional DVDs.
The materials are extremely popular with CBI's corporate clients and
have provoked some exciting conversations about negotiation and negotiation
Recently, Hal produced several more negotiation training
videos with corporate partners -- hiring professional crews and actors to portray
situations based on interviews with company executives. Each video is relevant to a particular
specific corporate environment (in which new negotiation challenges have
arisen) and portrays staff dealing with issues similar to those commonly
experienced by the audience.
It is common for participants to do roleplay
simulations and watch videos in negotiation trainings, but it is rare for
videos to resonate with participants by relating specifically to their
real-world context. Hal compared the
generalized video learning process to watching someone ride a bike on a track,
and then being asked to ride a bike down a mountain trail, using only what you
learned from watching the biker on the track.
Context is important in negotiation training, as the skills needed in a
given circumstance may be completely different in another situation.
Video as a Teaching
Hal explains: "As a
psychologist by training, I became very interested in how people respond to
film. It provokes a much deeper
experience than would talking or reading about a given situation." Videos convey lessons in a different way than
a lecture, discussion, or even role play might convey. Students who are well read in negotiation
theory gain explicit knowledge structures with "correct" and "incorrect"
answers to negotiation practices. Most
of the time, these students are able to define theory without fully grasping
the subtle nuances required in a realistic context. Hal noticed that, after reviewing
interactions in the videos, trainees reacted to the lessons with more than the
common stock "correct" answers, and seemed to react with different implicit
theories about negotiation.
Hal structured the videos in four different formats, with
each providing a distinct learning opportunity:
Queries to the audience: In this format, an
actor poses a negotiation problem to the audience, at which point the trainer
pauses the tape and asks the viewers to discuss the problem.
Single vignettes: This format includes
simulations of negotiation preparation meetings, at-the-table negotiations,
coaching, facilitative learning, agency dilemmas, side meetings, and approaches
to handling difficult people. Actors
depict various techniques and skill sets in these role plays.
Paired vignettes: This structure compares and
contrasts behaviors and negotiation styles in situations described above.
Multi-scene stories: This video short takes the
shape of a realistic negotiation drama that unfolds over time with protagonists
and back-table communications, and illustrates common barriers and challenges.
Each of the formats models different negotiation practices -
preparation, moves at the table, coalition-building strategies, and other
techniques and strategies. Each provides
trainers and teachers with important teaching tools.
Carefully constructed queries following the viewing of a
single vignette can be used to elicit
implicit theories. The trainer can use the "choice point approach" -- pausing
the video at any time and forcing students to respond quickly to events on the
screen -- to stimulate conversations about negotiation techniques or
organizational behavior. Other
simulations are valuable because they model negotiation complexity and provoke
emotional responses reminiscent of real negotiations. Hal clarified, "When you see two people
acting in an intense role play with one actor visibly distressed, you, as a
viewer, have a physical response to the situation, the same way you do in a
real-life experience." The multi-scene
stories give students a better sense of the flow that characterizes real
negotiations. Hal explained, "Modeling
the complex behaviors included in effective negotiation-in this case, on the
big screen-seems to help the procedural learning of training participants and
to spark additional teaching opportunities."
His video simulations provoke new opportunities to think
about negotiation moves more clearly, to sharpen strategic judgments, manage
feelings before, during, and after a negotiation, and allow implicit ideas,
assumptions, and theories to surface.
Insights from the
Spring 2010 Faculty Dinner
Hal presented two film clips during his talk. The first portrayed a multi-scene negotiation
story that follows the progress of a negotiator as his agency attempts to
"close a deal" and sign an old client to a new contract. The client has hired a hardball procurement
consultant who presents a significant challenge as a negotiating partner. What ensues is a detailed unfolding of events
that is both realistic and engaging, depicting the tasks and skills necessary
for a mutual gains negotiator to succeed.
