Excited to spend more time virtually together - Peace education is a true interest of mine!
Quoted from Stephanie Knox Cubbon, written on 2011-01-06 21:03:22
Quoted from Glen Moriarty, written on 2010-12-17 00:43:29 Please tell us more about yourself. We are here to help and want to connect you with others who share your interests. Thanks! --------
My name is Stephanie and I'm the Peace Education Program Coordinator at TWB. I am taking the course to learn more about the CTM and to enhance my skills as an educator. I currently live in San Diego, USA. I am looking forward to meeting you and discussing the material with you!
As I teach 5 classes a semester, my classroom changes depending upon the class. I could be in a classroom that has not been updated since the late 70s and does not have any technology in it (meaning I would have to move a cart with me). I could be in a new classroom in the tech building that has all bells and whistles but also gives each student a computer which can serve as a huge distraction. I could be in a standard classroom in Ender Hall, one of the furthest buildings away from my office, which means a 2 mile walk each way. As I hold my office hours in my office, a room I share with four other English professors, I consider that a classroom as well; it is filled to the brim with all of our books and personal items and at times can look like the home of a hoarder gone wild. However, the best classroom is one that is filled with students who are engaged and enthusiastic no matter what the room itself physically looks like.
Your cockroach story reminds me of something that happened in my evening class last semester. We were in one of the buildings furthest from the main part of campus; it holds the horticulture department and so there are a ton of plants. My class was in the midst of a discussion about the very boring literature of Puritanical leader William Bradford when all of a sudden I noticed some of the students staring at the middle of the floor. Right down the middle of the room was strolling an incredibly large spider - it was strange and funny.
I would love to hear about your peace education program - I have spent the last year working with the Dalai Lama Foundation on their Peace and Ethics Study Circle Program.
Quoted from Stephanie Knox Cubbon, written on 2011-01-11 23:45:55
My "classroom" right now is largely virtual, as I engage with people from around the world in peace education. I also have the chance to travel to schools to work with teachers. Last month, my classroom was in a charter high school in San Diego. Next week, it will be in a school across the border in Tijuana. Soon we will be launching the peace education program online, and my classroom will again be Nixty.
I appreciate the online learning environment for all the great opportunities it affords. It allows us to have this class right now, and it allows me to connect with people in faraway places on issues of peace and justice in education. Sometimes I miss person-to-person interaction, though. Luckily I am able to have that through local workshops.
I do miss teaching in a classroom setting. My last classroom was in Costa Rica. It was a very small room in a private language school. The room was so small that a class of 10 or 12 students was overcrowded. It is always hot and humid in Costa Rica, and was always more hot and humid in the classroom! We had one small fan but it did not do much to provide relief from the heat. Bugs would also often find there way into the room, sometimes even a cockroach. We would always laugh about it though - as they say in Costa Rica, "pura vida" ("pure life" in Spanish).
Right now I can't even imagine what is going to happen on Monday but I will try to envision the future. Unfortunately, the way that things are going in the US (especially NY and NJ), I think that American education may be moving towards a system of teaching to the test and a system made up primarily of private charter schools. The original intent of the US public school system is clearly one that no longer exists; rather, the divide between rich and poor systems grows larger and will continue to grow. More and more teachers are being vilified as the reason education is failing and with this vilification comes the notion that teachers should be paid based upon performance. While I agree that there should be a measure of our salary attached to our performance, my fear is that the future of education is one where teachers will only be concerned with ensuring that their students succeed on state tests and not as human beings or citizens of the world. Teachers, if forced to worry that they will not be paid if their students perform poorly on state tests, will stop concerning themselves about new methods of teaching, about the creation of an educational system that educates all to be questioning participants in the world around them; instead, teachers will be robotic worker bees who will push their students to memorize rather than analyze.
Take a look at my blog where I put up some pictures of where I teach!
If curriculum is boring, a student will not be engaged. In addition, if an educator continues to teach the same material year after year, the educator will become bored and that will filter through to the classroom. Personally, I change my curriculum on a yearly basis so that I, and my students, are challenged and don't become stagnant. With technology, things, including writing and reading, are changing so quickly, that an educator needs to remain on top of these changes; one semester you could use a text book that could become out of date the next semester.
I tell my students at the beginning of each semester when I hand them their syllabus that I may, at times, go off syllabus based upon world events and developments. For instance, last semester Obama held the Community College Summit which focused on the important work done and to be done by community colleges so I spent some time focused on the issues that students and educators in this area face.
Last year I had a class with two incredibly disruptive male students; when they attended class, the entire class was chaotic and unteachable. After banging my head against the wall for a week, I decided to rethink my entire curriculum for the class and simply taught in a visual way using drama, film and television. Rather than assign readings that I knew they wouldn't do, I created an online wiki with readings from the Internet, showed them television shows that they had to write about and films that they had to critique. They also had to perform work in front of the class - this overcame the disruption quickly and effectively.
One of the biggest issues we face in community colleges is fear and flight, especially with foreign and adult students. Many foreign students come to community college with little English practice and quickly become terrified of speaking or even writing in class. To overcome this, I spend extra time with these students and try to tailor projects that allow them to focus on ideas rather than grammar or mechanics with the goal of creating a self confident student.
Adult students tend to be those who have faced loss of job and are being retrained (in New Jersey, unemployment will pay for you to go to community college for retraining). They enter college, after being out for years or never having attended, with incredible fear of failure. In addition,they feel out of place as they are older then their classmates and have different goals and objectives. Lifestyle also is a huge concern as jobs, children and spouses can conflict with school. Accordingly, these students have an incredibly high dropout rate due to be fear and flight. Last semester, I started an oline POD for adult students in an attempt to create some type of online community for support; surprisingly, few of the students interacted on the site and it proved a failure.
One way to minimize these issues is to create engaged curriculum with thematic approach that has real world context (curriculum as context); students need to see that what they are learning actually applies to the world outside of academia in order to feel the importance of their education. School should not simply be a planet unto itself with no recognition of the world beyond but rather we need to create a constructivist classroom where we recognize what our students know and what they need to know.
So true Eliana - sometimes textbooks just do not fit the needs of a class; I find myself using less and less of the textbook and more online material.
I hope you are well and safe in Tunisia considering the current political crisis
Quoted from Salima Baltagi, written on 2011-01-11 20:15:29
The school where I actually teach is the oldest school in Tunisia,it was built 136 years ago ,it has a magnificient traditional architecture yet it is a pioneer school in terms of equipment and furniture , it has very big classrooms equipped with modern computers . My pupils enjoy learning in this environment and once a week we have either a project work presentation or a film to watch.
I ask all of the students to set up a Twitter account and then to follow me; once this is done, I then begin to tweet them questions about the week's reading which they then have to answer on a discussion board on Blackboard (what we use for our courses). It is a very easy way to ensure that they are reading and getting their work done. As far as the wiki, you can create a wiki at wikispaces.com for free. I use the wiki for annotated bibliographies or for threaded discussions as it is easy to edit.
As I read all of your wonderful and brilliant posts, I am struck at one similar train of thought that runs throughout our posts/blogs and that is to be the best educator we can be. This has led me to think that maybe there is a way to continue this incredible dialogue with our own students in our own parts of the world - an initial thought is to possibly create some sort of project that we can work on (TWB might be able to help?).
I am curious about technology and its role in everyone's classroom as I have been looking at the issue of digital divide globally. Do you all have access to technology? If yes, how? If not, does this cause a challenge?
Great article - there was an interesting piece on Gawker.com about the state of public colleges in the US. More and more graduating high school students are applying to public colleges due to the economy and yet the states are cutting budgets. It is nice to see that there is a positive slant on this.
I have been working on a program that would recycle old computers here in America and then disseminate them across the world where needed but am really concerned that this program would prove ineffective as many areas lack electricity. Thoughts?
