Privilege Walk Lesson Plan

Privilege Walk Lesson Plan

Introduction:

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.

Goal:

To discuss the complicated intersections of privileges and marginalizations in a less confrontational and more reflective way.

Time:

15~20 minutes for the Privilege Walk

45~60 minutes for the debrief

Materials:

  • A wide open space, e.g., a classroom with all chairs and tables pushed back, an auditorium, or a gymnasium
  • Chairs to form a circle for the debrief
  • Painter’s tape to make an initial line for participants
  • Optional: tape or other materials to draw lines to indicate where to step back or forth

Procedures:

  • Have participants line up in a straight line across the middle of the room with plenty of space to move forward and backward as the exercise proceeds.
  • Have participants hold hands or place one hand on the shoulder of the person to their left or right depending on space constraints. Important: Make sure to ask participants if they are comfortable touching and being touched by others. If some are not, do not make them and do not make a big deal out of it.
  • You may give an explanation about the activity, how it is intended to educate about privilege, and what exactly is privilege, or you can send students into the activity with no such background.
  • Read the following to participants:
  • I will read statements aloud. Please move if a statement applies to you. If you do not feel comfortable acknowledging a statement that applies to you, simply do not move when it is read. No one else will know whether it applies to you.
  • Begin reading statements aloud in a clear voice, pausing slightly after each one. The pause can be as long or as short as desired as appropriate.
  • When you have finished the statements, ask participants to take note of where they are in the room in relation to others.
  • Have everyone gather into a circle for debriefing and discussion.

Privilege Walk Statements:

  1. If you are right-handed, take one step forward.
  2. If English is your first language, take one step forward.
  3. If one or both of your parents have a college degree, take one step forward.
  4. If you can find Band-Aids at mainstream stores designed to blend in with or match your skin tone, take one step forward.
  5. If you rely, or have relied, primarily on public transportation, take one step back.
  6. If you have attended previous schools with people you felt were like yourself, take one step forward
  7. If you constantly feel unsafe walking alone at night, take one step back.
  8. If your household employs help as servants, gardeners, etc., take one step forward.
  9. If you are able to move through the world without fear of sexual assault, take one step forward.
  10. If you studied the culture of your ancestors in elementary school, take one step forward.
  11. If you often feel that your parents are too busy to spend time with you, take one step back.
  12. If you were ever made fun of or bullied for something you could not change or was beyond your control, take one step back.
  13. If your family has ever left your homeland or entered another country not of your own free will, take one step back.
  14. If you would never think twice about calling the police when trouble occurs, take one step forward.
  15. If your family owns a computer, take one step forward.
  16. If you have ever been able to play a significant role in a project or activity because of a talent you gained previously, take one step forward.
  17. If you can show affection for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence, take one step forward.
  18. If you ever had to skip a meal or were hungry because there was not enough money to buy food, take one step back.
  19. If you feel respected for your academic performance, take one step forward.
  20. If you have a physically visible disability, take one step back.
  21. If you have an invisible illness or disability, take one step back.
  22. If you were ever discouraged from an activity because of race, class, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, take one step back.
  23. If you ever tried to change your appearance, mannerisms, or behavior to fit in more, take one step back.
  24. If you have ever been profiled by someone else using stereotypes, take one step back.
  25. If you feel good about how your identities are portrayed by the media, take one step forward.
  26. If you were ever accepted for something you applied to because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.
  27. If your family has health insurance take one step forward.
  28. If you have ever been spoken over because you could not articulate your thoughts fast enough, take one step back.
  29. If someone has ever spoken for you when you did not want them to do so, take one step back.
  30. If there was ever substance abuse in your household, take one step back.
  31. If you come from a single-parent household, take one step back.
  32. If you live in an area with crime and drug activity, take one step back.
  33. If someone in your household suffered or suffers from mental illness, take one step back.
  34. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, take one step back.
  35. If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke related to your race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situation, take one step back.
  36. If you are never asked to speak on behalf of a group of people who share an identity with you, take one step forward.
  37. If you can make mistakes and not have people attribute your behavior to flaws in your racial or gender group, take one step forward.
  38. If you have always assumed you’ll go to college, take one step forward.
  39. If you have more than fifty books in your household, take one step forward.
  40. If your parents have told you that you can be anything you want to be, take one step forward.

