Call it logical.
That's all we're doing when we tell Johnnie and Lisa to play on opposite ends of the playground.
Call it avoidance of the real issue.
It's the same thing we do when the bell dings at the end of a boxing round. The athletes are instructed to go to their separate corners.
Call it law and order.
Call it what you want, but it still doesn't teach those children (We're really not talking about chemicals or boxers here.) solve their issues or reach any conclusions.
Yet we keep up the mantra: Today, I will resolve conflicts. Over and over, we say it. We say to a kid, "You need to figure out how to get along!" Yet, we leave out the coaching part of that statement. Is a child really expected to figure out how to get along, or could it be in the parent/teacher job descriptions to teach the skills and/or steps to getting along.
When a child has difficulty with math or reading, a teacher may differentiate instruction to address the deficiency. When a kid is failing to understand an athletic strategy, the coach may pull him aside for some one-on-one conversation. But when the same child has trouble with behavior, our response might be to send her to the hallway, separate him from the issue, get him out of the setting that gives him troubles. We change the seating chart to avoid two feuding syndicates from clashing on neutral ground.
Yet the problem is still there during unstructured times.
And we wonder why they can't just grow up or figure it out.
I like to stick those kids right next to each other. Yes, there is value in having a child figure some things out for themselves, but we do so in a structured setting. We get things out into the open. We charge students with the task of doing something together, talking together, and yes, getting along. No one wants to feel angry, and sitting two people together with alternating points of view might just spark the conversation that needs to take place.
We hear about positive relationship building, but how can that ever be achieved when we tell one guy to go left and another to go right. Don't talk to each other. Don't play with each other, we tell them, and we never tell them that we know they can fix their relationship on their own with some thought and practice. It is high time we, as educators, face the traffic head on and stop retreating. How ever one feels about immigration and building a wall on the Mexican border, we must not continue to build walls in our schools by separating kids just because they experience a spat with another.