The move in America is to test, test and test; when these tests come back with poor performance, schools want to blame the teachers. In fact, there has been a strong move towards paying teachers based upon their students' performance. The problem with this is that we teach students with various strengths and weaknesses which may cause them to test poorly. Even when you focus on teaching for the test, you can not determine who will/will not test well; if your salary is based upon this it could leave a teacher feeling very frustrated and worthless. Evaluation and assessment must be based upon the whole student.
Assessment literacy means being able to understand different forms of assessment, being able to identify which forms work in your classroom and being able to edit such assessments in a fluid manner. While many educators may claim to be assessment literate because they have a rubric attached to their syllabus, this is simply one part of the equation. Assessment literacy occurs when a teacher conveys in a clear way what is required of the student, conveys what works in the student's assignment and what needs to be revised and listens to the students concerns and questions. My department focuses a great deal on assessment (we spent three days last year in a summit on the topic) and are quite aware of the issues surrounding the topic; writing and reading educators need to be literate when it comes to assessment due to the subjective nature of grading writing. One needs to truly be able to express to students how they will be graded.
This is a really interesting question and one that I focus on a great deal with my second language speakers. These students tend to enter the classroom fearful as they speak English with difficulty; they are reticent to interact in class and are continuosly disclaiming their work. I have tried to let them text me during class (questions or statements) so that they can feel that they are part of the experience - sometimes this works, sometimes it does not. In addition, I spend a great deal of time with them outside of class going over their work and building a sense of confidence. For my other students, I tend to ask open ended questions and look around the room waiting for response - again this works at times and fails other times. Students must be given a sense of comfort and respect or they will not be engaged and visible; rather, they will hide in their seats with a look of terror on their faces. An educator must try to draw out each student so that their voices can be heard = this means creating different instruments of assessment so that students who learn in various ways can be challenged and be visible.
One of the biggest problems where I teach is that they have yet to define a school culture that is cohesive. Since we are divided into schools (School of English, School of Education, etc), each school tends to have its own culture that identifies their focus and expertise. For instance, my school (English) tends to be very focused on moving from developmental to advanced studies with a strong focus on composition skills. The math department, however, focuses solely on developmental math for the majority of their students. This divide across disciplines can mean that it is impossible to create effective co-teaching models and that departments hold tight to their respective courses.
As far as the college as a whole, the culture has become one of distrust between faculty and administration. Personally, I have never had any issue from administrators and tend to work on many committees with them; however, many faculty find that administrators do not have any concern for our work schedules, our needs or our students. Accordingly, the culture has become so antagonistic as to leave one frustrated. It is essential that we begin to fix these divisions so our students do not suffer from what has become a rather over blown "pissing" contest between grown ups.
I teach community college (freshman and sophomore) with a wide range developmentally (some are on 7th grade reading levels whereas some are at college level). The competencies that they would need are:
In addition, students must be engaged, active learners (project based learning) and teachers must scaffold peace education so that it is ongoing, continuous building.
Currently I integrate critical peace education in my classes by introducing reading centered around genocide, beginning with the Holocaust and push students to go back in history to identify the actual structures at work that allow for genocide. Much like Wulf's theory explored in the reading, my students are asked to look at the historical context so that they may begin to understand how hate begins (i.e. advertising, newspaper comics, speeches), how war/conflict broadens (i.e. Rwandan radio announcements concerning "cockroaches), and how governments fuel such conflicts (i.e. media's manipulation of words). Since the outbreak of America's intervention in Iraq, it has been paramount to discuss with my student's various written interpretations of the war including books, journal and news articles and editorials; for instance, we read alot of NY Times editorials (Nicholas Kristof) to identify the local impact of the global conflict - this has hit home recently when we had Army recruiters on campus.
I would like to see more literature that anthologizes works that are focused specifically on peace.
While I would love to live in a world where no arms existed, I have to agree with Andrew that this is not a practical notion. Conflict, whether verbal or physical, has been such a part of our existence that it would take a significant reworking of the past and the present to create a culture that believes armaments are evil. I think of my own children; when my son was young, he was intrigued with swords and sabers - much of this interest came from his obsession with Star Wars. How can one create a culture of peace when children see their film heroes engaged in violent action with weapons? Although we teach our children that conflict should be resolved with compromise and negotiation, we still find that violence is rewarded (the recent Teen Mom2 fight that was videotaped and sold).
In addition, the fear of war may act to insure peace. When human beings live in a world where the threat of violence is real, they may be apt to work towards non-violence.
Hmmm...I actually do a bit of disarmament education using the graphic novels of Joe Sacco. Sacco is a photo journalist who writes/draws graphic novels about areas of conflict incuding Palestine, Bosnia and Burma. Although his work does not specifically deal with disarmament, they are great sources for initiating discussion on the topic in a sensitive and unique way. Many of my students have been in the military and accordingly they have very defined views that span from "arms are necessary" to "no one should have a gun." Accordingly our conversations about the military can be quite heated especially if there are peace activists in the room.
Another lesson I have used is one on Burma. I show them a film about the current conflict (VJ Burma is excellent) and discuss why arms were used against peace loving Monks. This really showcases the harm that armed militia can do to peaceful citizens and the students can emphatize with the monks.
As far as video games, I believe that kids become desensitized; it is essential that parents discuss the games with their children early on.
Certain human rights should be universal in nature including the four freedoms as identified in the UN Declaration on Human rights - freedom of speech, belief, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Of course, the reality is that these freedoms/rights are subjective to the countries enforcing them. For instance, freedom of speech in Burma may be defined the current ruling party as freedom to repeat those statements disseminated by those in power (versus activists). Freedom of belief in Nazi Germany did not include the freedom to be Jewish; freedom from want continues to be a dream in areas such as Darfur and freedom from fear is simply a hope in Nepal. How can we police these human rights? We would need an international force that can and will sanction those that violate these rights (i.e. Ghaddafi) without regard for politics or desire.
A global citizen is one who recognizes that boundaries are simply theoretical, that there is a world outside of their particular community and that they are part of that larger world. Global citizens are able to identify with those from different communities as part of the human race and are able to understand that many issues concern all of us.
In order to promote global citizenship, an instructor must teach students to identify with others outside of their area, to understand that all humans, wherever they may live, need basic rights and freedoms and to analyze issues from a larger perspective. This semester I addressed the issue of human trafficking with my students by introducing them to the issue on a local level first and then broadening it to the larger global issues; this allowed them to first comprehend how it effects their own neighborhood and then how it effects the world.
I identify with many different cultures including the Jewish culture as that is my background. The Jewish culture is steeped in tradition including the foods eaten, the spiritual practice, the languages used and the sense of identity. Much of our identity comes out of the experience of the Holocaust which left us a people who feel that they must fight for their homeland (Israel) and their identity; what becomes problematic is that many of us believe that the Palestinians should have a homeland but we are looked at as turning our back on our culture. What I love the most about the culture is the sense of Tikkun Olam - the idea that by doing one good deed we can change the entire world.
The other culture I identify with is Shinnyo-en Buddhist culture. I have practiced this for 6 months and have become a believer in the power of chanting within a larger community, the concept of peaceful interaction and the sense of doing what is morally right.
I teach American Ethnic Literature which focuses on literary works by immigrants so there is a strong multicultural element. At the beginning of the semester, I attempt to define what multiculturalism is and then showcase the various forms we will look at including Arab American, Jewish American, Irish American, Italian American and others. The emphasis is on the ways that identity and background help define an author's work - an example is the work of Saheir Hammad, a Palestinian American whose poetry deals with the stereotypes assigned to Arabs in America after 9/11. The students are then asked to write a final work of fiction based upon their families own immigrant experience - to do this they must interview family members, research the experiences of their particular cultural group and then write a 20 page work.
I also went to an all women's college (Smith College) and believe that shaped my view that women can do anything; this can be problematic in society as not all people believe this is the case. In my classroom and in my life as a mother of a boy and a girl, I try to showcase the reality that men and women are different in many ways but that we can work towards a place of equality within the classroom. This can be done by refusing to allow any stereotypes to enter the room, refusing to adjust one's own thinking to gender and teaching students that respect for all is paramount. It is also important to be honest and advise students that the world does identify men and women differently and that it will be up to them to create a world where such distinction ceases to exist.
