After having watched the film “Neighbours” by Norman McLaren the students get familiar with seven stages of conflict escalation. In a discussion they identify conflict situations out of their own experiences and analyse these conflicts according to the seven stages.


  • to introduce the concept of conflict escalatory dynamics and stages in conflict escalation
  • to depict why it is important to be aware of these stages
  • to identify reasons of escalation
  • to handle conflict situations by understanding the psychological impact of the different stages of conflict escalation

Material needed

  • Laptop with internet access
  • Video projector
  • Screen or large TV
  • Flipchart and paper
  • Markers
  • Pin board
  • Pins


Get familiar with the short film “Neighbours” and check all the material needed. Prepare a poster with the following message:

If not resolved and well managed, conflicts have the tendency to escalate, blow up and explode! They usually start from minor disagreements and may lead to crisis. The conflict theories say that conflict escalation happens in several stages. Understanding of these stages can help us deal with the conflict on time and prevent violence.

Copy the seven stages of conflict escalation (see the annex) either on a poster or into a PPP.

Step by step description

  1. Introduce the students to the topic by presenting the poster.
  2. Then watch the film “Neighbours” (8 min) by Norman McLaren (see further tips and resources). Ask the students to observe how the conflict escalated. Afterwards they are invited to give a short feedback to the story.
  3. Present the seven stages of conflict escalation (see the annex) and ask the students to transfer the stages to the story of the film.
  4. Invite the students to come up with different conflict situations which they encountered in the past (school, family, community etc.). Make notes on the flipchart and ask the students to analyse these conflicts according to the seven stages.

Reflection with the students / questions for debriefing

  • Did you like the film? Why or why not?
  • What did you learn during this lesson?
  • Are there any strategies which are helpful to solve conflicts?

Suggestions for adaptations and variations

Before dealing with the stages in conflict escalation dedicate one lesson to the question “What is a conflict” (see e.g. the activity “A Chairy Tale”).

Reference / original source of the method

This method was developed by Darko Marković and introduced at the „Learning Ocean“ during the aces Kick-Off Meeting 2010 in Senec, Slovakia.

Further tips and resources

Film „Neighbours“:

Conflict theory:

Annex: Stages in Conflict Escalation