The above podcast was recorded on Wednesday, November 14th 2012 during the Peace Pedagogy (EDU-596) course I facilitate each year at American University. As a final assignment for the class I asked each student to develop what I called a “Peace Learner Commitment.” A Peace Learner Commitment is:
“…a pledge to yourself, and shared with our community, to achieve a goal that seeks to build and foster peaceable learning environments. This environment can be built in the classroom, your community, among your peers, with your family, in the work place, or for yourself. The choice is yours.
“The key is for an element of this course that resonated with you – skill, content, activity, attitude, technique, perspective, etc. – to bear fruit outside of the (tiny) classroom we shared this semester.”
In the podcast each student shares what their commitment is. And listening to this podcast, I can honestly say that it has been a privilege spending an entire semester with this outstanding, kind, and inspirational group of learners. The 14 students all came to the course for different reasons, with different needs, and from different professional and academic backgrounds. Given the diversity of the learning goals and needs, as the professor for the course I really had to give deep thought to what kinds of assignments were going to actually be useful to the class.
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Dear Friend, I am glad to receive your postings on Peace Learner. I have been a peace educator and developer of peace education materials for over sixty years. As I reflect on the topic, I’m beginning to think that Peace Education is the wrong title because it has not caught the imagination of the common person. It sounds like a course on indoctrination.
I am in the process of re-writing a paper on the topic for parents and educators, in language they will understand. What do you think? Yet, I’m at a loss at to what to call this type of education. I would love to hear your analysis of this important topic.
Peace, Fran Schmidt Independent Peace Educator Founder of the Grace Contrino Abrams Peace Education Foundation Miami, FL
Hi Fran! Thanks for stopping in on my blog, which from semester to semester is mostly posts from students who are enrolled in peace education classes at either American University in Washington, DC or George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.
I agree with you on the using the term “Peace Education.” However, I feel like a good course of action is to help schools and teachers recognize that good and effective teaching and learning is actually peace education. This way I think it helps schools feel like the do not have to reinvent the wheel or offer a new course per se, but rather be more intentional in how they set up learning environments, build community, and make choices on content (e.g. math problems that focus on peaceable stories and projects, history of nonviolent social movements not just war and violent conflict, science focusing on discoveries that have helped people live healthier lives, books and literature that highlight community, friendship, and compassion, etc.). I think framing peace education in this way can make it feel more like focusing on what works in education and less on indoctrination.
I am interested to learn more about your work. Let’s touch base via email. I can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.