One of the biggest issues currently facing communities that sit on the Hudson River in NY is fracking - the attempt by gas companies to drill under the river for natural gas. This issue was recently explored in Josh Fox's amazing documentary Gasland. Recently, there has been a great deal of concern that fracking will leave our water supply at risk for toxic buildup thus leaving citizens at serious risk for illness; NY's water supply has always been considered one of the best in the country and fracking would destroy that.
I have been active locally as a MoveOn.org Regional Coordinator and have been working with local groups to educate and inform citizens about the issues surrounding this complex problem.
Unfortunately my ecological footprint is quite large; I have been aware of this for some time and although I have attempted to lessen our use of energy and recycle more, I am afraid that I have hardly made a dent. One of the largest issues is that I commute to NJ from NY via car and there is simply no public transportation that would get me to my job; accordingly, I daily leave footprints as I drive back and forth two hours a day. Not only does this use a great deal of gas but it also leaves emission in the air. I would love to be able to change this!
This is a very interesting question for me - currently I sit on the Judicial Board where I teach and we are seeing more and more conflict between students. This conflict can be minimal (yelling) or serious (one student actually kidnapped another at gunpoint) but what runs through all of the conflicts is the lack of resources or tools. Students have not been taught how to resolve conflict in a non violent way; rather,they have simply mirrored what they see around them in their homes or communities; fighting is the only way they know. At the beginning of a semester I outlined how I will run my class and discuss conflict resolution. I tell the students that I am a peaceful person who can not stand yelling or disrespect and then I advise them that the only way I will engage is when there is calm, thoughtful interaction. Of course, I must then practice what I preach!
To teach from a peace education perspective is to recognize the importance of conflict resolution, of engaging students in global concern (holism) and creation of value oriented curriculum. I use peace education pedagogy in pretty much everything I teach, whether it is American Ethnic Lit or World Lit before 1880. Recently, I decided to teach Gilgamesh in the Fall; this epic piece tells the story of a tyrant who rules his kingdom with an iron fist. It is truly a metaphor for our times with its discussion of war, of the need for glory and of the nature of man. One of the most important elements of pedagogy for me is values or ethical formation through dialogue. Dialogue is truly the best means to engage and force students to question their own views on issues, to allow a recognition that some views may need to evaluated and changed and to create a sense of community.
Someone who I identify with is Nicholas Kristof; although he would not be considered a typical peacemaker, he uses his words to fight for the rights of those without voices. His recent pieces on Egypt and Libya allowed me to visualize the fight of citizens for their rights and gave me a first hand seat to the ability of each person to change the world. The Dalai Lama has been an incredible influence on me as well. For the last three years, I have had the enormous luck to sit on the Education Board of his foundation and have worked on numerous projects including a Peace Circle for inmates. His continued fight for the people of Nepal, in the face of incredibly adversity, showcases his strength, his inner peace and his ability to make others feel that they too can find such will. Peacemakers are those who do, rather than simply speak; they do not consider what may happen to their own being but rather are so disgusted by the conflict around them that they must act.
Hi everyone! My name is Ellen Rosner Feig and I will be one of the facilitators of the course. I am a professor of Composition and Literature at Bergen Community College in New Jersey where I also run an Awareness and Action Initiative for the Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation. I look forward to learning more about all of you.
Hi everyone! My name is Ellen Rosner Feig and I will be one of the facilitators of the course. I am a professor of Composition and Literature at Bergen Community College in New Jersey where I also run an Awareness and Action Initiative for the Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation. I look forward to learning more about all of you.
Hi everyone! My name is Ellen Rosner Feig and I will be one of the facilitators of the course. I am a professor of Composition and Literature at Bergen Community College in New Jersey where I also run an Awareness and Action Initiative for the Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation. I look forward to learning more about all of you.
Hi everyone! My name is Ellen Rosner Feig and I will be one of the facilitators of the course, specifically for Group B. I am a professor of Composition and Literature at Bergen Community College in New Jersey where I also run an Awareness and Action Initiative for the Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation. I look forward to learning more about all of you.
What a wonderful group! Please feel free to send me any questions you may have - I am here to assist you.
As many of you come from areas that have experienced conflict, I find your definitions quite interesting. Do you believe that peace education could potentially lead to an end of conflict?
Recently I had the chance to hear the Dalai Lama speak and he noted that the world will never be able to have peace until each human being finds inner peace; he then attempted to describe what inner peace would feel or look like - a sense of safety, a sense of calm and an understanding that others are created in the same image as one's self. The notion that once we feel at peace we can bring peace to others is both an interesting and important idea. If we believe that we are at peace, how can we then inflict violence on another human being?
Remember to post your definition by end of today. It is an honor to be here wth all of you.
Thank you all for your interesting responses - it can be difficult to define peace since it is truly a subjective ideal. I wonder, for those of you who come from areas of conflict, does peace take on a different meaning?
If we teach our students to believe that we all beat with one heart, that we are all together in this world, would that ultimately lead to peace on the planet or as Peter points out above, is conflict unavoidable?
In order for me to read your blogs, please add me as a CONTACT. This will allow me access to your work and the ability to interact with all of you one to one. You are all involved in wonderful work and I would love to learn more!
Education, particularly here in the US, has changed drastically; now educators are pushed to teach for the test as a means of showcasing how well/poorly students are doing. With this move, we are being forced to teach in a way that does not identify the whole student and their particular method of teaching. Students are not truly learning but are being taught to memorize for the moment.
Quoted from joseph idegwu, written on 2011-05-30 07:41:38 Montessori linked teaching with peace building so that the next generation avoid the violence of authoritarianism, the promotion of global outlook and diversity in education and the respect of both the physical environment and human relationships; but also that the purpose of peace education was not simply to stop war and violence (negative peace) but to promote positive peace such as justice and harmony. These ideals are very relevant to my research and current study because one of the causes of conflicts in West Africa is the history of long dictatorship, military rules, coups and counter coups; others include lack of democracy and mass participation in politic; poor educational and health facilities especially for the children. This region has also been subjected to long term environmental degradation through the massive exploitation of natural/mineral resources and poor human capital relationship. Montessori global outlook through globalisation will draw world attention to this state of human calamity which of cause can have a future devastating impact on the world at a certain point in history. Montessori idea of promoting positive peace is also relevant to my study such that the United Nations and other international agencies should not just be concentrating on intervention, by stopping wars and conflicts in this region, but assist to put mechanism in place to bring about justice, human right, democracy, stop hunger and poverty and increase investment in children through education (peace) so as to promote positive peace and security in West African. --------
A wonderful post and a topic that I am particularly interested in - the impact of environmental degradation on conflict, poverty and life.
For some time I have been a member of the Dalai Lama Foundation's Education Board and we have talked a great deal about what peace is, including how to develop "zones of peace" in our own lives. One of the greatest things about Teachers without Borders is the interaction between educators (in fact two of my colleagues from TWB and I have started a foundation in Africa) and the dissemination of information. I would love to start a dialogue, whether through Nixty or something else.
I find it interesting that lack of education consistently serves as a way to oppress - I was going to say the underprivileged - but as of late I see the removal of educational opportunity affected classes from the upper to lower classes here in the US. It has always been my strong belief that with education we can begin to change the mindset of the world; by removing education, leaders insure that no change will come. Freire, who is one of my heroes, believed strongly that teachers must not fill the heads of students but engage them in the world around - we must instill in our students the importance of engaging with the entire world so they comprehend the importance of being global citizens.
I just visited a friend who lives in a Waldorf Community outside of Nyack, NY. All of her children went through Waldorf schools and they decided to move to an insulated community where children do not watch television, engage with the entire community and find value in service. We ate in their community house where the food was made by neighbors, served by other members and sat in a room where children played freely as the elderly led a spirited jazz band. It was like nothing I had ever experienced and I was so moved that I wanted to leave my home and move in with her.
