My final project will be titled "The Golden Rule: Ethics of Reciprocity in the Classroom." Using the concept of the Golden Rule (i.e. treat others how we wish to be treated), this curriculum module will identify the following:
Background of the Golden rule - showcasing how it appears in all religions
Lesson plan including the video from Scarboro Missions in Ontario, CA
Discussion of the Golden rule
Analysis including final project - written essay
As I am a college professor, there are no standards that govern our particular curriculum, although we do follow department standards for composition and literature. One of the most important standards outlined by Carter is contextual awareness as most students do not possess this; students tend to see their experience with blinders on as if they are the only ones to have ever gone through such a thing. A knowledge of the past and the needs of those in one's community allow us to become empathetic and concerned citizens; this development creates a world of students who acknowledge their own role in events, both within their community and within the world. I believe that it is an educator's duty to develop contextual awareness so our students have the tools to pull from when faced with conflict.
After taking the test, I discovered that I was a bit of both the Compromising Fox and Accomodating Koala. This result does not surprise me in any way as I am constantly compromising in order to reach my goals and in order to create calm and working relationships; recently, I did this in a committee where I was working with others on a success curriculum. One of the other people on the committee had a strong, grating personality and her voice was always the loudest in the room; rather than face her down, I chose to listen to her and was deferential. I also am an accomodater; I am constantly saying yes to the others, even when it means that my own work or self gets lost. It has become a joke around my work place that when I walk into the room everyone pounces and says "Ellen, can you do this? can you be on this committee?" Part of this comes from my own workaholic tendencies as people know that I will get the work done quickly and concisely; part of this comes from my own need to be liked.
As far as how this affects my teaching, I am probably a pretty easy grader and tend to give my students every opportunity to do well - I don't like due dates and so am very flexible on that end. My students know that I am a sucker for a good story so they are always coming up with reasons why their work is not handed in - this is something I have to work on.
Age: College Freshmen
Discipline: English Literature and Composition
Title: Fairytales and Gender Stereotypes
Synopsis: Students will read the poem "Cinderella" by Anne Sexton, will watch the Disney animated version of Cinderella and will research and read the original version of the story. Once the initial review of the material is done, students will be asked to analyze the way the original has been altered to incorporate the identity of women in America.
Read Ishmael Beah’s “A Long Way Gone.”
After finishing the book, identify and list at least three basic human rights that were violated. Be specific and use quotes from the book to support your list.
How did these violations transform the characters in the book? Discuss and be specific.
Read the UN Declaration on Human Rights. After reading the declaration, write a speech that will be “delivered to the UN Assembly” that discusses the importance of at least one of the basic human rights or freedoms outlined in the declaration. Use specific examples from the book to support the importance of these rights.
An additional lesson plan:
Watch VJ Burman.
Write a letter to your local congressperson referencing the UN Declaration on Human Rights and the rights you saw violated in the film. Identify why it is important to protect these rights; be specific and use support.
From the outset, I make it clear to my students that my classroom will be and is a place of peace. When they enter, I outline what I expect from them and what they can expect from me; I advise them that respect and trust are paramount to a successful writing class due to the fact that writing is such a personal expression of one's thoughts and emotions. If they do not respect me or one another, then we will never be able to have a peaceful co-existence for the 15 week semester. In addition, I do not honor biting comments or a mean, threatening tone and will not allow for belittling of anyone in the room. This clarification of my own personal principles enables them to mirror me and create a true zone of peace.
In order to create a culture of peace at my academic institution, I would most likely rely on Adams' outline as follows:
It is essential that an academic institution work towards a culture of peace; without such an effort, schools will become places of anarchy and violence where no one will feel safe.
Transformation and Physical Peace
Recently I sat on a judicial hearing at the college where I am a professor. One young female student had been physically abused by her girlfriend in the college bookstore. The abuser had bullied the victim into giving up her car keys and when the victim refused, the abuser attempted to strangle her; the victim required medical attention. Many of my students have experienced some form of physical or emotional abuse at the hands of loved ones; this experience either leaves them in a place of disconnect where they become emotionally flat (nearly catatonic) or fearful. I have seen some students actually transform into stronger human beings who learn to fight for their rights while others are unable to move to such a transformation. Using this example, I would argue that the aspect of transformative peace education that most applies to my students is:
“Spiritual Underpinnings: In this context, spirituality is the search for meaning in life. Many people have religious and spiritual beliefs and values that are central to how they deal with conflict, and we need to acknowledge and incorporate these ideas into how we educate for peace. Furthermore, peace, like spirituality, should be a thread that runs across the whole of education – classroom, recreation, and one-on-one interactions.”
In order to teach my students how to obtain physical and spiritual peace, I must start with them before I can move on to their family, community and world. They must recognize that peace and an escape from violence will come once they understand how to negotiate with an abuser, how to handle conflict when presented with the situation and how to ask for assistance when they need same. Transformation can not occur until one is given the tools to transform.
Peace Education is about empowering people with the skills, attitudes, and knowledge:
*to build, maintain, and restore relationships at all levels of human interaction.
*to develop positive approaches towards dealing with conflicts -from the personal to the international.
*to create safe environments, both physically and emotionally, that nurture each individual.
*to create a safe world based on justice and human rights.
*to build a sustainable environment and protect it from exploitation and war.
Peace education is based on a philosophy that teaches nonviolence, love, compassion, trust, fairness, cooperation and reverence for the human family and all life on our planet.
Skills include communication, listening, understanding different perspectives, cooperation, problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, conflict resolution, and social responsibility.
Peace education leads to peaceful living.
Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace
Based on this introduction, what benefits can you imagine peace education bringing to your classroom, school, or community?
The college where I teach is incredibly diverse; we have students from Iraq, Pakistan, India, Korea, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia. These students all have very unique belief systems that have been built by their society, their culture and their parents. Each student has been molded into a person that has morals and values that may be set. One of the most important roles that I can play as an educator is to open the eyes and minds of my students to new cultural and societal beliefs; peace education (when defined broadly) can help educators do exactly this. A wonderful example of the benefits of such a curriculum occurred during an Advanced Diversity Weekend that I was a faculty advisor for. We brought together 50 students from diverse cultural, social, gender and religious backgrounds. Each student entered the room with their own predefined ideas. We placed the students in small groups of ten and then proceeded to ask specific questions in order to faciliate their own analytical process - what do they believe? why do they believe these things? how do these beliefs cut them off from others? how do these beliefs cause conflict? how can they change or alter these beliefs? By the end of the dialogue, students who had never spoken were engaged in conversation; this is a tiny example of how peace education can work.