Debrief Questions:

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.

  1. What did you feel like being in the front of the group? In the back? In the middle?

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.

  1. What were some factors that you have never thought of before?

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.

  1. If you broke contact with the person beside you, how did you feel in that moment?

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.

  1. What question made you think most? If you could add a question, what would it be?

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.

  1. What do you wish people knew about one of the identities, situations, or disadvantages that caused you to take a step back?

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.

  1. How can your understanding of your privileges or marginalizations improve your existing relationships with yourself and others?

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.

An Example of the Critiques that Influenced Us

Another Privilege Walk Example from Buzzfeed

Seeds of Change: The Natural Classroom

Many of us have heard the metaphor, ‘our education is planting the seeds for the future,’ or something similar or maybe not! Regardless, I believe this needs to be taken more literally. The metaphorical seeds should include literal seeds. Humans and our environment are partners in a mutually eternal relationship; however, the harmony has been disrupted because of industrial neglect amongst other causes. We must teach the balance and sustainable treatment of the planet and mustn’t forget that environmental education is also under the umbrella of peace education. If teachers can keep this in mind, student’s learning will breach the walls of the confining classroom. The world will become their natural classroom, always available for exploration and discovery.

This focus on the natural world was also a critical philosophy of Maria Montessori.

“It is also necessary for his physical development to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly education forces of living nature.”

– Maria Montessori

We should teach to this kind of connection. Outdoor education is often survival or work based, a get your hands dirty kind of approach. The time spent doing these activities outdoors will help rebuild this relationship.

Outdoor education requires children to use all 5 senses and think about the world around them. They will learn to explore, discover, and reflect. Unstructured outdoor education will allow for the student to become independent. Outdoor education gets students physically active and our shown to be more nutrition savvy. Recess is a perfect example and oftentimes very profound interpersonal lessons are taught on the playground, however recess is often taken away earlier on in a child’s education. For the sake of environmental education, the playground should remain natural as opposed to manufactured products.

After a bought of outdoor kinetics, a teacher can switch into classroom mode again without going back into the classroom! Math and English, two subjects that we might think are impossible to be taught outside can be taught outdoors as well. Math can be taught be adding and subtracting pine-cones and sticks and drawing out the equations with chalk for example. English can be taught by prompting students to reflect on their outdoor experience. Also, reading outside and holding lessons outdoors as much as possible is an great way to reap the benefits of the natural world – this was always a exciting option for me as a young learner.

What if it’s raining? In that case the inside of the classroom should have a similar feel.

More plants! Raymond De Young, an environmental psychologist at the University of Michigan, believes in the power of plants to bring peace. “I have one colleague who, whenever she’s going into a very important meeting, places a small potted plant on the center of the table. She says it has a really calming effect on everyone around.” Plants also help with preventing illness. Teachers have the option to incorporate live fauna in the classroom. Maybe have the students water the plants? Start a garden? The symbolism behind the growth of a plant can be related to the growth and progress of the child. It’s no different then having a pet in the classroom.

Open the windows! Let it shine. Not only is sunlight in the classroom healthy but research has shown that those who sit next to windows are happier, more enthusiastic, more calm, and more productive. Those plants you brought in are going to need some UV rays!

Don’t stop there! We love to fill our lives with images of the natural world, from cave paintings, to our computer desktop, to our fairy tales and folk stories. Placing more images of the planets natural wonders inside the classroom will keep students curious and connected with the diversity of the outside world they are in a serious relationship with.

Get moving! Make movement and music a priority within the classroom as well. Music can be easily incorporated into learning and research proves music’s contribution to positive child development. This helps students express themselves emotionally and stimulates creativity and imagination. Music can be included to enhance other subject areas as well. Choreograph a dance? Bring in natural instruments? “This land is your land” is a song with a lot of history and a very peaceful message. These sorts of things you never forget, as a student and a teacher.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yr5fkRmP_Q0

Here are some other ways to breach the walls of the classroom and pedagogically implement natural elements.

http://www.whitehutchinson.com/news/learnenews/2003_05/article101.shtml

http://education.audubon.org/tips-bringing-nature-classroom

What can teachers do today?

