This series of videos introduces narrative praxis and then describes two common techniques used by narrative practitioners to look at information in different ways.
Privilege Walk Lesson Plan
Many educators and activists use privilege walks as an experiential activity to highlight how people benefit or are marginalized by systems in our society. There are many iterations of such walks with several focusing on a single issue, such as race, gender, or sexuality. This particular walk is designed with questions spanning many different areas of marginalization, because the goal of this walk is to understand intersectionality. People of one shared demographic might move together for one question but end up separating due to other questions as some move forward and others move back. This iteration of the privilege walk is especially recommended for a high school classroom in which the students have had time to bond with each other, but have never taken the time in a slightly more formal setting, i.e., led by a facilitator, to explore this theme. It is a good tool for classes learning about privilege or social justice and could also be used to discuss intersectionality in classes that have the danger of singling out a single aspect of social injustice. It is important that the students or group members are already acquainted and are not doing this activity as strangers, since an immense amount of trust in the people and the environment are needed to help people feel comfortable with acknowledging that certain statements apply to them.
Many people with certain privileges never notice them, because they are so woven into the mainstream that those who have them cannot see them. For youth, understanding and acknowledging privileges is key to understanding why and how they react and perceive their surroundings. The capacity for youth to objectively reflect on their interactions with the world will be invaluable. The focus on intersectionality in this practice will allow practitioners and students alike to understand that having one privilege does not make up for another marginalization and that every privilege or marginalization exists on a different but intersecting plane from another. This focus will help to avoid having positive developments being derailed by debates over who is more oppressed. It also helps youth understand ideas of intersectionality and be aware of marginalized groups within the marginalized group. Privilege walks have previously been criticized for being most beneficial to straight, white, able-bodied men, since it is supposed that they learn the most and that more marginalized students are made to feel vulnerable. The particular walk posted on this page works to avoid falling into these issues and has given detailed reasoning for recommended debrief questions, since the nature of the debrief discussion can either exacerbate or alleviate some of these issues. Even though it is not a perfect exercise, the privilege walk is a less confrontational way to discuss privilege and promote reflection. It helps people to open up, literally, in steps instead of difficult to articulate words and relate to each other in a different way.
To discuss the complicated intersections of privileges and marginalizations in a less confrontational and more reflective way.
15~20 minutes for the Privilege Walk
45~60 minutes for the debrief
Privilege Walk Statements:
During and after the Privilege Walk, participants might experience an array of intense feelings no matter their position in the front or the back. While the point of the Privilege Walk is indeed to promote understanding and acknowledgment of privileges and marginalization, it would be detrimental to end the activity with potentially traumatic or destructive emotions. The point of the debrief session is twofold. First, through the reflection provoking questions, help participants realize what exactly they were feeling and muster the courage to articulate it to each participant’s acceptable level. This process will relieve possible negative emotions, preventing possible damage. Second, as negative emotions are relieved, the debrief will help participants realize that either privileges or marginalizations are integral to the person’s being. Instead of casting off either privilege or marginalization, participants can learn how to reconcile with themselves, and through the utilization of newfound knowledge of the self, have a better relationship with themselves and others around them.
At the end of the exercise, students were asked to observe where they were in the room. This is a common question to use to lead into the discussion and allows people to reflect on what happened before starting to work with those idea in possibly more abstract ways. It keeps the activity very experience-near and in the moment.
This asks students to reflect in a broader sense about the experiences they might not think about in the way they were presented in this activity. It opens up a space to begin to discuss their perceptions of aspects of themselves and others that they might have never discussed before.
This question focuses on the concrete experience of separation that can happen during the activity. For some students, a physical aspect like this can be quite powerful. There are many iterations of the privilege walk that do not involve physical contact, but this extra piece can add another layer of experience and be an opening for very rich student responses.
The first part of this question asks students to reflect more on the activity and the thoughts behind it. The second part of this question is very important for creating knowledge. Students might suggest a question about which instructors had not thought. Asking students how they would change the activity and then working to incorporate those changes is an important part of collaborative learning.