The nature of calm and peace in the community was so strong because everyone was a member of a community where it was clear that humanity reigned. As for Robinson's educational bent, while I agree with him, I do not see his arguments coming to pass here in the US at this time; too much effort is placed on testing and scores rather than on the entire human.
I have been very involved in TED-ED, the educational arm of TED and while it was initially an incredible experience, it soon became an elitist arm where blogs were removed and the site became focused on defined areas. To say it was disappointing would be an understatement - I had a sense that maybe the 1000 educators invited to engage on the site could truly make a difference but soon saw otherwise. It is essential that we model for our students who we want them to be - we need to show them respect and empathy, hard work and intellect, compromise and love - with these, we can move towards a world where conflict will be considered unthinkable rather than the norm.
I find all of your responses interesting as they are both individual in nature and general in scope. Human beings, whether in areas of peace or conflict, tend to engage in some form of "conflict" or negative peace as part of our makeup - is this simply because we have been trained to fight for our own beliefs or because we have simply been trained to fight?
Thank you for these responses. I have been teaching American Lit before 1880 this summer and find that looking back through centuries we have continued this culture of war and have fostered it; it will take a true visionary to create a culture that sees war and conflict as horrible and unnecessary.
One of the ways I create a classroom of peace is by creating a set of clear goals for the class - the first being respect for all. I tell my students that I won't be irritated by late work or problematic attendance as much as I will by disrespect for others. They know from the beginning that their professor will never allow violence or negativity to enter the room.
Great answer Peter - I am Canadian by birth but a naturalized US citizen; at times I see myself as Canadian and at times American.
Recently I asked my students if they believed we could live in a world without arms; they hesitated and then resoundingly said NO.
Hello everyone! My name is Ellen Rosner Feig and I will be one of your instructors. I was one of the initial members of the first course and have to say that it was truly one of the best experiences of my life. Not only will you meet wonderful people from around the world but you will learn everything you need to know about peace education...Stephanie has created one of the most comprehensive courses that I have ever been part of.
Most days I spend my time as a professor of composition and literature at a large community college in New Jersey where I teach ethnic literature and oversee a center for peace, justice and reconciliation.
I look forward to getting to know all of you in the coming weeks.
This is very interesting to me coming from the US since Japan was once our enemy but is now our friend. How is this approach taught?
Quoted from Mariko Kimura, written on 2011-10-01 23:45:22
I think the most of key in peace education is "Agiainst war" in Japan. Because Japan was experienced war many times in 20 century. Of couese we, japanese was occured the war to Chine and USA and Russia.(And we also invaded to Korean peninsula and other Asian countries.) After the war, we were deepry regret. Then under this regret, I think Japanese peace education have an axis about against war education.
About this education, I assume we need to learn. Especially Japanese have to learn to continue. Because if we don't know how to occured the war, we would be occur the war again. But I think this education can learn only "negative peace". I assume we would have to learn both negative peace and positive peace. When we can learn both, then we are able to know what peace is.
My entire family came from Romania (we were Jews and accordingly fled during the Holocaust). I have done a great deal of reading on the Roma Gypsies and am wondering their status.
Quoted from Alexandra Matei, written on 2011-10-03 12:50:55
After 22 years of democracy after experiencing the communist regime, Romania has succesfully raised to the international standards of human rights and development. The leading actor on peace and education, that has recently received the World Vision International Peace Prize , is PATRIR (Peace, Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania). The Institute has developed several projects on peace education such as: Stand Up and Take Action (an awareness campaign) or Global Tour (the project's aims is to reinforce the use of peer education as a tool for raising the awareness of European students and create a common approach to Development Education among the teachers). Despite the actions undertaken at a political level, civic engagement in the area of peace is still "mysterious" for the average Romanian. More exactly, Romanians lack a Culture of Peace. Most politicians and even sociologists argue that citizens cannot engage in thinking about human rights, peace education or environmental problems because Romania is still struggling with basic needs like employment, bills, and the consolidation of democracy. Therefore, if we do no talk about it, we do not need it.
In this respect, I trust that what my community lacks is exactly education and not formal education, but education in the name of solidarity, of humanity. In an individualistic community in which the best wins while the others have to lose, my community lost its sense of peace: peace with themselves and peace with the others (the individuals- at a micro level - and the global community - to a macro level). In my opinion, peace education should start as a process from below. In more practical terms, I sustain the idea that children from early ages (kindergarden) should be offered peace classes (non-violent behaviour activities, peace plays or egaging them in multicultural experiences). Peace is possible, if we make it possible!
I am so glad that Kenya has instituted a formal curriculum as I believe that such a program will help move Africa to a place of peace and stability.
Quoted from stanley kariuki, written on 2011-10-04 15:38:58
Quoted from Stephanie Knox Cubbon, written on 2011-09-30 20:01:46 What are the key trends in peace education in your context (country/region)? If you don't know, try to research about current initiatives and focus on peace education. Alternatively, you can think about what issues are most pressing to peace education in your context, or share any other reflections on this section. -------- From kenya peace education has never been put in a formal curriculum .What has happened is that afew concepts on conflict resolution have been put in limited subjects that are not core teaching subjects.In secondary schools ideas that touch on peace education have been taught in HISTORY subject and in Primary schools they are found in Social studies.Perennial conflicts in kenya since 1992 during election time have made the Government and NGOS to rethink about introducing peace education in the education system.What has informed the whole concept in teaching peace education is the Post Election Violence of 2007-2008 which was the worst since this kenyan nation was born over 40 years.Since then efforts are being made to formulate a peace education program.Although the Ministry of Education and UNICEF have come up with some kind of peace education curriculum nothing concrete is on the ground hence the need to think on how to establish one.The partneship between TWB and LIFE FOCUS GROUP with the DR JOSEPH HUNGWA PEACE PROGRAM will easily be adopted to be an official peace education curriculum.A culture of peace in kenya is required as there are many causes of conflicts apart from political ones.It is the believe of all that peace education can be planted more from learning institutions using the teachers.
I have been so impressed with the fight of the Liberian people especially within the context of conflict and poverty.
Quoted from Harold Clarke, written on 2011-10-04 17:01:29
I am Robert H. C. Clarke, Jr., I am from Liberia (West Africa). From Liberia PEACE is a word that brought an end to the 14 years of civil crisis-a crisis that led to the deaths of many mostly women and children. In Liberia we don't learn peace education in grade school before/after the war. I don't want to be sentimental but I don't any country/oeople in West Africa need Peace Education than the Liberian people. Right now almost everywhere here in Liberia are praying for a free and fair Elections come oct 11, 2011; with that we are also worry that the loosers will not take to the bushes as we are hearing. Just imagine people Party standard bearers telling people to buy rice(food) and stored it in the homes. We the common and ordinary citizens have our tail between our legs in readiness to run-but we also have sore on our kneel from uncountable prayers for peace daily-this is peace for us.
Quoted from NGALIM FRANKLIN NJAIWO, written on 2011-10-05 07:30:23
Peace is something that Cameroonians have lived their lives in; since Peace in Cameroon is the absence of war. With "Peace" reigning in Cameroon, little or nothing is being done with respect to Peace education. Peace education is something we Cameroonians live in ignorance about. It’s like “Why teach peace when we are in peace?" But i wonder if truly, there is peace in any Cameroonian? No!. Fear has subjected Cameroonians to live in peace and suffering and this has made many of them to do what ever it takes to live in peace. Bribery and corruption, fraud, etc are instruments of peace in Cameroon. The little that is being done is done by NGOs.
"Knowledge is power"; with education, i think we can learn true peace for; to live in peace is to live in freedom - freedom of excellence i.e. freedom that will satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human heart to be free.
