LIFE SKILLS BUILDING
All these pillars are held together and buttressed by the end goal of building, practicing, and adopting life skills that empower individuals to bring about peace in the world around them – interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, analytical skills, conflict resolution skills, organizing skills, and learning skills.
The key questions for this pillar are:
- How are we encouraging the skills developed in the classroom to be practiced outside of the classroom?
- How can we assess whether or not we are meeting our peace objective?
What’s the point of teaching about peace if it does not bring more peace into the world? What’s the point of teaching conflict resolution skills if those skills are not practiced when conflicts arise? What is the point of building learning communities they don’t create peaceable environments conducive to learning and sharing? What is the point of nurturing emotional intelligence if it doesn’t equip us to be better friends, peers, and people? What is the point of re-framing history it doesn’t impact how we interpret current events and forecast the future of humanity?
Rhetorical questions, yes, but one’s we shouldn’t take for granted. After all, what’s the purpose of education? How often to we actually stop and ask ourselves that question? What is the value of learning? Is it to get a job to make more money? Is it to become better citizens? Is it to replicate
In his book, Ethics for the New Millennium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes, “There is nothing amazing about being rich; there is nothing amazing about being highly educated. Only when the individual has a warm heart do these attributes become worthwhile.”
I adapt this sentiment for the purposes of this course and peace pedagogy in the following ways: there is nothing amazing about being an educator; there is nothing amazing about being a learner; only when the relationships established among these individuals cultivates peace and nonviolence do these roles become worthwhile.
How we relate and connect to others (interpersonal). How we relate and tune in to our feelings, needs, and motivations (intrapersonal). How we discover, interpret and, make sense of life events – past, present, and future (analytical). How we address conflicts (conflict resolution). How we work collectively with others to solve social problems (organizing). And how we engage with, absorb, and share new ideas and information (learning). These are all skills that are developed in classrooms and workshops and whose practice should not remain confined to those spaces but exercised daily in all relevant settings.
Reflection Question: Of all the pillars just presented – community building, engaging multiple intelligences, nurturing emotional intelligence, exploring approaches to peace, re-framing history, and transforming conflict nonviolently – which one requires skills that you are most interested in strengthening to enhance your own work or life? Why?
I am studying peace and conflict resolution but I am personally bad at dealing with conflict. I usually ignore conflict until it gets too much to bear and I then lash out. I would like to gain some tools to help me talk to people. For me (and many people) the easiest solution is to just let things go because it is too uncomfortable to confront others. I think learning how to peacefully resolve conflicts will help me in teaching others how resolve their own conflicts.
I am interested in exploring approaches to peace the most of the pillars because it is the one that I know the least amount about and am unfamiliar as to how “peace” can be taught, applied specifically. I feel that approaches to peace are parts of each pillar but want to know more about how it is a pillar on it’s own.
I am most interested in exploring approached to peace, simply because I do not have a background in peace in general. Henceforth, developing a skillset around this value is something I would like to achieve in the upcoming year. Even more, I would like clarity on what this truly means in day to day situations and in organizations.
I am most interested in nurturing emotional intelligence for many reasons. This affects me personally since I am not a traditional learner. I also have a background in media and want to teach about the natural world. These are not traditional “academic” pursuits but they do take a certain kind of intelligence. I want to help people see the world through a new lens and hopefully help them learn something along the way, whether it’s about themselves, the natural world or media production. Creating media a fun process but it takes a lot of work, discipline, organizing, research and creativity, all skills which everyone should develop. Not only that, but the media created can be used to teach others. I hope to make this my life’s work by creating a curriculum around this process and using it to teach non-traditionally to many different age groups. It combines all my passions into one fun project which I look forward to doing in the future.
Daniel Knoll: I’m most interested in learning more about emotional in multiple intelligences. To me this might be the most difficult pillar because I have a very distinct learning style, and I interact with people in a very particular way. The more I read about diversity in the classroom I worry that my style won’t connect with everyone and I will be an ineffective communicator in the classroom. I would love to learn more skills about teaching to people with different strong suits than mine, especially musical and intrapersonal intelligences.
I am interested mostly in learning skills for community building and engaging multiple intelligences. I think that while all of the pillars are very important for teachers, I think these two probably go the farthest. I want my students to feel like they are a part of a community because that feeling can lead the way for other pillars like nurturing emotions and transforming conflict nonviolently. The stronger the community, the more comfortable students are with each other, the more they respect each other. I think engaging multiple intelligences is equally important in helping students learn in the most effective ways. I think this is a skill that every teacher should possess, and I would like to learn more strategies to identify different learning needs as well as more skills to engage them.
I am most interested in nurturing emotional intelligence. As I mentioned in my response to that particular question, this topic has a certain saliency in my classroom. I want to be able to nurture emotional intelligence for students in dealing with each other – but also in a manner that helps them show empathy towards historical figures and cultures.
I became a social studies teacher because I believe it is essential for students to learn about the world in which they find themselves so that they may be a positive voice in whatever community they find themselves. This is why I am interested in United States history, but also in local histories. I think emotional intelligence is essential to the other big picture items of thees pillars. If students know themselves, they should be able to translate that awareness to their understandings of classmates and historical peoples. If they can do that, perhaps I have done my job just a little better.
I’m most interested in exploring different approaches to peace. I need a fuller definition of what peace means for learners, for myself, and for my community in order to identify what aspects of daily conflict exist, and how best to resolve them peacefully. I think my conception of peace is too grandiose at the moment; ideally I’d like to approach it on a simpler level, so that moments of peace are attainable and peaceable learning environments are possible.
Beth Jimerson. Seeing as I was never a very good history student (much to the dismay of my father- a history professor and archivist) I would like to strengthen my skills of re-framing history. I think that it’s important to study history in order understand the paths that were taken to promote peace and also explore why others tried to destroy it. Through history a lot of good questions and discussions can be brought up to help learners think about and reflect on the importance of peace and why it sometimes doesn’t exist in order to understand how to promote it in a useful way.
Of the pillars presented, I am most interested in strengthening the pillars of exploring approaches to peace and transforming conflict nonviolently. I am most interested in acquiring these skills because I have no background or formal training in these areas and I find myself feeling less confident in teaching about peace without having this full skill set. I enrolled in this course because I do not know much about peace pedagogy but the topic intrigues me. I know that the skills we learn in this course will be incredibly valuable to me personally and professionally and applicable in everyday life.
I am most interested in learning about transforming conflict nonviolently. I feel like I’ve spent most of my classroom experiences with conflict trying to diffuse it and move on so as to not “waste instructional time.” But personally, I could definitely use some development in this area so that I can make the most of those “teachable moments” that arise in daily practice. I also know that this is something my colleagues are interested in working with as well and I’d love to bring back new skills to my school so that we can implement it on a school-wide level.
I want to learn how to build the community I am blessed to be a part of – both personally and professionally. I believe through sincere and honest connections, we add value to life that allows it to transcend from the mundane routine we all fall prey to each day. I want to know who I am and why I do it, and to feel invested in other people. I want my students to experience a feeling of belonging that comes from positivity and encouragement so that they will be armed and prepared to fight upstream to their success.
I am interested in developing skills to work in all the pillars. However, the most pertinent is developing skill to work in exploring approaches to peace. I would like to work as a scholar/practitioner to help enhance and develop new methods of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Specifically, I want to work with youth in direct violence or post-conflict (post accord) situations. I would like to acquire the abilities and skills to develop methods and to analyze them through theoretical frameworks. This would allow for approaches to be shared, adapted, and implemented in varying contexts.