The second clip demonstrated a paired vignette of two
different negotiation approaches to handling a very aggressive
counterpart. The first involved a
negotiator struggling to communicate, but in the end failing to make an
effective connection. The second
portrayed a negotiator using the mutual gains approach with the same adversary,
and showing progress toward resolution.
The video clips initiated a very stimulating conversation,
exploring different ways of using videos as a teaching tool, to the best ways
of formatting teaching videos, to the increasing interest in using teaching
videos in all kinds of classrooms.
There was a debate on how best to sequence videos in the
classroom. Hal explained that videos
become even more effective when they are paired with a simulation and that
there are numerous benefits to showing the video first, as opposed to starting
with a role play simulation. If used
first, the video illustrates how to take certain actions - what to do, what not
to do - that students can emulate in the role play. If the teacher starts with the simulation,
the video can open up conversation and draw out the students' working theories
of negotiation as they compare their actions to those on screen. There was general agreement that regardless
of the order, videos are an effective education tool.
Despite the near universal support for video as an education
tool, there is not agreement on how to best use or format videos. One participant viewed video as a crucial
tool for portraying negotiation styles, while another highlighted its potential
as an evaluation tool - allowing students to confront their own performances.
There was lively discussion about whether scripted or unscripted
videos are more effective. A script
makes production easier and gives the educational producer more control over
content and messaging. But, this
requires good actors and polished writing, which are often more expensive. Moreover, scripted videos sometimes feel
unrealistic or stilted. A non-scripted
video is more natural, but the producer needs to use gifted negotiators or
mediators as the actors.
In general, there was unanimity on the need for
higher-quality negotiation and mediation videos.
The Next Steps
The talk concluded with a look toward the future of videos
in negotiation pedagogy. Larry Susskind
hypothesized that the format of negotiation- teaching videos will be almost as
important as the content. He explained
that educational videos will increasingly be available for viewing online in
various interactive formats, with multiple sets of comments and instructions
embedded in the Web platform. This will
create new opportunities to engage a wider circle of learners and teachers.
Hal Movius's negotiation videos sparked a great
discussion. NP@PON looks forward to
working closely with Hal as we develop new teaching videos in the years
Hal has provided NP@PON readers with a clip from his video,
"The Linder Negotiation." The
clip that follows is set in the middle of a multi-scene negotiation story. The protagonist has just left a difficult
negotiation and the clip portrays her boss's attempts to coach her in
preparation for the next round of negotiation.
PLEASE NOTE: This video segment
will only be available for one month online.
If you would like to use the video for teaching purposes, please contact
Watch "The Linder Negotiation"
Hal can be contacted at:
Hal Movius, Ph.D.
Principal, The Consensus Building Institute
Mediation Curriculum: Trends and Variations
by Orlee Rabin
NP@PON collected many types of
curriculum materials from teachers and trainers who attended the 2009 Mediation
Pedagogy Conference. We received general
materials about classes on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as well as
highly specific and idiosyncratic units like Conflict Resolution through Literature: Romeo and Juliet and a
negotiating training package for female managers from the Middle
We have grouped the materials into
Course syllabi dealing with conflict resolution
or ADR in general: These are broad in scope and review traditional methods like
negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Most adopt a theoretical orientation.
Course Syllabi for mediation in particular:
These are more training-oriented and support mediation certification (although
many were provided by educational institutions).
Notes or outlines dealing with specific
mediation exercises: These are often quite specialized.
Based on our analysis of the
materials we received, several themes have been identified that should be of
interest to the readership of the NP@PON Newsletter.
Similarities and Variations
Scope: The syllabi
highlight the breadth of the mediation field, covering divorce, business,
community, human relations, environmental and public policy conflicts, often
taking a comparative perspective. Not
only do they deal with micro-skills and mediation techniques, but they also
address broader issues of communication, facilitation, and assisted
The 40 submissions we received demonstrate that negotiation educators rely
on one of three pedagogical approaches: a theoretical analysis of conflict
resolution, a skills-based focus on assisted negotiation techniques, or a
combination of the two. Very few syllabi
were purely theoretical, which, from our standpoint, reflects the highly
applied nature of the field in which we work.
