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Cultivating Peace in the 21st Century

Module 1

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

Students undertake an exploration of seven topics related to cultivating peace through a variety of learning activities. This resource is designed to help students develop a better understanding of the forces that can bring about tragedies such as the attack on the World Trade Center and the means by which individuals can contribute to a future of peaceful coexistence. It provides teachers and administrators with concrete mechanisms for integrating peace education into the curriculum and the school environment.  This collection of activities won the 2003 National Peace Education Award, and now has Module 2 available - Cultivating Peace: Taking Action

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches:

  • Problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Detecting bias
  • Building consensus
  • Decision-making skills
  • Research and presentation skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Strengths

This resource is very interesting and highly recommended for students in high school, although it could be used for gr. 9's. It is up-to-date, and supported with the addition of Module 2 (as of 2004). Key strengths of this resource are:

  • Student-directed
  • Excellent resources provided for both students and teachers, with a variety of media
  • Wide variety of methodologies provided and suggested
  • Strong guidance for educators with additional resources, assessment tools and ideas
  • Superb platform for discussion and exploration of these issues for students, not to mention directions for formulating action plans
  • a solid resource for raising awareness of values and promoting peace

Note - this resource has been extended into the Module 2 unit, which has a greater focus on taking action. The Module 2 unit is a wonderful complement to this resource.

Weaknesses

Teachers may find time an issue, depending on their own scheduling issues

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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        • 1750 to 1919: Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies.
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        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
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        • Political Studies: Political institutions and ideology shape both the exercise of power and the nature of political outcomes
        • Social Justice: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Governance (3)

    • Democracy
    • International Relations
    • Non-Violent Conflict Resolution
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (3)

    • Education
    • Social Justice
    • War and Peace

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The resource is designed to offer the students many different perspectives on social issues, conflict resolution, the nature of peace and causes of conflict and violence that lead to war. Race and cultural discrimination are explored, as well as what shapes escalating violence in societies. Many of these issues are controversial, thus sensitivity to these issues, especially moral and ethical aspects, are encouraged.

The resource offers a medium for students to assess their own world and social views. The Declaration of Human Rights is a key component to review and discuss in the lessons as a foundation position on what human rights are.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

There are significant aspects dealing with the moral, ethical, political and social factors, and how they interrelate. There is not as much emphasis on the environment or economic factors that can also lead to conflict.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

There are many opportunities for students to assess an issue and discuss ways to problem solve for peaceful resolutions. There are relevant case studies, film clips, articles and proactive suggestions provided as a foundation to understanding and working with these situations. Through discussion, teachers can assist students in the process of consensus, negotiation and compromise.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

This resource provides a great variety of suggestions and explanations of how students can be proactive with these issues - from writing letters to the appropriate people or government bodies, to staging peaceful and well-organized protests and educating the student body in school to the community. Throughout the exploration of these issues, it is reinforced that each person has a role to play in promoting peace in the world, in their community, in their school, and how their one voice can make a difference.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

In this resource, the teacher's role is much stronger as a debriefer and facilitator - allowing students the freedom and necessary time to fully discuss and clarify their own perspectives, values and opinions.   There are many opportunities for students to do this. It is critical however, for the teacher to oversee discussions, as some issues may be very controversial. Respect and sensitivity for other people's beliefs must be modeled and promoted.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

Many different cultures and minority groups are presented in a respectful and thoughtful manner - encouraging students to understand and empathize with their struggles past and present in today's world. There are wide-ranging perspectives and many potentially controversial social ideas and beliefs which some students may feel uncomfortable with. These situations provide a important opportunity for teachers to help debrief the issues and allow students a safe environment to assess their own perspectives and become sensitive to these issues.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered

This resource has a focus on human rights, war and peace, and their political, ethical, moral and social aspects. There really isn't very much attention given to non-human species nor the environment per se.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good

The topics presented are relevant to students, because they apply to everyone in varying degrees, and certainly exist within our own country and our communities. Whether it is dealing with the school bully to experiencing racial, sexual, cultural or ethnic slurs, many of the issues that cause social conflict are well known by students - directly or indirectly.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good

Most, if not all, Canadian students are well-aware of Canada's role and reputation as promoting peace, and providing peace-makers and support to war-torn countries. When exploring these topics, students become more aware of our past, our role in the present and future, and how they can act to support peace.

The resource is very proactive and teaches students to also be proactive in raising awareness and promoting peace.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Students are able to express their own values and views in a variety of ways. While some activities can be based on consensus-building, the perspective of each individual is encouraged and important.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good

In considering various aspects of political, moral, ethical, social and human rights, students are given opportunities to explore all of these inter-relationships and to see "the big picture". Applications of these issues can range from high school experiences of racial,  sexual discrimination to global conflict, past and present.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

With the articles, film, handouts and classroom discussion, students are given a variety of means to explore and become knowledgeable about these concepts. It really depends on how the teacher chooses to deliver the materials; it could be a passive learning experience.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Very Good

Due to the nature of this resource, it is very easy to address a diversity of learning styles. There are many ways to have students participate in the discussions, activities, projects and awareness-raising through assemblies, skits etc. It is really only limited by the teacher's own imagination and teaching strategies.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

Depending on the community resources available in a given school district and the diversity of cultures represented, teachers may bring in guest speakers to address some of the issues. Students may feel comfortable sharing their own related experiences.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good

Many opportunities are provided for cooperative learning, class discussion and small group work. Some individual activities, such as letter-writing, could also be adapted into a group activity.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good

Students can actively demonstrate their knowledge and skills through presentations, letters and contributions to class discussions. Students can develop a journal or portfolio to record their learning's, self-reflection and opinions. There are self-assessment models provided as part of the resource.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

Through classroom discussion, consensus building, presentations, and small group explorations, students may actively demonstrate their knowledge and skills to their peers. Teachers could choose to have students take aspects of an issue, research it and present their findings to the class as peer educators, or go beyond the classroom to the community.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

The case studies presented are topical, informative, interesting, thought-provoking and relevant to students.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

There are many opportunities for students to go beyond the activities presented, and suggestions are provided in some areas. The opportunities depend on how the teacher facilitates the process.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.