We can see that the conflict in Anna’s tutorial has got to a point where she is extremely frustrated.

Let’s look more closely at what is going on for Anna.

Let’s have a look at Anna’s story and see if we can identify the facts, the feelings and what’s really important for her.

1. What are the facts?
What does Anna actually know?
  • Jessie talks a lot during the tutorial
  • The class doesn’t get through all the material they’re meant to during the tutorial
  • Jessie is the first one to put her hand up when the tutor asks a question
  • The tutor doesn’t manage the conversation if it goes off topic
What has she assumed?
  • Every time Jessie answers a question it trails off to something Anna feels is irrelevant
  • The tutor doesn’t care when this happens
What evidence does she have?
  • Not everyone gets a chance to speak during the tutorial
  • The subject outline stating what material should be covered in each tutorial
Could anyone else have other information that might change things?

(Remember: other classmates or people involved may interpret the same information differently based on their own particular personality and experiences.)

  • What information might her class mates have? (for example, some students may find Jessie’s comments interesting and some students may be happy not talking in the tutorial)
  • What information might her tutor have?
  • Is there anyone else relevant to the situation who may have information? (lecturer, student administration staff, head of school, library staff, etc.)

Next consider what feelings are involved in the conflict.

2. What is Anna feeling?
  • The situation is really annoying her
  • She is angry
  • She is worried that there might be something on the exam that was supposed to be covered in the tutorial

It is useful to figure out how you are feeling when you are in conflict as it can help you understand what is really important to you. What you’re feeling and how strongly you’re feeling it may also influence the choices you make.

3. What’s really important?

Sometimes people get focused on a particular outcome and don’t realise that it is not actually the most important thing to them. A useful question to ask yourself is “why do I want this particular outcome?”

For example, Anna wants to cover the material stated in the subject outline in the tutorial, but if we asked her to explain why she wanted that, she might have reasons such as:

  • She has a part time job and limited time to study
  • She needs to pass this subject because it’s a pre-requisite for a second semester subject
  • Tutorial participation is graded and she wants a reasonable grade
  • She has had a similar experience in another class and wants this year to be different

We have put together a worksheet that you can use to get clearer about what’s going on? in your own conflict.