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Introduction to the Program

Page history last edited by Stephanie Knox 9 years, 11 months ago

Dr. Joseph Hungwa Memorial Peace Education Program

 

Introduction

Welcome to The Dr. Joseph Hungwa Memorial Peace Education Program for educators and community leaders! If you are reading this, you have already taken a big step towards empowering your students to create peaceful lives and peaceful futures. We hope that this resource can support you in your professional development and serve as a guide on your quest as a peace educator.

 

Why Peace Education?

We are reaching a critical point in history when solving the problems of humankind has become a matter of our very survival. Finding sustainable solutions to these problems has never been more pressing, as population pressure, violence, and environmental degradation are on the rise. We are alive at a unique time in human history, a time that calls on humanity’s creativity, ingenuity, and compassion to solve our greatest problems.

 

There are a myriad of approaches to try to solve these problems, but ultimately, the roots of these problems are related to human consciousness, worldview, and culture. Taking the cultural approach, our current predicaments are related to the culture of war and violence, which is a global human phenomenon permeating all aspects of life. In order to solve our problems, we must transform the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and nonviolence, which is the goal of peace education.

 

According to the founding charter of UNESCO, “war begins in the minds of men”. If this is true, then it is through changing our minds – our consciousness and our worldview, which are rooted in our culture – that transformation needs to occur in order to move from a culture of war to a culture of peace. Albert Einstein said, “The problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.” The goal of peace education is to raise our level of thinking to be able to solve these problems.

 

Education is the key factor affecting the way we see the world. While many factors affect our consciousness and worldview, such as our genetics, our family life, our religion, and our community, the one factor that is key is our formal schooling. Informal education through our parents, extended families, communities, media, and places of worship, has a profound impact on our worldview. School is where many of us spend most of our time as children, and if we can bring the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for creating a culture of peace into the formal curriculum and school life, imagine the change that we could make!

 

Peace education calls for a fundamental shift in our philosophy of education (Danesh, 2006, p. 73). While peace education can be taught as a subject, or as part of the “hidden curriculum”[1], as peace educators we should be aiming for a total transformation of the curriculum to one with peace education as its foundation. The transformation from a culture of war to a culture of peace requires nothing less.

 

A total transformation of the curriculum, education system, or culture does not happen overnight, and can seem very daunting. However, integrating peace education principles into your classroom practice can happen overnight, and is a way you, as an educator, can make an important contribution to promoting a culture of peace for the world. In this guide, we have included simple ways for you to start immediately.

 

Teachers as Peacemakers

At Teachers Without Borders, we value the role that teachers play in building peace in their communities. While people become teachers for many reasons, many people enter the teaching profession as a way to give back to their communities, to promote positive change, and to contribute to a better future for the children of the world. Whether or not you are familiar with peace education, it is likely that you already integrate peace education principles into your teaching, perhaps by being a role model of nonviolence for your students , by treating all students equally and fairly, with compassion, or by promoting democracy in your classroom. We applaud your efforts, and hope that this resource can help you build upon your skills as a peacemaker.

 

Purpose

This program is intended to bring peace education to new audiences around the world. We acknowledge that there are many great peace education resources in existence, and by creating this resource, we were not trying to “reinvent the wheel.” We are attempting to bring peace education to the Teachers Without Borders community, and hope that our community members will share this resource with others, creating a domino effect for peace education.

 

This resource is not intended to be a definitive or all-encompassing introduction to peace education. It offers one approach. We hope that this resource will pique your interest, provide material to help you get started, and become a catalyst and contribute to the field by developing your own material and finding out what works in your setting. We encourage you to look at other peace education resources, and have tried to compile suggestions throughout this program.

 

Who can use this resource?

This curriculum, while useful for anyone who is interested in learning about peace education, is intended to support school teachers worldwide in integrating peace education into their classrooms, schools, and communities. While peace education is a life-long learning process, and occurs in formal and informal settings, the setting of formal education provides a unique and critical opportunity for students to learn the knowledge, skills, and behavior necessary for a culture of peace.

The resource can be used for independent study or group training, and we have developed user guides to accompany both styles of study.  Even if you are studying independently, we encourage you to try to find another teacher, either in your area, or perhaps across the globe with whom you can discuss the material. Teachers Without Borders would be happy to connect you with colleagues around the world using our online network.

 

Call for Contributions

This resource is intended to be a living resource that we will change and adapt over time based on the feedback and experience of participants. As dialogue is one of the key principles of peace education, we encourage you to engage in dialogue with us and other practitioners. We encourage you to submit feedback, as well as any suggestions for additional methods, materials, or approaches that worked for you.  We acknowledge that much of the material in this resource comes from North America and English-speaking countries, as this is what is most widely available at this time. As we seek to meet the needs of our diverse teaching community, your contributions can help us to meet these needs and contribute to the overall field of peace education.

 

At the end of each section, we have provided a questionnaire so that you can let us know what worked for you, what could be improved, and what you would like to see more of. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

References

Cawagas, V. (2007). Pedagogical principles in educating for a culture of peace. In S. H. Toh & V. Cawagas (Eds.) Cultivating Wisdom, Harvesting Peace. Brisbane, Queensland: Multi-Faith Centre, Griffith University.

 

Giroux, H. & Penna, A. (1983). Social Education in the Classroom: The Dynamics of the Hidden Curriculum. In H. Giroux & D. Purpel, (Eds.), The Hidden Curriculum and Moral Education. Berkeley, California: McCutchan Publishing Corporation, p. 100–121.

 

 


[1] The hidden curriculum is “the transmission of norms, values, and beliefs conveyed in both the formal educational content and the social interactions within these schools” (Giroux & Penna, 1983). However, peace education should never be hidden, and should rather be explicit about teaching the values of compassion, diversity, equality, and nonviolence (Cawagas, 2007).  

 

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