Ngalim my dear friend (Ngalim and I are friends from our first TWB course) - I pray that Cameroon will begin to see peace education as something that is essential to the future.
Thank you for your perspective; Jordan is intriguing to me as it has such a wonderful education system with such intellectual citizens. What can you do to create curriculum?
Quoted from Dima Al -Baqain , written on 2011-10-05 11:10:46
In Jordan we have been in a non-war state since the 70s, although the country was on the alert since 1967 till 1995 when finally a peace agreement was signed with our neighbouring country Israel. However; this peace agreement was on paper and never translated in positive actions to reach the grass roots and help changing the mind sets and the attitudes of people in both countries.
To my knwoledge peace education is not part of our official curricula neither at the schools nor the universities levels.The most common trend is "sporadic intiatives" of peace projects is carried out by local NGOs with international funding. These are very limited and have also short impact.
What do you believe you can do to further peace education in your area?
Quoted from Kadidia Doumbia, written on 2011-10-06 04:11:48
Quoted from Stephanie Knox Cubbon, written on 2011-09-30 20:01:46 What are the key trends in peace education in your context (country/region)? If you don't know, try to research about current initiatives and focus on peace education. Alternatively, you can think about what issues are most pressing to peace education in your context, or share any other reflections on this section. --------
The first time I heard about Peace Education is from TWB. In Africa, especially in the ivory Coast where the Gbagbo government destroyed schools and children (our future) by using college students to violate all the humanitarian rights of the population, the concept of "Peace Education" is an urgent symbol to be implemented. Unfortunately, the new government even with its good faith does not know where to start and how to do it.
Education of future citizens and their understanding of what Peace really means, will help avoiding so many wars.
Quoted from NGALIM FRANKLIN NJAIWO, written on 2011-10-05 08:04:04
Peace is freedom of excellence i.e. freedom that will satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human heart to be free; free from hunger, suffering, oppression, stress, etc.
Peace education is nurturing minds to develop skills, attitudes, and values needed to live in freedom, solidarity, and foster integral human development while affirming the inalienable dignity of the human person.
The UN definition of peace education resonates most with me. The definition can guide me first as a peace educator in that it affirms the inalienable dignity of the human person – “Human dignity grant human rights” hence respect for the rights of my students. Secondly, it correlates peace and freedom; to live in peace is to live in freedom – freedom of excellence. Moreover the definition promotes integral human development, fosters solidarity and embraces pluralism which are all civilizational achievements.
The UN definition of peace education is a blend of the various definitions of peace education.
I agree that when one lives in peace one can begin to experience freedom to excel.
I love the concept of harmony as it resounds with me both visually and emotionally - the idea that we could all live as one, in peace.
Quoted from stanley kariuki, written on 2011-10-05 17:28:03
According to me Peace Education is the acquisition of skills,knowledge,values and attitudes that make people live in harmony with one another.Peace education should be learnt because acquiring skills of how to live with other people and the earth then it is vital for educators to deliberately create the how to live in peace.In extension education should be about creating peace and when people are educated they appreciate others,become tolerant,understanding and respectful to others.While the above definitions show various reactions and thoughts by scholars and organisations,i do agree that definitions should be based on cultural settings and context in which one is,I strongly like UNICEF'S definitions which clearly shows that peace education need to be taught and no where is this best done than in a school environment in which most of us teachers are .According to Unicef schools should be centres of excellence where they become learner friendly.A culture of peaceful co-existence can fully be practiced in a classroom environment..It is my assertion that as educators we seek to trnsform the mind set of our students and based on our behaviour we can influence them and they become ambassadors of peace.I strongly like the quotation from Coleman Mcarthy,"if we do not teach children peace someone will teach them violence' which adds on my stated view that peace education is getting knowledge to make know how to live in harmony with all.
I agree with you concerning the educator's role. One of the things I try to live by is the belief that I must model behavior for my students.
Quoted from Alexandra Matei, written on 2011-10-05 18:19:03
First of all, peace should not be regarded as an alternative. Peace ought to be the norm that guides our behaviour. However, in a world dichotomized between bad and good, war and peace,“ff we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children" ( Mahatma Ghandi).
Secondly, to understand what peace education is, we must identify what peace means, and then, what education entails. Therefore, peace can be a process of self-reflection which, I believe, is necessary for the self and the professional development of any educator. Peace cannot be taught based on a pre-given set of exercises or rules, if it does not exist within the identity of the educator and embraced as a way of being, as a mindset. In fact, I tend to agree that peace should be firstly an introspect process and only after, it translates into a process of teaching skills, values and attitudes, as Fountain (1999) sais.
Therefore, peace education is the process through which both the educator and the children/youngster/adults are learning: how to respect the others and their differences; how to accept a different social reality; how to care about distant others and how to adopt this mindset in their daily lives.
On this note, I tend to resonate more with Fountain and UNICEF's definition of peace education.
I agree that peace must come from within. This is a very Buddhist thought - the idea that we must first look inside to determine who we are and how to change.
Quoted from Karen Juday, written on 2011-10-06 01:58:12
The Schmidt and Friedman definition of peace education resonates most with me:
"Peace education is holistic. It embraces the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social growth of children within a framework deeply rooted in traditional human values. It is based on philosophy that teaches love, compassion, trust, fairness, co-operation and reverence for the human family and all life on our beautiful planet."
I agree with Alexandra's comment that peace should be firstly an introspective process. It would be very difficult to teach peace if one is not at peace in one's own self, and in one's own relationships. For me, the basis for peace and peace education is the fact that we - the entire human family - are connected to each other inextricably. What we do to others, we do to ourselves. We need to learn, and then teach others, to stop self-destructing and develop peace within ourselves.
The notion of peace and how to accomplish same in the Mid-East is one I grapple with as I teach both Palestinian and Israeli students. In the US they get along quite well but I am sure that once home they do not - how can we change this?
Quoted from Dima Al -Baqain , written on 2011-10-06 10:07:21 It is very interesting and insightful to read through the comments posted in this discussion. I find that each one of them tackle a different aspect of what peace or peace education means. In my context if we want to define peace, immediately one would think about the negative peace which is the abscence of non-violence. This is histroically becasue of the ongoing Israeli-palestanian conflict, and other wars and armed conflicts around. This is also interlinked with the prevalent social violence and the abscence of human basic rights and freedoms. It is our role as peace educators to help in broadening this perception and this can only be done through a real holistic peace education. Therefore, i envisage that peace education in the Middle East shall be carried our at many levels and in many fora, and not limited to one institution or one group od people.It should start at the educational instituions, and go further to the communities and reach the decsion and policy makers. It shall be a process of education about peace but aslo FOR peace,an education which implies an active concept of peace through values, life skills and knowledge in a spirit of equality, respect, empathy, understanding and mutual appreciation among individuals, groups and nations. --------
I believe the same experience exists here in the US as teachers feel that they are not being paid a just wage and thus are being disrespected. Until there is a sense of equity it will be difficult to create a place of harmony.
Quoted from stanley kariuki, written on 2011-10-14 17:29:29
The teaching fraternity in kenya that we work with has for a long time complained that the Government underpays them .They complain that the Government does not respect their right to fair pay for fair work.They complain of being overworked by the heavy loaded curriculum and their motivation is at low web.You cannot work effectvely with an oppressed population because their Human Rights are violated and this intereferes with peace.If teachers are not in peace because their welfare is not catered for then they cannot pass peace to students the culture of peace we are trying to plant.The students whom we teach complain that the Prefects use dictatorial tactics of vetting discipline to the students who are in the wrong.The high handedness by prefects make schools not to be friendly environments that should be.This is a recipe for lack of peace.Many students in our country reulst to riots as a way of releasing anger and pent up feelings.
