“Me to We” – Helping students move from combative to collaborative negotiations

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“Me to We” - Helping students move from combative to collaborative negotiations

Created by Jonathan Rulnick

Brief Description

Target audience: 11-12th Grade, 5 point English students

In arguments and conflicts which arise in the context of school, teen students are often guided by emotions and a desire to win or prove a point (position-based negotiations). In this lesson, students will be given the tools (vocabulary, concepts), practice and motivation to evaluate their everyday interactions and change their approach to one that is collaborative and interest-based. This is an introductory lesson based on the circle of value and exploring how positive relationships and effective communication can move a conversation from “me” to “we” and lead to more productive outcomes. 

The activity will explore 4 areas of conflict familiar to teen students: peer to peer conflict, student to teacher, student to administration and teen-parent. Students will be given a central conflict for each of the 4 areas (for example, a student wanting to stay out late on a school night and a parent opposing this) and role-play with a partner. The first role play will be in the negotiating as bargaining/haggling style. A quick analysis of position versus interest will take place. The second role-play will use the same conflict, this time focusing on the circle of value, specifically exploring interests, brainstorming options, standards of legitimacy


The students will learn the concepts inductively, moving from the role playing in the beginning of the lesson to the presentation of the 7 elements of negotiating at the end.  


Learning Objectives


Primary objectives: 

  • Differentiate between position versus interest 
  • Awareness of how language/framing impact relationships and outcomes
  • Learn vocabulary/phrases (lexical chunks) for effective communication 
  • Practice collaborative problem-solving under pressure
  • Learn and practice elements (interests, options, legitimacy) from the circle of value 
  • Values-based practice for oral bagrut exam (COBE) 


Secondary objectives: 

  • Understand different perspectives and effective listening. 


Lead-in / Preparation / Prerequisite Knowledge


  • 3 envelopes for every pair of students
  • Worksheet 1 (four scenarios) - one copy for every two students. (worksheet 1)
  • Worksheet 2 (based on Pathways Vocab and Sentence Stems 07_29_2019.xlsx) - one copy for every student, cut in strips 
  • Projector
  • [For following lesson. Pathways slides: negotiation as bargaining/haggling and 7 elements of negotiations]


Estimated Class-Time Required


45 minutes


Description of Activities



  1. For every pair of students prepare 3 envelopes. Write on them as follows: Interests, Options, Legitimacy 
  2. Cut Worksheet 2 into lexical chunks/stems. In the “Interests” envelope place the lexical chunks/stems from that group. For the “Options” and “Legitimacy” envelopes, place the appropriate lexical chunks/stems as well.
  3. Assign pairs of students


Warm-up Activity (8 minutes)

  1. Ask students to write on a piece of paper as follows (the teacher can write on the board):




  1. Conduct activity according to instructions in Teacher Worksheet 1.


Main Activity - 4 Scenarios

  1. Divide students into pairs. Each pair should have Student Worksheet 1 (4 scenarios). 
  2.  Have the students read scenario 1. Instruct them that one student in the pair should be Khalid  and the other Ora. They have 2 minutes to role play, each side should try to get what his/her character wants (be respectful).
  3. After times is up, have a brief discussion. What was the tone of the conversation? Did anyone get what their character wanted? 
  4. Introduce concept of position versus interest.

[Can project the MIT explanation, which uses the story of the chefs and oranges: http://web.mit.edu/negotiation/www/NBivsp.html]  

Position = what you want.

Ora’s position is that Khalid should help with slides. Khalid’s position is that Ora should do what she was supposed to do.  

Interest = why you want it. 

Ora’s interest is that Khalid help so that they can complete the project in a timely fashion. Khalid’s is interest in having the project completed, but also in having time to study and sleep. 

  1. Instruct the students to do the roleplay again, this time focusing on common interests. Each student should take a vocabulary stem from the envelope labeled interests (without showing their partner) and incorporate into the roleplay. (2-3 minutes). 
  2. After this round, ask the students if exploring common interests changed the tone of the conversation? Did it help them get a better result? 
  3. Move on to scenario 2. Each student should take a role and a vocabulary stem from both the interests and options envelopes. This time instruct the pairs to read the scenario together, and using the stems in their role-play to generate different options for a solution based on their common interests. (2-3 minutes)
  4. Move on to scenario 3. Each student should take a role and a vocabulary stem from the interests, options and legitimacy envelopes. This time instruct the pairs to read the scenario together using the stems. As in the previous round, they should generate options for solutions based on common interests. But this time they should also explain why the options they are proposed are good ones (legitimacy). (3-4 minutes)
  5. Time permitting, move on to scenario 4. Repeat the steps in scenario 3. (3-4 minutes).
  6.  How did legitimizing your options affect the tone and outcome of your roleplay?



  1. Reflection/Discussion. See below in Reflection.  

Key Vocabulary / Phrases


  • Bargaining/haggling
  • 7 elements of negotiating
  • Worksheet 2 based on Pathways Vocab and Sentence Stems 07_29_2019.xlsx (tab labeled “Stems - circle of value”)




H.W. For each of the 4 scenarios: 

  1. Have students define position versus interest for each character
  2. Describe an outcome that would satisfy both sides interests, and why.





  1. Reflection is built into the activity after each round
  2. At the end of the activity, ask students to explain in their words, what it means to move from “me to we” in negotiations. Why is this important? Name some skills you learned today that can help you with problems/issues/conflicts in school. 



Student worksheet 1, Student worksheet 2, Teacher worksheet 1




In the next lesson, explicitly teach negotiation as bargaining/haggling and the 7 elements of negotiations. Now that the students have done the role-play and tried both approaches, the concepts should be easier to understand.


Attached Files

“Me to We” Student Worksheet 2 - JR.docx.pdfDownload
“Me to We” Worksheet 1 - JR.docx.pdfDownload
“Me to We” Warm-up - JR.docx.pdfDownload