This question invites people who would like to share about the ways they experience marginalization. It is a good question to ensure that this part of the conversation is had. That being said, it is also important to not expect or push certain students to speak, since that would be further marginalizing them and could cause them to feel unsafe. It is not a marginalized person’s job to educate others on their marginality. If they would like to do so, listen. If they would not like to do so, respect their wishes.
This question is based on the idea that people can always use knowledge and awareness of the self to improve how one lives with oneself and those existing within one’s life. It also invites students to think about ways that this understanding can create positive change. This is not only for the most privileged students but also for marginalized students to understand those in their group who may experience other marginalizations. This can bring the discussion form the first question, which asks about how they are standing apart to this last question, which can ask how can they work to stand together.
This activity was developed by Rebecca Layne and Ryan Chiu for Dr. Arthur Romano’s Conflict Resolution Pedagogy class at George Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Some walk activity questions are commonly seen on other privilege walks while others were written by these students for this specific walk. Procedures were written from experiences participating in other walks. Debrief questions, excepting question one, were written by these students with the goal of this walk in mind. Question one is fairly universal for this activity.
Ken Robinson in a very charismatic talk at the Dalai Lama center for Peace+Education in 2011 claims education should be not just the education of the mind, but the education of the heart and I wholeheartedly agree. Particularly in relation to Peace Education and nurturing a civil society of responsible and caring citizens, the education of the heart and how to “feel” is just as important. We focus a lot of our educational energy on lecturing on the outside world and I believe Peace Education is the necessary inverse – it invites students to turn their gaze and perspective inward. They key to this inverse is the connection between humans and the power of empathy. In conflict we shut empathy off but empathy holds the power to solve conflict! There are numerous scientific studies that show the student’s early environment plays a large role in who they become as they grow, so this has become common knowledge. Empathy and nurturing emotional intelligence is one of the seven pillars of Peace Education and can be cultivated and groomed at different levels in the classroom. This was absent and not seen as important in my early childhood education, but it was in the household and this can vary from student to student. It is the role and duty of Peace Educators to foster a sense of empathy or increased emotional intelligence in our students and be part of the solution.
Sir Ken Robinson – Educating the Heart and Mind
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1A4OGiVK30 (more specifically the last 10 mintues or so)
“Roots of Empathy” is a unique and award winning yearlong charitable program that is actively part of the solution in a desensitized and emotionally out of touch society. It takes place in a Elementary through Middle schools and has programs available globally. It has been researched and has been proven to create significant change in participating schools. The program pillars are specific and include Emotional Literacy, Neuroscience, Temperament, Male Nurturance, Inclusion, Infant Safety, Perspective Taking, Prevention of Teen Pregnancy, Attachment/Attunement, Participatory Democracy, Infant Development, and Violence Prevention. Instead of targeting violence, bullying, and aggressive behavior directly the program takes a holistic approach and engages all the students in the classroom.“Roots of Empathy” focuses on the relationship between parent and child and gives students the opportunity to observe an infant and its development. This program is at its core a reflective practice, because the students are actively identifying problems with their child and solving them, which effects the way they solve their own problems and manage their own relationships. The program is very personal and children very quickly learn through this program their own temperament traits and the situations that may spike or increase the chances for conflict.
Roots Of Empathy
– A more in depth video
There is a healthy amount of useful information and great resources on the site as well as contact information if you or a school around you is interested in running the program. Many of the activities like asking the students to depict creatively episodes when they felt afraid or helpless and using the community to help create an atmosphere of social responsibility are activities that can be incorporated in any classroom at any level.
Humans uniquely possess the ability to empathize with others, including non-humans. We must embrace this distinct trait and connect students with themselves and their feelings, so they can go on and empathize with friends, family, and people on the opposite side of the globe. If we are to create a future culture of peace, we must start with the future, the children and the power of empathy can go a long way.
POSTED ON BEHALF OF ANNSLEIGH CARTER
For this blog, I wanted to look for an activity that addressed some of the things we talked about during our last class about environmental education. As a class, we discussed the degree to which we should include environmental education in schools, which led to an interesting conversation about priority of values and if teaching about climate change is pushing a political agenda in the classroom. To address that concern, I found an experiential learning lesson plan from PBS about environmental political negotiation called “Who will take the heat?” Here’s the link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/worldbalance/roleplay/heat.html.
