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Negotiating Win-Win Solutions

This modelling the tools is incorporated into critical challenges at grade 10, however, it can be adapted for use at all grade levels.


Session Three

Identify stakeholders' interests.

  • As a way of preparing students to negotiate solutions to the issues facing the rain forest, invite them to represent, graphically, the various stakeholders' interrelated interests. Create five labelled circles on the board using Web of Interests as a template. If you want students to develop their own web with a partner, distribute an enlarged copy (11" x 17 ") of this web to each pair of students. Refer students to the press releases from the previous challenge to help them recall each stakeholder group's interests. Record the interests in keywords around the outside of the relevant stakeholder circle. It should become obvious that shareholders share overlapping interests; e.g., money, preservation of forests.

Web impact of actions.

  • Next, focus students' attention on each stakeholder's plans—what the group has done, is currently doing or proposes to do—and the anticipated impact of these actions on the other stakeholders. Here again, the press releases are a source of each stakeholder group's plans; e.g., ban all logging, turn land into reserves, sell land to environmentalists. Create a web by drawing lines from the stakeholder recommending a particular action to all the other groups' interests that will be affected by this proposal. An action that adversely affects another group's interests should be represented with a red or a thick line; an action that positively affects another group's interests should be represented with a blue or a dotted line. Label each line with a few words to indicate the action it represents; e.g., ban logging. For example, the Brazilian government's proposed plan to increase natural resource development in order to pay its international debt might be represented as follows:
    • a blue or dotted line from Government to Peasants (jobs) because resource development leads to more jobs for poor Brazilians
    • a blue or dotted line from Government to Multinational Companies (money) because resource development leads to greater profits for international companies
    • a red or thick line from Government to Peasants (social security) because use of the money to pay down the debt has hampered Brazil 's ability to provide social services
    • red or thick lines from Government to Indigenous Peoples and Environmentalists (preservation of the forest) because large scale development has led to damage to the rain forest.

Debrief the web.

  • After a number of the proposed actions have been connected to the interests they impact, invite students to comment on the emergent web of interests. Draw out the interrelation of interests and the seemingly offsetting disadvantages for each action.

Introduce win-win solutions.

  • Introduce a win-win habit of mind by inviting the two prearranged groups of students to dramatize the discussion about the use of the new sports equipment. Begin with the group that is focused exclusively on its own interests. After both groups have presented, discuss with the class the differences between the two role-plays. Point out, as illustrated by the first dramatization, that people often focus exclusively on their own interests. The goal usually is to win. Point out how everyone is a winner in the second role-play. Indicate that Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, uses the term "think win-win" to describe a mindset that looks for solutions where everyone gains. Write the term "win-win" on the board and explain three obstacles to thinking win-win:
    • people focus only on their own interests
    • people do not understand other people's positions
    • people believe that they necessarily lose something if other people gain anything.
    Illustrate the merits of adopting a win-win mindset by contrasting the two dramatizations and discussing the benefits of the second group's solutions; e.g., getting grade levels to play together, staggering recess and lunch times, collecting money so each grade would have its own equipment. Indicate that students will soon be asked to develop win-win solutions to problems involving the Brazilian rain forest.
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Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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