“Does CRE/SEL/PE Make a Difference? Proven Benefits of Conflict
Resolution and Peace Education”
Presentation by Tricia S. Jones, Ph.D.,
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (USA), for the Western European
Conference on the Role of NGOs and Civil Society in the Prevention of
Armed Conflict, Dublin, Ireland, March 31-April 2, 2004.
General Reviews of CRE and/or Peace Education Literature
CRE and SEL:
Education in Our Nation’s Schools
. Washington, DC: The Conflict Resolution Education
Network (now the Association for Conflict Resolution). (Available through
This volume summarizes the results of the CRE research symposia and white papers sponsored
by the United States Department of Education and convened by the Conflict Resolution
Education Network. The purpose of the symposium was to examine the results of current research
and evaluation of school-based conflict resolution education (CRE) programs (kindergarten - 12
grades) in relation to identified needs of educators. The research summaries focused on five topic
areas: impacts on students, impacts on educators/teachers, impacts on diverse student
populations, impact on school climate and issues of institutionalization. The research on the
effects of CRE on students is by far the most substantive. The major findings from the research
regarding CRE and the effects on students demonstrate that CRE programs increase:
achievement, positive attitudes toward school, assertiveness, cooperation, communication skills,
healthy interpersonal/inter-group relations, constructive CR at home and school, and self-control.
Research also suggests that CRE decreases: aggressiveness, discipline referrals, drop-out rates,
social withdrawal, suspension rates, victimized behavior, and violence.
In terms of impact on
educators there is little research on the effects of CRE on teachers. While we assume that training
teachers how to train/teach students CRE improves the teachers’ use of CRE this is not proven.
There is substantial evidence that CRE positively impacts school climate in terms of reducing
disciplinary actions and suspensions, improving school climate (especially for elementary
schools) and improving classroom climate.
Unfortunately, there is very little research on the impacts of CRE on diverse populations.
Measures of success do not include diversity-relevant outcomes (impact on inter-group relations
or community harmony is largely ignored) and issues of class or socioeconomic status receive
very little attention. However, there is evidence that CRE programs that focus on systemic bias or
include “contact theory” can improve inter-group relations and promote just communities.
There are several general criticisms of the research on CRE. Few CRE program