This is a policy negotiation role-play activity, and the players are the US, China, environmental movement, and international business. This activity requires the reading/discussion skills of high school or college students. For the first part of the activity, students are broken into groups and given readings for one of these four roles. Students should understand that this is a role-play, not a debate, and the lesson defines negotiation as “a process in which two or more parties seek to understand one another’s interests and create options that will reduce or remove a conflict between them.” In teams, students have to figure out what is most important to their group, what they could compromise on, and propose solutions. Before the negotiation, they go over the following terms:
Then, the teams come together in order to create a solution that fits the necessities of all of the groups. As it says in this lesson plan, this part might extend over more than one class period.
After the negotiation, the class should debrief by talking about what went well and what could have been better in the negotiation, as well as a discussion of some of the major points that were brought up. There is also a closing evaluation, and the site gives a few different options for that. Personally, I would like to close this activity by having the students pick a solution that they agreed with from the negotiation and write about their role in real life would be in the commitment. This would require them to reflect on their level of engagement with climate change, and this might create a sort of negotiation with the self about what we are and are not willing to do.
I appreciate that the activity implies that something must be done to limit our harm to the environment, but it lets students come to their own decision about what must be done about it. It does not really push a political agenda, but forces students to take on a role in a real world issue. Through discussion and negotiation, students realize how environmental policy works. The negotiation skills they will learn from this activity will be useful for them as well.
I think this class fits well into our class themes of environmental sustainability and conflict resolution. It forces students to look at environmental sustainability on a global scale, then with the closing activity that I chose, makes them apply what they learned to their own lives. At the heart of the activity is peaceful negotiation and mediation of conflicting ideals. Students have to learn how to compromise to get what they want and to listen to others.
I had seen clips of the documentary the Interrupters on PBS a few times, but never got a chance to watch the full length of the movie. When I finally wanted to watch it, they weren’t airing it on T.V anymore. Luckily the PBS website had the full documentary online and for this blog I will give a summary of the movie and what I thought about it.
The documentary “The Interrupters” looks at the life of three Violence Interrupters and their work within a span of one year. These Violence Interrupters work with an organization called Ceasefire in the most conflict-reddened areas of Chicago, who try to protect these communities from violence that they were once a part of. The film was directed by Steve James, an acclaimed director known for his powerful portrayal and insight of communities and cultures in his movies and documentaries. Interrupters was filmed during a period of constant youth violence in parts of Chicago, in African American and Latino neighborhoods, and during a time when the United States had its eye on Chicago as a national symbol for the violence in our communities.
Founder of Ceasefire, Gary Slutkin, believes that the spread of violence in communities is similar to the spread of diseases and epidemics, “violence is like the great diseases of history…. violence as behavior, not as bad people.” For the young people in these neighborhoods, they see violence as their disease and they expect that they are going to die from this. Tio Hardiman, who created Ceasefires main program, “Violence Interrupters” explains that violence is a two-step process. The first thought is grievances; people come up with reasons to start a conflict for example, “He looked at my girl…he owes me money…he’s a Sunni…he’s a Palestinian, and so forth. The second thought is that these grievances justify the violence.” Tio, just like members of the Violence Interrupters has street credibility (because of his own personal history), which gives him full insight into the violence and minds of Chicago’s youth.
The three Violence Interrupters that are followed throughout this documentary are Amina Matthews, Cobe Williams, and Eddie Bocanegra. Amina was the daughter of Jeff Ford, one of the biggest gang leaders in the history of Chicago. In the documentary Amina is what Tio calls the “golden girl,” she knows how to get them (the community youth) to open up. Being an ex-gang enforcer and one that has lived a life in shoot outs, she knows what its like to be a youth in these communities that are plagued by violence. Cobe Williams, scarred by his father’s murder, began a downwind spiral at the age of twelve. After being in and out of jail numerous times, Cobe decided to turn his life around with the help of his family. In the documentary we see that Cobe, with his humor and general good nature, “knows how to get in, he knows the language – what to say, when to say it.” Cobe too has big time credibility with the gang members because of his past, which allows him to easily insert himself within the conflict in order to resolve it. Last, but not least is Eddie Bocanegra, who is still daunted by the murder he committed at the age of seventeen. For him, his work with Ceasefire as a Violence Interrupter is a repentance for his past actions. Playing on his strength in art, Eddie is able to and concerned with spending majority of his time with young children affected by the aftermaths of violence. He teaches the children art, warns them of the trauma experienced by those who have come face to face with violence, and makes an effort to keep children off the streets and get them the support they need.