The only way to create a horizontal relationship with the teachers is to listen to their plights and apply Human Rights in treating them as equal human beings who should be understood and tolerated .The Government should value teachers as partners in education and should realise that without treating them cordially no meaningful peace can occur in kenya.The teachers in kenya do influence the actions and behaviour of students more than any other group of opinion shapers.Equally the school Prefects should make school environments look like detention military camps.The prefects should treat students with decorum,understanding and use more peaceful methods of correcting students than mlilitant approaches.Our experience has proved that prefects need training as school leaders on people management in humane ways.Those prefects who take the other students as colleagues are more listened to than those who think by being hard they will impress the school administration.
The school is a tool for Liberation because when one gets knowledge and skills one frees himselve from bondage of slavery and ignorance.Ignorance ,illiteracy are ingredients of darkness.Education creates awareness which opens one to right decision making.Education brings Human Rights education which frees people from oppression that they suffer as result of not knowing their rights.Many are those who suffer because they do not know why.Education is the key to greater democratic prosperity and a tool to empower indviduals in peace education.With oppression there is no peace and with education peace is born,
Friere is one of my heroes as I believe strongly that we must model our behavior especially when we work within a social organization. I have to agree with you that most of the NPO/NGOs I have been involved with have had an incredibly oppressive hierachy which leads many to leave disillusioned.
Quoted from Colby Jeffers, written on 2011-10-15 06:19:20
Coming from a Social Justice perspective, Paulo Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed resonates with me very strongly. One of my biggest frustrations since studying social justice and participating in various justice-related organizations/events is how ironically oppressive they often are. Commonly, an organization's mission is to end the oppression of a certain group, yet the methods they are using to educate are oppressive in nature.
The educational event that comes to mind when I think about this type of pedogogy is: Conferences/Summits - I've been to several of these types of events over the past year, and the format is almost always oppressive, and very similar to the "banking system." The organizers of the conference generally have panels of speakers and workshop presenters that "teach" information to the passive participants of the conference. As a result, there is very little dialogue, critical thought, or concrete action taken at these events. Personally, I feel that if these type of events implemented a "problem-posing education" style, there would be a much greater impact seen.
I'm not a teacher by profession, but I do participate in various initiatives that involve education of the community. For example, I will be helping to facilitate a Youth Education Summit in a couple months that will focus on Peace and Nonviolence for some local high school students. The committee and I are really focused on making sure we create an environment that is centered around having the students identify the problems and solutions collectively by engaging in dialogue and critical thought, very much aligned with Paulo Friere's pedagogy :).
I find your reply really interesting as I grew up with an incredibly difficult father and a mother who was terrified to speak up. This type of family oppression leaves a mark that is difficult to ever overcome.
Quoted from Alexandra Matei, written on 2011-10-15 11:27:33
As the core of any society, the family, is the first form of oppression we encounter. When I refer to the concept of family, I use it in its traditional meaning (the father is the provider and the "boss" of the household, the mother is also the provider but inferior to the father and assumes the role of the educator in the family while the children must "obey the authorities"). Thus, as a child one has to learn from his parents and obey their orders: "Don't go there! Stop playing with that toy! Recite a poem to your grandma!" and many more. The child is constantly opppressed due to the label that the older knows better. And if the child refuses to listen to his mother or dad, then he risks punishment. Just as Freire sais, "the oppressed lack self-confidence, and have a magical belief in the invulnerability and power of the oppressors”.
In cognitive psyhology, it has been demonstrated that when a piece of information enters our brain it enters as "being true". Only afterwards, we can question its validity or truthfullness. The same happens with children. To create a horizontal relationship between the members of the family at such an early stage, I think that engaging in games with children is one way of addressing this issue. As a child, seeing and understanding that parents can also loose in a game or do mistakes, is crucial for their personal development as a non-oppressed individual. Children must be treated as equal members of the family and parents should openly admit their errors or ask advice to the child.
We are seeing the same thing here in the US; the Occupy movement is a perfect example of the backlash against the banking system.
Quoted from NGALIM FRANKLIN NJAIWO, written on 2011-10-15 19:27:43
The Banking System is what has been used to oppress us Cameroonians. This system is a success thanks to fear. Fear is the source of lack of 90% progress.
Education in Cameroon is GCEcentric or Examcentric. Students care much about passing their exams and teachers care more about finishing the syllabus. Its like every one is centered around exams. This has paved way for the banking system to set in. Students are vessels to be filled instead of lamps to be lit. Thanks to fear, no one has the courage to question. Besides, knowledge in Cameroon is about Certificates. Certificates speak louder than knowledge itself and this has subjected younger ones to strive for certificates instead of knowledge.
I was a victim of the situation but thanks to TWB i will be able to liberate the oppressed.
Creating a horizontal relationship with my students is something i have always worked very hard on. I try to know and understand the students i teach individually and foster coperative learning during my lessons. I teacher to nurture students cognitive skills and shower my students with love so as to conquer their fear,
Wow I have been to so many of these types of events both at my college and at others. I always wonder why we continue to propagate these types of "rituals."
Quoted from Karen Juday, written on 2011-10-16 00:10:37
Similar to Colby, the "banking system" of education resonated with me the most. I recently participated in an all-staff offsite with my division at Central Michigan University. There are around 225 staff members from across the U.S. who were flown in for the two-day meeting. As a geographically dispersed staff, we only get to see each other face-to-face every two years.
The people who planned and ran the meeting took the role of oppressors, using the banking system of communication. We were all seated in an auditorium and subjected to a seemingly endless stream of speakers and presenters who never once asked us what we thought about anything. That experience--and the feeling of oppression I had from it--really help to underscore Paulo Friere's concepts.
Without having read this section of our course, I submitted a suggestion to the planning committee for the next all-staff meeting to structure much more interaction and group problem-solving. Forcing all those minds to sit still and listen for two days was a monumental waste of resources and missed potential.
I always think of a visual image when I read Friere - a student with his/hear head open on top and learning going in. At its best the Friere system of learning can be extraordinary but when put in place in a situation where there is no set rules it can be chaotic.
Quoted from Kadidia Doumbia, written on 2011-10-17 17:58:32
Quoted from Stephanie Knox Cubbon, written on 2011-09-23 20:37:24 In what ways do you and/or the population you work with experience oppression? How can you create a horizontal relationship with your students (or the population you work with?) How can education serve as a tool for liberation? --------
Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects.
- Paulo Freire
Oppression always happens because there is one side that does not want to give up privileges. The analysis of most conflicts in the world finds its roots in the superiority concept of one group over another. The respect of the others is the basis for any educational theory or system.
Freire speaks about the “banking system” where information is transferred from one group to the other without expectation of any exchange about the material.
My understanding of the relation teacher-student based on Freire’s concept will be horizontal but not vertical. It is an ideal theory based on the fact that learners are mature enough to embrace this approach. In the school at 2 years ago the administration tried a new approach where students could have more say in certain issues. It was a disaster because we saw disrespect to teachers.
For this theory to be effective, all parties need to be educated in this philosophy and accepted it. But then, the society as a whole has a vertical system, family structures are vertical. To make it work will need mixing both systems. Real life is not ideal and human beings are not predictable, some order needs to be maintained in order to have a sound basis for Peace.
Solidarity or true solidarity has always existed. For discrimination to lose grounds whatever the history and the area of the world, a foreign group sometimes coming from the oppressors’ side had to give a hand to the oppressed ones.
“It is important to note that there are elements of oppressors and oppressed in everyone, and thus no one solely belongs to one group” This statement is so true and it is also the explanation of the “why” oppression cannot stop.
Critical thinking, critical dialogue, critical pedagogy mean that one is willing to open the doors to new information, one is ready to accept new approaches to do it and one is willing to accept the other even though they have absolutely nothing in common and will never have.
Oppression is when a woman is not allowed to do certain things because she is a woman. Oppression is when the freedom to speak does not exist; oppression is a violation of one’s human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Oppression is justified by religion, by traditional customs or not at all.
Oppression closes the door to creativity and does not allow critical thinking. A society, where creativity does not exist, dies.
