While driving in Washington DC one day I passed this really nifty looking, stark white building. Although white buildings are not uncommon in DC this building was particularly interesting because the interior was completely exposed and visible due to a immense glass front. I was so intrigued at the design of the building I decided to research the organization that would build something so innovative and different. It turned out the building, located on Constitution Ave NW, was the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
Through my research I found USIP to be intriguing and exciting. For this reason, I propose USIP would be a fantastic destination for a field trip. Due to its proximity to major highways such as I-95 and I-495 as well as various modes of public transit (i.e. Metro) USIP is highly accessible to schools/communities in the northern Virginia area. Additionally, the only logistics besides transportation involve contacting them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to iron out any details. All trips are facilitated through the USIP Global Peacebuilding Center.
This field trip could be implemented by classrooms or community programs with pretty much any age group because the lesson plans can be flexible and implemented in different ways dependent upon the teacher’s chosen approach. For example, a field trip such as this can be applied to a range of subject matter from the basics of conflict resolution or peace education to something as simple as studying a community conflict or the Holocaust. The point is to both expand current knowledge for all age groups as well as begin peace education early so it can be internalized and put into practice.
Along with various possibilities of its implementation there is great variety in the follow-up afterward such as a writing assignment or class discussion about the concepts presented and how they can be applied to a local, national, or global issue, or some other kind of expressive outlet. The field trip itself does not need to be excessively long, a DC day trip for a few hours would suffice, but the duration of the utilization of the knowledge and resources (including online videos/lesson plans) provided by the USIP Global Peacebuilding Center would depend on the instructor. The following is an example of one the video resources on their website. The Rule of Law
**Although time is not an issue, goal-setting and limited explorational guidelines are recommended.
The recognition of real world application and out-of-classroom learning are two components that are often absent from mainstream education and this field trip, paired with multimedia technology, offers an opportunity to remedy that. Visiting USIP and participating with the Global Peacebuilding Center offers the chance to foster a number of vital skills including critical thinking, real world application, conceptualization, and global awareness/understanding to name a few. Also, USIP engages and empowers the students through their myriad of resources. It allows students to see how what they are learning is being addressed or utilized by adults and professionals.