Six-Step Problem Solving – Role play

Stage of the project

Working Phase – Non-Violent Communication/Conflict Management


  • to orientate participants toward a structured way of resolving interpersonal conflict


  • Group size: from 5 to 20
  • 2 volunteers (for the role play)

Learning Outcome

  • Non-violent alternatives to solve a conflict
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Non-violent communication skills



Two volunteers need to be chosen among the participants to role play a conflict (an argument over a book, film, song; a controversy over an outfit; a conflict over a topical issue…). It is important that the two “actors” don’t reach a solution.


Once the role play is finished, the trainer can start with the six-step problem solving process, by asking them some questions.

Identify Needs

Question 1. What is it that you need/want?

This question is addressed to the two “actors”; they should answer without accusing/blaming each other.

Define the problem

Question 2. How do you see the problem?

This question is addressed to the entire group of participants; the group can help give a response based on the needs of the two persons in conflict, but without blaming one or another. The 2 “actors” should agree with the definition of the problem.

Brainstorm on possible solutions

Question 3. Who can think of a way to solve this problem?

This question is addressed to the entire group of participants; anyone can give a possible solution; the aim of this step is to collect as many solutions as possible and the solutions should be written down.

Evaluation of the solutions

Question 4. Would you be happy with this solution?

This question is addressed to the two “actors”;

The two “actors” are asked to go through the list of possible solutions and explain which ones acceptable and which ones are not.

Decision on the solution

Question 5. Do you both agree to this solution? Is the problem solved?

This question is addressed to the two “actors”; Make sure both parties agree and acknowledge their efforts in working out the solution.

Check the solution

Give 10 minutes to the group to talk about the chosen solution, if it really solves the problem, if everyone agrees on the solution.

(Optional) split the participants in groups of 4 people to role play the solution in different situations.


Conclude the activity by reflecting on our reactions to one another when there are differences between us, and the importance of looking for peaceful solutions instead of blaming others. Focus on the importance of cooperation and peaceful conflict management and non-violent communication.


Adapted from:   Learning to Live Together – An Intercultural and Interfaith Programme for Ethics Education, Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children, Global Network of Religions for Children, Arigatou Foundation, UNICEF, UNESCO