Conflicts are a normal and sometimes painful aspect of all areas of life. Developing as many skills as possible to deal with interpersonal challenges and differences is a must for all professionals who deal with people – it is essential for teachers and not systematically part of teacher education.

My name is Thomas Riedmuller. I’m a mediator and conflict resolution educator – I’m passionate about both education in general and peace and conflict education in particular. I work regularly with families, individuals, groups and communities – I have many years experience in both formal and informal settings.

I believe that advanced communication skills contribute to healthy social interactions and reduce the incidence of bullying and other disruptive behaviour. Learning and practising these skills requires a certain commitment to personal development. This goes beyond implementing policies and programmes. Learning about conflict resolution, negotiation and other leadership skills is very rewarding for the individual and brings huge benefits to the community. It is about creating and maintaining communities of care wherever we take responsibility for young people – and people of all ages. I am convinced that teachers have a task that is both beautiful and difficult. I also believe that teachers are often under-supported. They deserve more opportunities for reflection and for personal development.

This is important for serving children, their parents and our communities. It is not just a subject for SPHE teachers and guidance counsellors. It is indeed of crucial importance for everybody in a teaching role.

I am a member of the Teaching Council. I have taught teacher trainings and worked with both primary and secondary school students since 2002. I am also a certified member of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland and mediate in situations of high conflict.