Poverty Curriculum: CMAP


You will receive a copy of the curriculum in a digital format upon purchase. CMAP has been taught in a variety of settings including:

  • career development programs for the underemployed and unemployed
  • homeless shelters
  • drug and alcohol treatment centers
  • centers for victims of family violence
  • community renewal programs
  • programs helping families transition from poverty to self-sufficiency
  • adult education (GED) programs
  • maternity and foster care programs



Conflict Management for Adults in Poverty (CMAP) is a 12-lesson non-profit curriculum designed to equip adults living in poverty with conflict resolution skills. Building on Ruby Payne’s pedagogical philosophies about educating those in poverty, the curriculum uses story-telling, entertaining activities, and casual register (“casual register” is the way people communicate in informal settings) making CMAP accessible to adults from a wide range of educational backgrounds. You will receive a copy of the curriculum in a digital format upon purchase.

What’s Inside

The digital curriculum package is comprised of two parts: the basic curriculum and the executive staff summary.

  • The Basic Curriculum includes 12 one-hour lessons that focus on equipping students to effectively manage conflict in their workplace, neighborhood, and family.
  • The Executive Staff Summary is 3-hour training session to educate the staff on the conflict resolution principles and practices taught in the basic curriculum.  As a result, staff will be equipped to support students/clients in applying the conflict resolution skills.

Table of Contents

Lesson 1: Got Conflict?

Lesson 2: What’s Your Conflict Style?

Lesson 3: Knowing Which Tool to Use

Lesson 4: How to Create a Learning Conversation

Lesson 5: More Skills for Learning Conversations

Lesson 6: Practicing Learning Conversations

Lesson 7: Respect & Disrespect

Lesson 8: Applying Skills to Conflict in the Workplace

Lesson 9: Applying Skills to Conflict in Neighborhoods

Lesson 10: Applying Skills to Conflict in Families – Part 1

Lesson 11: Applying Skills to Conflict in Families – Part 2

Lesson 12: Final Thoughts

Executive Staff Summary – Part 1

Executive Staff Summary – Part 2

Executive Staff Summary – Part 3


CMAP curriculum was developed to address a lack of available resources to teach conflict management to adults in poverty.  This gap in training surfaced when nonprofits serving adults in poverty called on the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution at Abilene Christian University to teach conflict management to their students.  Because the Duncum Center primarily focuses on training college-educated professionals, it did not have resources to teach adults in poverty — most of whom had a high school diploma or less education.  A search for conflict management training materials developed specifically for adults in poverty with a high school diploma or less proved that no such materials existed.  Therefore, grants received from the Community Foundation of Abilene and United Way of Abilene were used to develop the CMAP curriculum.  To test the curriculum, a pilot study was conducted that included nine Abilene nonprofit organizations, all of whom primarily served adults in poverty.  Based on an independent evaluation of the pilot study, CMAP was revised and edited to produce the final version.

A conflict style assessment tool was needed to complete the CMAP curriculum.  The Conflict Assessment Tool (CAT) was developed to provide an instrument in casual register that was user-friendly for adults in poverty.  Three conflict style assessment tools were adapted to develop CAT: Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, Jay Hall’s Conflict Management Survey, and Rahim and Magner’s Style of Handling Interpersonal Conflict. Each instrument measures respondents on five conflict styles: Accommodation, Competition, Avoidance, Compromise, and Collaboration.  The questions on the three instruments listed above were organized by their five factors.  The combined list totaled 84 questions.   The list was reviewed and duplicate themed questions were deleted.  The remaining questions were adapted to casual register and evaluated by a group of adults living in poverty.  These processes delivered a list of 50 questions.


Please contact Lori Anne Shaw at lorianne.shaw@acu.edu.

Special Thanks

Our deepest appreciation to United Way of Abilene and the Community Foundation of Abilene for funding the development of CMAP.


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