Blogposts

Content:
A Blogpost outlining Kenya’s Vision 2030 peace education program, which is intended to encourage school age children to solve conflicts in a constructive manner and without resorting to violence. It was created to respond to the violence in Kenya after the 2007-2008 elections. The program aims to help build cultures of peace within these schools and to then have these students take these peaceful attitudes and build a peaceful society
3 objectives:
1. Creating awareness about the sources of conflict and how to deal with them in our daily lives
2. Classroom as the main arena where the values of “positive interdependence, social justice and participation in decision making are learned and practiced”
3. Creating respect for cultural diversity and fostering peaceful, diverse communities by encouraging positive images
Resource is located on DevEd website, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of those in developing countries through education that is tailored to their needs and local culture and practices
Context:
-Depending on how the resource is utilized, it can be used for a variety of age levels in formal educational settings.
-The objectives encourage global values that many aspire to and seek to promote
-The sooner in life we begin promoting peaceful ideals, the more likely they are to stick with a child and help mold them into a peace-building adult.
-It’s integrated into the standard/required courses (History, Social Studies, Religious Education, etc.), but is also encouraged in co-curricular activities like Drama, Music, art, etc.
-The values promoted by the program are universal and can be adapted for any environment, so long as its goal is to create a peaceful, safe space
Implementation:
-In order to incorporate this resource and the values it promotes, educators would need to actively reconsider and restructure their current curriculum. They would need to actively encourage the promotion of peace education in both the formal school setting and the informal “after school” setting where students participate in elective activities
-Logistics and materials: this program would require teachers be trained and educated on the subject of peace education, they might require sample curriculums in which peace education has already been integrated, access to peace education materials, and some training/education in conflict resolution/mediation.
-Because it would require some major changes, the implementation of this curriculum would require a large amount of time and might even need to be implemented gradually (perhaps first in the afterschool extra curricular activities and then spreading to the main curriculum)
-At the end, challenges faced by the program are outlined and educators and school administrators should take these into consideration
-Curriculum encourages and focuses on the importance of music and drama as vehicles for students to create peaceful school environments and communities.
Goal:
-Kids develop cultural awareness, patience, and a strong sense of responsibility.
-They are active participants in their own education and are able to implement their own ideas and decisions they believe will be imperative for them to grasp certain subjects.
-The banking method is completely ruled out and replaced with active discussions and participation that includes everyone, along with the teacher to facilitate.

Audience:
-Fairfax County teachers would definitely benefit from this program. I feel it would be especially beneficial for educators teaching in elementary schools as students are young and can be taught these lessons early on. Teaching children tolerance, acceptance, and understanding from a young age can shape them into well-adjusted adults who can better manage conflicts.
– An after school program educator in a diverse community can also gain from the program. Many after school programs have kids from various backgrounds come together which can lead to conflicts of race and culture. If those in charge of after school programs can implement the concepts from this program, kids can learn to better understand each other and navigate their conflicts.

Learning from our past: a monument dedicated to a peaceful future without nuclear weapons

Location:
Children’s Peace Monument – Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan

Content:
The resource is an actual location where peace education can be applied and has been applied around the world in past years. Within the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park stands a statue of a young girl holding a crane. The girl is Sadako Sasaki who was only two-years-old when Hiroshima was hit by the atomic bomb in 1945. She died at the age of twelve after she developed leukemia, which was due to the radiation she was exposed to from the bombing as a toddler. Sadako had been folding paper cranes while she was in the hospital after being diagnosed in the hopes that folding 1,000. She believed she would be cured according to an old Japanese legend. Sadako and the cranes thus became a symbol of peace and a world without nuclear weapons. I found this resource through my interest in Sadako Sasaki as I had read a book about her life. Through more research, I found out that there is an actual commemorative statue for her in Hiroshima, Japan.

Context:
I think this field trip location would be an excellent source of information and inspiration for people of all ages. It is appropriate for children as it celebrates the life and ambitions of a young victim of war. For adults, it could be a humbling example of the lasting and irreparable effects of nuclear warfare. The most important lesson that could be learned is the importance of peace and finding a peaceful resolution before all else. Inscribed on the statue is: “This is our cry, this is our prayer: for building peace in the world,” which I believe is a poignant message of the lesson to be learned.

Implementation/Pedagogies:

For educators outside of Japan, teaching at this location could be difficult. It would require time, planning, and money. If, however, it can be arranged it is an invaluable and wonderful example of the importance of peace and the consequences of a world without it. Not only the statue but also the entire Peace Park holds the remains of the damage caused by the bombings. This trip could be a formal or informal way of learning. Classroom style instructions and teachings would be required to help the students understand the history of the Peace Park. That might be mistaken for the banking method of learning that Paulo Friere refers to. However, it would involve active learning that includes the student’s ideas that add on to the history the teacher provides the students about Hiroshima and the story of Sadako Sasaki itself. Students always learn more in an active environment where they are free to express themselves and learn about a subject in different ways so they are fully able to understand the importance of the lesson without the teacher forcing it upon them.

However, if a trip to the location is not possible, it is entirely possible to teach from the classroom in a positive and productive way that doesn’t inhibit the student’s learning experience. Sadako Sasaki’s story stands as one example of what the people of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the entirety of Japan had to face.

Example of a lesson that could take place of the trip:
Lesson 1: Short background on the war and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (includes death toll and after effects)
Lesson 2: Story of Sadako Sasaki and how she was affected by the war (illness and eventual death)
Lesson 3: Introduce lessons the teacher thinks should be learned
Lesson 4: Ask students if and how the bombings could have been avoided and what lessons they believe are important
Lesson 5: Ask students what pedagogies and ideals would have been beneficial for the leaders and decision makers behind the bombings to have.

Goals:
I hope that through learning about this location and the story of Sadako Sasaki, students will develop more tolerant and patient attitudes. The atrocities that took place in Japan were partly due to the desire of United States to win the war and end it no matter the cost. This type of attitude will not work when we’re trying to promote a more peaceful world. Even today, there is talk of nuclear war and the use of nuclear weapons. During these volatile times, we need the individuals making the decisions to be patient, knowledgeable, and humane. If students can draw inspiration from the monument, hopefully one day they can be the leaders we need.

Audience:

High school students in history or government classes in Fairfax County could be a great audience for this type of activity. Older students might have a higher chance of being able to go to the actual site and also implement their own ways of thinking/activities to do. If this isn’t possible then even elementary and middle school students would benefit from the classroom exercise option. Community individuals from countries like Iran, North Korea (may be a bit unrealistic), Russia, the U.K., and many other nations could also benefit from learning the deadly impact nuclear warfare can have on people. This activity in general doesn’t have a specific age group because everyone can learn something from it.