For obvious reasons, the mediation
curricula we saw differ markedly between law schools and non-law schools. Most law school courses examine mediation
through the lens of the judicial structure, highlighting the roles that
litigators can play in mediation and focusing on mediation skills and frameworks
rather than theoretical constructs.
Non-law courses concentrate on a much broader set of roles that various
actors can play in helping to address public, private, and community
disputes. We noticed that courses taught
outside the USA
tended to compare mediation frameworks across countries, in addition to
providing a focus on mediation skills.
Mediation ethics was a focal concern in almost all the curricula, but
only a few assessed the limitations of mediation practice or emphasized how to
determine whether a dispute should move into mediation.
Certain courses allotted a
significant amount of time to preparing students for difficult situations. One required students to receive concurrent
trainings in diversity and domestic violence while another focused on power
imbalances and cultural competence, asking students to examine simulations from
various gender, race, and cultural perspectives. Others focused on the psychosocial capacities
of mediators, taking a restorative justice perspective and emphasizing
transformative mediation theories.
In terms of the scope, the
mediation syllabi we received were quite diverse, with the location of the
training having a significant impact on the focus of the course. All curricula aim to provide students with
mediation skills in addition to a theoretical understanding of conflict
Classroom Experience:Teaching mediation and ADR tends to
involve a highly participatory approach to education. Teachers used a wide variety of formats,
including lectures, discussions, videos, role-plays, and simulation
exercises. Role plays are the most
common teaching tool - reinforcing the survey results from the 2009 NP@PON
Mediation Pedagogy Conference (accessible in the 2010
Winter NP@PON E-Newsletter) in which 83% of the respondents viewed
role-play as an extremely important teaching method.
Many curricula emphasized learning
through professional experiences. In
certain courses, students were required to observe mediations in small claims
court and watch experienced mediators in action before they were expected to
mediate in class. Other classes brought
in professional mediators to "act out" a simulation. Students were given an
opportunity to interrupt and discuss techniques and strategies with visiting
professionals. In yet another course
students partnered with professional mediators in court, giving students both
professional experience and guidance during their first mediation. One syllabus promoted the use of "real life
as text." The professor encouraged
students to utilize their personal experience in an effort to enhance critical
reflection and experiential learning.
To summarize, hands on activities,
first-hand experiences, and professional guidance are used to enrich mediation
and ADR courses.
Tools: Mediation and conflict resolution courses require learners to
devote time to introspection and analyzing the multiple dimensions of social
interactions. Almost all the course summaries we received demonstrated a
commitment to helping students evaluate their capacity to manage conflict
through an understanding of positions and interests, assessing BATNAs,
analyzing barriers to agreements and the balance of power, and recognizing
different styles of communication.
Additionally, numerous curricula
utilized tools to help students assess their personal stylistic or
psychological predispositions, including: the Thomas-Killman Conflict Mode
Instrument (Thomas & Killman, 1974) the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Myers,
1995), or the Mediator Classification Index (Riskin, 1994). These courses also provided a framework for
using such knowledge in mediation and negotiation.
We deduced from our review of these
syllabi that communication skills and conflict analysis techniques are
essential to competent mediation. Many
courses use specific exercises and simulations in addition to psychological
assessment tools to prepare students for the challenges they will face as
were designed to encourage students to develop their conceptual skills and to
try their hand at mediation. Common
assignments included research papers on specific topics relating to mediation,
graded simulations, mediator memoranda, journal-keeping, and analysis of
Some teachers relied heavily on
video as a teaching tool. Simulations
were videotaped, enabling students to review their own and other students'
efforts and get further feedback from the class. Other professors encouraged students to turn
in video assignments or film their debriefing sessions, displaying their
capacity to mediate or analyze a mediation.
