Conflict management strategies of identity-based conflicts among teachers in selected secondary schools in Mumuni zone in Lusaka, district, Zambia.

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Phiri, Bernard
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The University of Zambia
The school community, which stands for education, growth and progress, has its fair share of a variety of conflicts, some of which end in violence. However, despite studies carried out in Zambia pointing to the growing awareness that conflict exits in schools, little seems to have been done to analyse the impact of identity based conflicts in the teaching and learning environment. This study therefore, sought to assess the strategies used by teachers and head teachers in managing identity based conflicts in secondary schools in Mumuni zone in Lusaka Province. The concurrent embedded design of the mixed methods approach was employed with the qualitative approach dominating the study while the quantitative was used to add detail. Data from secondary school teachers were collected using questionnaires while interview guides were used for head teachers. Raw data collected from interviews and questionnaires were analysed using themes and descriptive statistics. The findings of the study clearly suggested that there were many factors that had caused identity conflict amongst teachers and head teachers in schools. Among the causes of identity conflict revealed were; favouritism, differences in perception and prejudice amongst others. In addition, teachers and head teachers expressed a preference for using dialogue, collaboration, compromise and accommodating as conflict management strategies to manage conflict in schools. Furthermore, it was also revealed that measures that can be used to manage identity based conflict include; dialogue, appointment of teachers to higher positions based on fairness not biasness and tribalism, adopting policies that promote gender equality and effective organisational communication within the school. From this study, it was concluded that teachers and head teachers had experienced identity based conflict caused by prejudice, favouritism, tribalism and different levels of educational amongst others. A large number of teachers and head teachers used dialogue, accommodating, compromise and collaboration as conflict management strategies to manage identity based conflict in schools. Therefore, it was recommended that dialogue processes should be strengthened as a strategy to manage identity based conflict. In addition, teachers must appreciate and understand the identity, cultural and background differences in their colleagues in order to reduce on the formation of in-groups and out-groups. Furthermore, there must be effective communication within the school so as to avoid conflict.
Conflict management--Study and teaching. , Identity-based conflicts.