Education can be the bridge to allow necessary understanding and explanation of values. In my classroom with my more advanced students, I have started a soft but deep approach of helping them understand and explain why they believe what they believe in certain subjects. It is very interesting especially when we speak about politics. Many of them start realizing that they are saying things because they heard it at home and it is supposed to be true. The purpose of the exercise is not to imply that their parents are wrong but for learners to accept the fact that they cannot just believe or say things without being convinced themselves. I do take into account critical literacy and ethnography and cross-cultural communications as I work in an international setting.
Gender equality is definitely used for power by oppressors. I believe that education is the key to overcome this.
Quoted from Dima Al -Baqain , written on 2011-10-17 19:11:12 Opression takes on many faces and forms in my society. Power relations are defined many factors among which class, religion,gender and wealth. Gender inequality is particularly prevalent and a patriarchal society, like ours, is dominated by gendered social roles where power relations favor men and tend to disadvantage women. Women in my context face multi-layered discrimination and are often deprived of their basic human rights both in the private and public spaces including the legislations, the family and the social norms. In order to even these relations women shall obtain their inalienable hunman rights and be treated as equal citzens as men. Education can be a key element in the long process of changing the attitudes and the mind sets, however; positive measures shall be also taken and favor women at the stage. --------
Very good point Felix - we must always face our oppressors and determine how we will handle them.
Quoted from FELIX EMAMOROSE, written on 2011-10-17 20:10:55
The society we lived in is full of opressions . Oppessions can be seen in all spheres of human lives, in the family, school,work place and even among students. I meant in any social order, Paulo`s ideas was on positive peace, i.e injustice in the schools and work place.
First, the population in Nigeria experience oppression in this way ie, they are not involved in descision making by the ruling class. According to paulo, any situation in which individual is not invoved in making descision is said to be an opress situation.
I can create a horizontal relationship with my students by listening to them and allowing them to talk in the classroom. I have to understand that we have to learn from each other. according to Swami, Children are not vessels to be filled but lamps to be lighted.
Education should take into account the cycle of oppression and seek to end it. The banking system should be avoided and theproblem possing techniqes of education should be employed
I think that one of the most prevalent forms of oppression occurs in the workplace and especially in the academic workplace where there is a hierachy. I am always shocked at how many of my colleagues treat students in a miserable way - they simply should not teach if they do not like their students.
Quoted from Yasmine Fakhry, written on 2011-10-18 21:07:08
Freire's work is the most interesting part I read so far especially that the Banking system has completely destroyed Egypt. As I teach at Alexandria University, I have been struggling to use problem-posing education. However, Alexandria University has become a place in which there is structural violence and even any efforts for creativity is not appreciated.
I am even in a dilema as I am not sure if I should quit my job because the situation is only getting worse every year, and there are many obstacles in my way. Four years ago when I started working there I thought that things might gradually change and I would be able to fight the oppression, but this year it seems it is going to be the other way round and this place is going to eventually turn me into an oppressor because every year the number of students increase and they don't have enough places for dividing them into groups. So this week I entered into the classroom where I found more than 80 students sitting very close to each other in an uncomfortable way and the classroom was so crammed that many students didn't even find a place and some of them had to leave, while many others couldn't enter class at all.
Although I always use interactive methods and I focus on group work in particular, but in this class I couldn't even move in class and there was a dirty blackboard that couldn't be used. And even if I used it, students wouldn't see at the back or even those who are at the front because the black board is so dirty. Not to mention cleanliness, ventilation, facilities, etc.
I have always connected with my students and I usually have a unique relationship with them because I am probably the only one who listens to them. Students are usually mistreated, disrespected and humiliated by other teachers, so they really appreciate me because I treat them like HUMAN BEINGS. But even there is more violence and oppression that is happening to these students that there is nothing I can do about. All I can do is just talk to them about their problems and try to encourage them not to surrender and lose hope!
As someone who has been very involved with the movement for the last three weeks, I have been profoundly moved by the sense of humanity that has been shown. Human beings are living with one another, with strangers, in a tight space where one would expect conflict; yet, there is a feeling of love and kindness. Clothes are freely shared, food is continually given out and communities engage in peaceful interaction. I believe that it is a perfect example of the notion that when people see themselves as equal, where there is no hierachy, we can live as peaceful beings.
I really agree with you Ngalim; reflection allows us to really listen and understand. So many times we are quick to respond, to speak when it is time to be quiet and reflect on what we have learned.
Quoted from NGALIM FRANKLIN NJAIWO, written on 2011-10-16 18:30:08
Reflection fosters cognitive development. Acquiring cognitive skills subjects students to think, rethink and think hence learn rapidly. When we reflect, we meditate from our past experiences and like the old adage "Experience is the best teacher".
We live in a relative world; Our lives today are thanks to yesterday and our lives tomorrow are dependent on yesterday, tomorrow and today like wise education. Education is the past, present and the future hence we must reflect if we must learn.
I strongly agree with Dewey that reflection is a meaning-making process that moves learner from one experience to the next with deeper understanding of its relationships with and connections to other experiences and ideas.
His definition solves the problem of positive and negative reflection. Sometimes we reflect negatively which is why he defines reflection as a meaning-making process. If we must reflect, the outcome should be positive.
To add, reflection takes time. To effectively reflect takes time to effectively evaluate our words and actions though some reflections are brief.
Reflective process has truly changed my life; each day at the beginning and at the end I take a moment to reflect upon my teaching experience and ask how I can do better the next day.
Quoted from Kadidia Doumbia, written on 2011-10-17 15:43:41
Quoted from Stephanie Knox Cubbon, written on 2011-10-11 18:42:21 Please use this discussion forum to post any thoughts, reflections, or questions relating to the supplemental article by Rogers (2002) about John Dewey and reflective practice. --------
Please use this discussion forum to post any thoughts, reflections, or questions relating to the supplemental article by Rogers (2002) about John Dewey and reflective practice.
Dewey’s theory on reflective practice stresses the ability one has to look back at prior experiences, to analyze them and to be able to learn new information that will allow us to move forward and hopefully in a better way.
How does reflective practice work for the teacher? How does that work in a relationship between the teacher and the student? How to use reflection in a peace building process? How can we reflect in our teaching methodologies and our instructional strategies to teach Peace to students? Is Peace education using reflection going to open the path for larger democratic views and help avoiding wars?
Teachers are always going through a reflective process: working on a lesson plan, writing comments after a class, observing students using the material taught, etc… reflection is a part of the educational world. How deep it is depends on the individual.
Biggs points out, “a reflection in a mirror is an exact replica of what is in front of it. Reflection in professional practice, however, gives back not what it is, but what might be, an improvement on the original” (1999: 6).
Students can use the same path to look back at the knowledge acquired. Nevertheless, it should be said that this venue can only be used by mature students in an environment that does not call for grades and only grades. In the right environment, with teachers’ approach more on what students know then on what they don’t know, where summative project-based teaching approach is used then yes I believe that learners can reflect on their studies and it will lead to a collaborative relationship between the teacher and the learner, where both of them share and eventually learn from each other.
Dewey wrote in “The school and society” in 1889 that: “From the standpoint of the child, the great waste in the school comes from his inability to utilize the experiences he gets outside the school in any complete and free way within the school itself; while on the other hand, he is unable to apply in daily life what he is learning in school. That is the isolation of the school–its isolation from life. When the child gets into the schoolroom he has to put out of his mind a large part of the ideas, interests and activities that predominate in his home and neighborhood. So the school being unable to utilize this everyday experience, sets painfully to work on another tack and by a variety of [artificial] means, to arouse in the child an interest in school studies …. [Thus there remains a] gap existing between the everyday experiences of the child and the isolated material supplied in such large measure in the school. “ (1956, pp. 75–76) (http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1914/Dewey-John-1859-1952.html)
It implies that so many elements are in place, such as small classes, time for teachers to use this approach, etc … Unfortunately, it is rarely possible.