Citing increased evidence of online platforms in business, one course
had a significant technological focus, requiring numerous videotaped
simulations and even conducted a mediation through an online meeting
Assessing a student's success in a
mediation course is not always an easy task, and subjective evaluation means
are generally employed: students are given a variety of opportunities to
portray what they have learned, whether through written assignments, hands on
simulations, or analysis of other mediation performances.
Literature: The two most
common reading assignments were Roger Fisher and William Ury's Getting to Yes (1983) (by far the most
popular resource) and Mark Bennett's The
Art of Mediation (2005). Almost
every syllabus included readings on ethics in mediation as well as conflict
resolution. Readings ranged from articles on current
events, case studies of actual disputes, psychosocial research,
negotiation/mediation/conflict resolution theory, legal regulations and
guidelines for mediation, as well as many other materials. Additional readings included articles rooted
in traditional social science fields, as well as specialized readings on
community dispute resolution, public policy disputes, international conflicts,
peer mediation, and other specific subjects. The readings assigned in the
courses exemplify the commonalities and variance in the field of mediation.
Two Brief Cases
The course materials we received
were prepared by a wide range of professionals in private practices and
university programs including law schools, schools of social work, schools of
education, and environmental programs.
Most courses reflected the educational objectives of their particular
institutions; for example, the Conflict
Resolution curriculum from the Florida Atlantic University School of Social
Work was quite different from the syllabus for Conflict Management developed by the Centre for Forest Landscape
and Planning in the University
The Conflict Resolution curriculum introduced conflict theories and
focused on negotiation, mediation, and advocacy as they pertain to social
work. The course used a social justice
framework, promoting the idea of the social worker as an advocate for social
change who uses conflict resolution skills.
The Conflict Management curriculum
was less focused on a formal mediation than on its elemental components including
conflict assessment techniques and interpersonal awareness, linking such
strategies to public and environmental planning and disputes. The course was directed to natural resource
Even with these seemingly different
educational objectives and institutional foci, the curricula overlapped in
numerous places. Both syllabi focused on
the role and uses of conflict resolution as a social practice. They examined the personal dynamics and human
dimension of conflict as it relates to social and environmental policy,
concentrating on communication skills, conflict styles, and the importance of
interests. Both courses alert students
to the emotions and values that emerge in conflicts within their professional
world, highlighting power imbalances and cultural differences in public
Thanks to all the conference
participants for submitting their teaching materials.
About this Newsletter
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Negotiation Journal Welcomes Submissions on Teaching
(a quarterly peer-reviewed journal published by the Program on
Negotiation with Blackwell Publishing) seeks teaching-related article
submissions for its On Teaching section. Submissions on any aspect
of teaching negotiation, mediation, or related topics are welcome. Teaching articles are typically 4,000 - 7,000 words in length. While they
may be theoretical or practical in nature, they should be analytically
rigorous and offer original insights, ideas, and/or research about
teaching negotiation effectively. If you are considering submitting an
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Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (NP@PON)
is dedicated to improving the way people teach and learn about
negotiation. Incorporating and expanding upon the historical mission of
the PON Clearinghouse, NP@PON serves as PON's intellectual focal point
for negotiation education.
NP@PON is involved a range of
activities including research, curriculum development, training, and
networking among those interested in negotiation pedagogy. The formal
mission of NP@PON is to:
- Contribute to the growing field of negotiation pedagogy through research and publications;
both experienced and next-generation negotiation educators through
workshops, idea exchanges, and other educator-focused events;
- Foster connections between communities of negotiation educators and education scholars;
- Develop and distribute teaching materials that are useful in skills-based negotiation instruction;
- Explore and test the application of new technologies to improve teaching and learning about negotiation; and
is led by co-directors Larry Susskind and Michael Wheeler. For more information, please feel free to
PON reach new audiences of negotiation practitioners and students
through workshops, seminars, and other educational activities.