Pick some of the previous suggestions and take action! Teachers have control over the structure of their classroom and what is included. Students depend on the teacher to create for them a rich and diverse learning environment. Music, movement, and nature cannot be overlooked. This is proving to be dangerous and unproductive. I remember an exercise from the ‘Peace Education Exploratorium’ I attended a couple weeks back where the instructor pushed us outside into a cold field and had us walk around thinking about the environment. She was simultaneously playing relaxing music and I can honestly say a connection was established, if only for a brief moment. The naturalist inside of me was satisfied.

What an educator can do for tomorrow?

Environmental Psychology is an emerging field, which seeks to study built and natural environments and how they influence human behavior, and is great for the creative educator’s inquiring mind. We need to design future schools and classrooms in a way that embraces the exuberance and freedom of being a child, while rebuilding the bridge between the environment and us. The classrooms of the future allow for the extension of learning outside the walls of the classroom and for the inclusion of the outside world within the classroom.

Who will benefit?

Children and teachers will benefit from embracing a more natural learning environment. Children learn more from the actions of adults rather than their words. A teacher cannot effectively incorporate any of the previous recommendations without fully believing in and understanding music and movement as healthy expressions of emotions and the outdoors as an infinite classroom. A teacher must be an authentic role model and teachers will conversely share in the learning if they are willing. But, our home, our planet, the extension of our bodies, and the canvas for our lives, will appreciate it the most.

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”

– Mahatma Ghandi

They are one in the same.

Roots Of Empathy – The Education of the Heart

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.

http://www.rootsofempathy.org/

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.

The Interrupters

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 Interrupters

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/interrupters/

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.

Violence Interrupters

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.”

Youth

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.”

Analysis

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:

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. 


UNOY Peacebuilders

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:

  • Young people are more open to change
  • Young people are future-oriented
  • Young people are idealistic and innovative
  • Young people are courageous
  • Young people are knowledgeable about their peers’ realities (http://www.unoy.org/unoy/who-we-are/our-vision/)

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:

Resources:

UNOY home page http://www.unoy.org/unoy/

 

 

One World Youth Project

I stumbled on the One World Youth Project website while looking online for information for another assignment. However, I was very happy I did after reading more about the project.

One World Youth Project (OWYP) was founded in 2004 by then 18 year-old Jess Rimington as a link between her high school in Massachusetts, USA and a school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The project seeks to effectively respond to global change. Due to global change there is unprecedented migration and the world is experiencing a digital revolution. However, schools around the globe are not preparing youth for the interconnected world. OWYP feels that those prepared to operate within this reality will see this interconnection as an opportunity and those not prepared will see this changing landscape as a threat.

To prevent this threat, One World Youth Project links schools around the world to build mutual respect and understanding among students and provide them with global life skills needed for success in the interconnected 21st century. This is done by the organization establishing a link between education systems. With each partner university, OWYP establishes a service-learning program-a One World Hub-on their campus for the benefit of their students as well as the surrounding secondary school system. OWYP provides a series of trainings that prepare university students as facilitators of cultural exchange between local secondary school classrooms and other OWYP classrooms abroad. After this training, the university students lead a Global Citizenship curriculum in local secondary schools, preparing the younger generation for the interconnected 21st century.

The fact that the OWYP is tailored for college students to help 6th through 12th grade secondary school students is perfect. These secondary students will feel more at ease with the college students, and the college students also get a chance to learn. For a year in a formal education setting the secondary school students learn through deep reflection on intercultural communication, as well as local and global leadership.

Ways to use this resource:
The teacher is ultimately allowing a college student to come in once a week and facilitate this communication for a year (2 semesters). The secondary school students connect with other classrooms abroad through video, voice, letters and the Internet. While students move through the facilitated program once a week in their classroom, their partner peers in the abroad classroom do the same. This connection allows for deep reflection on and constant collaborative investigation of intercultural communication.

