“How do I get the students interested and excited about learning?” is a question that every teacher in their career asks. The question posed by “Where Peace Lives” is how can we foster peace and cultural understanding through art and media? Well the organization answered both questions with remarkable and inspiring results. For students to learn and be inspired their creative spark must be ignited, voices heard, and self-confidence drawn on.
Where Peace Lives mission statement is to inspire a generation of peace by “instilling a context for a future that creates a new possibility-a culture of peace that is alive and real for everyone”. This is accomplished by teaching young students negotiation techniques, leadership skills, and communication skills focused around reducing aggressive behavior and increasing cultural awareness. The organization has created a program that is being enjoyed in grades first through twelfth all around the world called the Peace Mural Exchange Program. Schools participate by bringing the Where Peace Lives facilitators to the school and having their students get inspired. It is preferred that the school supplies paint; paper, workspace, and other materials specific to their students needs or desires. Something that is great about the program is that it can be participated in after school hours. The workshop is flexible to the schools needs. I think it would be most beneficial if it was an in school activity, but if not all students want to participate then after school would work better.
The peace mural exchange program allows students to express their own values and ideas for peace and in doing so communicating through mutual respect with their fellow classmates all while putting together a beautifully artistic mural that displays their thoughts, feelings, and ideas about peace. In the process students focus on peace in their own lives which continues outward concerning others, community, and society. If you think that is great just wait. The schools exchange their peace murals with other schools. Once they have received their mural they get to ask questions and reflect on how the mural has affected them and their original ideas on peace. The website says that dialogue between the two schools is possible, but I am sure that it is not always considering the projects come from many communities where the technology may not be there. How fantastic is this? You have to check out the murals on the website they are absolutely amazing. You can tell just by looking at them there is hope for the future and that kids get peace and they want peace. Through this project “students learn to create a powerful and lasting context for peace in their lives” (Where Peace Lives). I think teachers and students would benefit from this experience. Teachers would be able to examine the process and later incorporate the knowledge and skills in the schools pedagogy.
The personal benefits that students gain from this experience are immeasurable. Creating something that gives them a voice to share with the world while becoming globally minded people is a giant step in creating a peaceful future.
Checkout the website the murals are Awesome! This blog post cannot even begin to explain this wonderful experience for students all over the world.