Each student being unique it is merely impossible to set a specific teaching approach for each one of them but by leading them to learn how to critically think then a discussion can be launched for a group of learners to reflect on what they are doing and what they may want to do. Critical thinking is the only hope to destroy stereotypes and
If we assume that we are products of our society we then have integrated its stereotypes and social norms. Consequently, accepting to reflect on what seems “normal” means that we are ready to revisit everything that we consider our world. It is a difficult journey and asking other people to follow us in this perilous enterprise looks almost impossible. BUT, it is possible.
Dewey: “As long as our interaction with our environment is a fairly smooth affair we may think of nothing or merely daydream, but when this untroubled state of affairs is disrupted we have a problem which must be solved before the untroubled state can be restored.”
The use of reflection in one’s everyday life which can be translated by critically analyzing situations instead of following the flow may certainly help respecting others’ views even if we don’t agree with them, and understanding, may lead to discussions and discussions help avoiding conflicts.
In a society where people think, where children are trained to think, conflicts may not be a big issue after a while.
The main question is: Is there a genuine will to get to this point?
After watching and being involved with the Occupy Movement I do believe that we must be vocal and peaceful advocates for a better world. We must consider ourselves teachers each and every moment and model behavior for others.
Wonderful responses everyone. In my opinion, education is a 24 hour experience; one should not consider themselves simply an educator in the classroom but one is a true educator if they educate each and every moment of the day. By being peaceful within, we can be peaceful without. I had the honor of seeing the Dalai Lama speak last year and he stated that one can not be a peaceful educator if one has not truly been mindful of their own behavior; prayer without action is simply nothing. I ask my students to enter the room with respect for one another and for me; when they speak out of turn or over me or another student, I remain silent and simply wait. The students know immediately that they must move to a place of peace and calm - interestingly one of my students stated the other day that "Professor Feig is getting agitated" simply because I stood silently at the front of the room waiting for them to calm down. They are so used to anger that they need to be retaught to understand peace.
I love this video no matter how many times I've seen it -
Hi everyone! My name is Ellen and I will be one of the instructors/facilitators of the course. I am so impressed with all of your backgrounds (and a bit intimidated) and I am sure this is going to be a great group. I am currently a professor of English at a community college in New Jersey, USA; my focus is primarily on the literature of New York before 1920 but I also run the Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation (CPJR). CPJR focuses on teaching of genocide and conflict resolution and does a great deal of work in the area of community outreach to those who have survived genocide. One of the greatest experiences of my life has been being part of the initial class for peace education with TWB.
I am here to help in any way and assure you that through this group you will make some wonderful friends and colleagues.
Thank you all for your insightful posts. I agree with you that enlightenment in education is essential but what do we do when we work for or are in a community of those who are not enlightened and see education as simply a means to an end - the test?
Very interesting posts - I think it's important to remember that peace education is something of a new concept. While the incorporated concepts are age-old, the idea of teaching peace is new and still needs to take shape.
Wonderful posts and ideas here - I am a big believer that one can not teach peace until one finds inner peace. One of my colleagues, who is Burmese, and I were speaking today about empathy. I tend to over-empathize with others, especially my students, which moves me to enable them when they should act on their own. She does a great deal of work in human trafficking and discussed how over empathisizing could cause her to spend her entire life in a state of worry, in a non-peaceful state. Accordingly, she had to find her own peace.
Zoe Weil is inspiring...how do we create students who don't just see school as a miserable journey but rather as a place where they can actually learn to be humane? to learn how to solve problems that are global in nature?
Wow wonderful posts - I have always seen education as a means to freedom and yes, liberation. However, many of us are teaching in conflict zones where the primary concern is survival. How do we re-think education so it becomes the focus, the primary means to change conflict to peace?
Joseph - wonderful work you are doing. Is GOAL a nationwide program?
I work in a suburban community college setting where many of my students have either been victims or perpetrators of violence; accordingly, violence has become a part of their lives We must retrain these students to learn how to react differently, to see the only response to situations as dialogue.
Thank you for all of the thoughtful responses. I see the use or misuse of language daily both at work and in my own home. So many times we misread what someone is saying (or means to say) and that can lead to an inappropriate reaction. A perfect example of this occurred recently when a student made an offhand comment about another student's sexual identity and it led to a fight between the two; I used this as the example for the final paper for class which will be about words - their history, their use and context. Recently I began to read the book The Flame Alphabet which is about a society where language actually kills; what is intriguing about the theme is that the initial onslaught is brought on by children.
Some wonderful questions here - one question that I ask myself each day is "what can I do today to further peace at home, at work and in the world?" This is truly the issue for me as I am a big believer that peace and change can only begin once we make a true effort to act within. I see my own kids believe in so little, have such apathy and I recognize that I must model behavior for them
Love these posts - whenever I help facilitate these courses I feel so hopeful and believe that we can change the world. We must, as Margaret writes, model the Golden Rule each day even in the face of hopelessness
Theater and the arts can be an extremely powerful way of showcasing important issues; students learn although they do not know they are learning.
Wow - these are incredibly powerful. My current vision of the future is not a very positive one. For the first time we are seeing the very real consequences of global warming (no winter here in NY and a 80 degree day in March) which terrifies me. I fear for my children and their children and feel guilty for the world I am leaving them...my hope is for change and global citizenship where there are no boundaries and we recognize our responsibility to one another.
Hi everyone - my name is Ellen Feig and I will be one of the course facilitators. I am a professor of english at a large community college in New Jersey, USA and focus on peace studies, genocide studies and conflict resolution. Like you I was once a student in this class and the experience was life changing; I met people that I have become close friends with, that I have engaged with professionally and that have the same passion for peace education. I can assure you that we can change the world together.
I love this - good to see you!
Quoted from Stephanie Knox Cubbon, written on 2012-06-18 14:01:46
Hi Everyone! Here's a little video introduction:
I love the idea of creating a synergy between about and for; this can clarify for students how to act versus how to think.
Quoted from l a, written on 2011-06-13 10:03:32
Peace education if I got it right should be a unity of education about peace and education for peace. We normally teach students to accept and respect the others so that they become open towards the different cultures and be tolerant local and global citizens; when the ground is ready we can plant the methods and principles of implementing peacemaking competencies by teaching the theories and concepts of how to promote peace and reduce violence. I want to add that I much liked the lesson plan provided in this section: so simple and so effective; that's how personalizing instruction shoud be.
What do you believe are some of the traditional vs. non traditional methods you would teach?
Quoted from Adrian Bhatti, written on 2011-06-14 14:08:21
A) What competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes, values) are needed for peace education? How can you we teach these competencies? B) Please feel free to write any comments, reflections, or additional questions that you have from this section.
A) Key competencies that have shaped my personal teaching and facilitation experience are reflected by both the teacher and the student;
Ability to respond and not to react to comments
Engagment and enpowerment
Willingness to explore
I found the following site useful for generating more ideas http://www.unf.edu/thefloridacenter/PeaceEdStdsForWebsite.pdf
Thank you for bringing up active vs inactive listening - there is nothing more frustrating than standing before a full classroom and noting that no one is listening, really listening
Quoted from Zarrin Caldwell, written on 2011-06-15 17:02:57
On my Rotary Peace Fellowship, we had a live demonstration of "active listening." The two teachers role-played what both inattentive and active listening looked like, and then asked the class to comment on the differences. It was fun and dramatic and "hit home" on what active listening really is. This is a good thing to practice with students because it's a life skill that everyone can use to foster peace ... and something that, even as adults, I think that we all need to be reminded about.
And, I do agree that role plays, participation, or being put in fictional conflict scenarios make a big difference to learning vs. the standard lecture formats where it really is often "in one ear and out the other" for students.
Many of you focused on active listening as one of the most important tools and I agree - what are some ways to insure that students are active participants in their education?
Many of you focus on the notion of multi-cultural education. I teach an incredibly diverse group of students and this year will be teaching a composition section for international students only; how do you foresee the initial introduction to a multi-culturally based classroom?