The first semesters curriculum focuses on giving students the tools to understand their own cultures and begin the process of exchanging and communicating across cultures. From there the lessons move to issues of global connections and development by introducing the ways in which goods and systems flow around the world and to the concept of the UN and the Millennium Development Goals. Using these tools, students will identify issues in their communities and create plans to address these issues.

As the students move into the second semester with OWYP, students will continue to learn about ways to communicate with people in other cultures by analyzing different forms and systems of communication. Then they will be prepared to participate in collaborative dialogues to create change by identifying key community players and exploring ways to engage them in conversations around community issues. As students move through the program, these plans will turn into actionable service learning projects.

I think it would also be beneficial if the college students that come to facilitate also have one on one time with the students too. They could interact in dialogue or the college student could facilitate experiential learning activities so that the secondary students are also learning from the older college student too.

If a teacher wanted to set up a One World hub at a University near their school, or to find out if one is already established, they could email info@oneworldyouthproject.org.

The end goal of OWYP is to create a just world built through the actions of empowered, discerning and empathetic generations of global citizens. OWYP hopes to accomplish this by facilitating intercultural communication between students of different backgrounds. This type of peace project supports one of the seven pillars of peace education, community building. This pillar focuses on finding things that unite and bind us together as a group, while at the same time respecting and celebrating our differences. Allowing students from different backgrounds to communicate across borders will create a new understanding of what makes them both different and similar. Students that engage in the program will become well-rounded citizens that are able to operate in a diverse world.

Positive Curiosity Through Creative Sharing

http://www.ktki.org/news.html

I firmly believe that for peace to be sustainable it has to start with younger generations and on their terms.  “Kids to Kids International” (KTKI) advocates just that. This very special organization believes in creating a global generation of students who are connected to one another through peace and friendship by creating their own picture books. These books are purely created from the imagination of American students, which are then sent to countries where kids live in refugee camps or don’t have access to books for fun. The non-profit organization started in 1996, by author Pat Kibbe while speaking at a school came across an article featuring a young Cambodian refugee holding his most prized position- a post card of the Empire State Building. She incorporated the story of the young child into her speech, the kids where so excited by this that they wanted to write to him. Realizing that he did not speak English one child suggested that they draw pictures. Pat Kibbe was so delighted by their interest that she was determined for the pictures to be given to the young boy. When she arrived at the refugee camp she realized how powerful the idea could be and the organization was created. KTKI is now connecting with kids from over 50 countries and that number is sure to climb.

This project can be incorporated into any grade level curriculum. Mainly the books are children’s books, stories about friendship, animals, and imaginary places. Not only do these books allow for students to be artistically creative, but teachers can also turn it into a history or social studies lesson. The historical aspect comes from researching the country and the people the books will be going to. Students can learn about geographic locations and cultures. Writing skills can be improved by having students brainstorm, write a draft, and a final idea. KTKI, really believes that by engaging the students with meaningful connections it makes learning about the country much more important and builds a lasting positive impression of people from another part of the world.  The books build trusting friendships between students who will probably never meet each other through sharing. American students get a sense of helping people and learning, while the kids who get to enjoy the books will feel cared about and then also become intrigued to learn about where the books came from. This process creates a mutually shared positive curiosity. With the growing interest in the NGO additional aspects have been created and added to the outgoing packages. School supplies and disposable cameras are added so pictures can be taken of the students who are enjoying the books and then sent back to the American students to enjoy and get a real lasting image of those they have impacted. Maps and pictures of the United States are also included so the kids can emotionally connect with where the books came from. Some of these packages are sent to kids who have never had a book or even seen one.  If the students who are creating the picture books truly grasp that it will forever internalize a connection for them to the world by helping them understand that they can make a difference and do so in a peaceful, positive, and an actual effective way. Even if the gesture is just drawing a picture to share!

“Kids to Kids International” helps students develop a global understanding of their role in the world.  It also incorporates some very important peace pedagogies like international and multicultural education. Depending on the material covered about the country and the grade levels taught human rights and conflict resolution could also be incorporated.  This project allows students to use many of their multiple intelligences from visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Most importantly it gets them excited about helping, connecting, and sharing with the world around them. Lasting peace is created by having students create something that want to share with other kids!