Throughout the documentary, the viewer is able to look into Ceasefire meetings and the conflicts that take place within the communities. Each Violence Interrupter has a past of their own, and each uses their history and knowledge of the streets to get closer to their goal, which is to “ stop the killing, and save a life.”
One of the first scenes we see is of a conflict-taking place right in front of the Ceasefire building. Amina Matthew quickly interrupts the conflict and has both groups separate. What is profound is that even a five-year-old girl was shouting profanities and getting involved in a conflict that had nothing to do with her. Later, Amina talks to some of the youth and is able to get them to open up through different forms of communication, one form being laughter. Amina explains, “If you get them to laugh at themselves- find that soft side, not their weak side, then you ride on that.”
In these streets the youth have been brought up with the notion that “you have to stand up no matter what happens… death before dishonor.” They have been taught violence, as violence is a learned behavior. One youth justifies, “If you don’t do it, they’re going to do it to you, you go hard or it’s your life.” They say all odds are against them, they have been brought up this way, they want to fight, and that history is up against them.
One scene in the documentary that was very overwhelming for me was a still shot of a wall of names, names of all who had been killed, murdered, and shot, and in one spot someone had written, “ I am next…” This shows how deep the youths mentality about violence is, and that they think they are stuck in it, when in reality in order to break out of it they have to find change within themselves and their peers. However, in a sense they find an honor in getting killed. They want to be known that they didn’t step down, that they fought and died, and that they know that when they die, they’ll get all the hype, both from the community and the media, that they have made normal around such drastic deaths.
Tio explains in the documentary that “Once media goes back to wherever they came from, we have to step up to the plate and make something happen up over there.” He is aware that a lot of the violence isn’t gang violence, its interpersonal conflict that deals with respect and disrespect, not being accepted in an overall society where a lot of people are ostracized, and so they try to dominate their societies. Their actions go from “zero to rage in thirty seconds” and they act out because of something that upset them earlier in their day. With this kind of anger and violence, Tio explains that they cannot mediate the conflict without full confrontation. As the documentary comes to a close, Tio explains that African American and Latino communities have been beaten for so long with poor schools, lack of jobs, hopelessness, and despair that it is “hard for people to stick with peace if they don’t have a stick that they can hold on to.”
Although this documentary looked at the violence in Chicago communities as a whole, it also focused on specific youth whom Aminah, Cobe, and Eddie personally intervened with; Capyrsha Anderson, Lil Mikey, Flamo, Vanessa Villalba, and Kenneth. Along with these young adults, Ceasefire was able to prevent numerous outburst of violence to occur in their communities. Its impact was beyond substantial. These Violence Interrupters were right there with each act of violence from the beginning to the end, and used their knowledge and insightfulness to the best of their ability to reduce the tension of the conflicts. Each young adult the Violence Interrupters assisted have taken a full 360 in changing their lives, sometimes all one angry person needs is someone right there beside them to show them the right path.
Watching this documentary made me realize that these communities have been “brain –washed” into believing that violence is the only way to solve a conflict. However, when they have member of Violence Interrupters come in and show them alternative options, it opens up a number of other possibilities for them, with a less drastic cost that wont end up affecting them for the rest of their lives.
I could definitely see myself incorporating this type of intervention and peace education into my practice. It is always useful to have those who are knowledgeable of a conflict come in and help resolve a conflict. What I liked the most was that each Violence Interrupter had a violent past of their own which they rid themselves of, and they knew exactly what was going on in the minds of the youth. Because of their insightfulness, they were able to assist the community and individual youths to a level of nonviolence.
Stakeholders that I believe will be able to benefit from my post are anyone who lives in a community that violence plays a big role in. For older community members, this type of intervention and peace education would assist their communities to a level of nonviolence for the youth.
As a Global Affairs major, I was really interested in finding a blog topic that had a global approach and perspective to peace education. Through searching on the web, I found this amazing organization called UNOY (The United Network of Young Peacebuilders). UNOY (prounounced ‘you know why’) is a global network of young people and youth organisations committed to establishing peaceful societies. They have been around since 1989 and are based in the Netherlands. they consist of 49 member organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.
UNOY’s mission is ” to link up young people’s initiatives for peace in a global network of young peacebuilders, to help empower their capacities and to help increase the effectiveness of their actions” They achieve this goal by implementing a wide range of activities in each of their main areas: advocacy and campaigning, capacity building and gender. UNOY believes that young people are an essential part of peacebuilding because:
Some projects that UNOY has implemented in 2012 include, the Educating for Peace seminar that brings together members from all over the world, the Peace of Mind educational program for students, and training courses on peace building. Members even traveled to Colombia, Argentina, and Nepal where they were able to teach workshops on issues such as human rights, democracy and gender to youth there!
This organization caters to a wide range of peace educators and students alike. UNOY has created excellent resources that can be incorporated into a classroom or community setting for youth. The beauty of UNOY is that the wide array of projects it creates can be applied in a global AND local context. Most importantly, UNOY gives young people the opportunity to get involved!!! I would especially recommend checking out their volunteer programs if you’re interested in working on an international level 😉 Through its broad scope of activities and projects, UNOY teaches youth the necessary skills and tools needed to become peacemakers in their own communities.
A clip describing one of UNOY’s projects in collaboration with other international youth organizations:
UNOY home page http://www.unoy.org/unoy/
Peace Players International
Brothers Sean and Brendan Tuohey founded PeacePlayers International (PPI) in 2001. They believed, “children who play together can learn to live together.” As a result over 52,000 youth have been reached by PPI in its short history.
Using basketball to bring children together and teach them proven methods for improving their communities, PeacePlayers International utilizes a groundbreaking peacebuilding and leadership development curriculum. PPI currently has year-round operations in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Israel and the West Bank, and Cyprus. Check out www.PeacePlayersintl.org to learn more about PPI’s history.
PeacePlayers International programs incorporate an element of formal peace and leadership education, grounded by an innovative basketball curriculum developed with the assistance of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Arbinger institute. The Arbinger institute is a global center for the study of interpersonal conflict. Through fun on-court activities and guided discussion the participants are taught how to ways to think about conflict and their roles in society. The Curriculum emphasizes what PPI calls, “out of the box thinking”- a way of interacting with those around us that honors both others; humanity and our responsibility for change.
Ways to use this Resource:
Educators can use many of the same activities that PPI uses in their camps. One example of a drill that PPI uses is one that focuses on anti-social behavior. In the activity the coach instructs the team to not pass the ball to a designated team member. That member is unaware that he/she is being excluded. Once the excluded team member finally does receive the ball he/she reciprocates the exclusion by not passing the ball to another member. At the end of the activity the coaches facilitate a dialogue around the issues of anti-social behavior. They stress the importance of not reciprocating that hurt feeling onto others even if we really want to. Watch this video to see the activity in practice. The example activity takes place at 3:50 mark.
Educators can use this activity as well inside the classroom or at recess to show students that excluding others from groups, games, or other cliques has a negative impact. Physical education teachers would be best equipped to facilitate such an activity due to the availability of a ball of some sort. However, other teachers may use a smaller ball such as a tennis ball to facilitate this activity inside of a traditional classroom.
With this resource I believe that students can learn the importance of inclusion and partnership. Team work especially is can be learned because this exercises stress the importance of inclusion. When the team member who has been excluded feels the hurt he/she often reciprocates the exclusion and hurts the team in the end. So this activity teaches students to collaborate and work together to perform in a productive way.
I think teachers who are seeing destructive cliques form within their classes can benefit from this resource. I would suggest that middle school teachers (i.e. 6th grade teachers) would benefit from this because it’s around that age that anti-social behavior and bullying takes place. I also think that sports teams that are having problems working together may also benefit.
PeacePlayers International- http://www.peaceplayersintl.org/