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The Unseen Harvest: Educating for peace in a culture of war


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Title: The Unseen Harvest: Educating for peace in a culture of war

The Unseen HarvestEducating for peace in a
culture of war
  • A presentation on peace education
  • by Susan Gelber

  • Peace education aims to change an existing
    paradigmacceptance of war as a method of solving
    international problemsto a new paradigmone in
    which human rights, social justice, sustainable
    development, and creative diplomacy are promoted
    as effective paths to national and international

War wounds soldier and civilian alike.
These pictures of my father sanitize the war he
fought in nightmares for 60 years.
The Human Cost of WarArt by J. Kadir Cannon
  • War, it must be recognized, even for those
    who support the conflict, distorts and damages
    those sent to fight it. No one walks away from
    prolonged exposure to such violence unscathed,
    although not all come back disturbed. Our leaders
    mask the reality of war with abstract words of
    honor, duty, glory and the ultimate sacrifice.
    These words, obscene and empty in the midst of
    combat, hide the fact that war is venal, brutal,
    disgusting Chris Hedges (in a newspaper
    commentary, The Myth and Reality of War)

  • As a daughter, as a wife, as a mother, and as
    a teacher, I want to know why we are allowing
    this as a society? In my classroom, I refuse to
    support the myth of war any more. I want to teach
    the paradigm of peace. Education is, quite
    simply, peace building by another name. It is
    the most effective form of defense spending there
    is.Kofi Annan, Secretary General, U.N.

What are we teaching?
  • What struck me as I began to study history was
    how nationalist fervorinculcated from childhood
    on by pledges of allegiance, national anthems,
    flags waving and rhetoric blowingpermeated the
    educational systems of all countries, including
    our own. I wonder now how the foreign policies
    of the United States would look if we wiped out
    the national boundaries of the world, at least in
    our minds, and thought of all children everywhere
    as our own. Then we could never drop an atomic
    bomb on Hiroshima, or napalm on Vietnam, or wage
    war anywhere, because wars, especially in our
    time, are always wars against children, indeed
    our children. --Historian Howard Zinn
  • "We must inoculate our children against
    militarism, by educating them in the spirit of
    pacifism... Our schoolbooks glorify war and
    conceal its horrors. They indoctrinate children
    with hatred. I would teach peace rather than war,
    love rather than hate. --Albert Einstein

Think. Care. Act.
  • I have identified three imperatives in my
    teaching enhancing critical thinking in my
    students, helping inculcate in these future
    leaders a heightened sense of cultural competence
    (the ability to understand and interact
    constructively with people whose backgrounds and
    beliefs differ from their own) and helping
    students turn moral thinking into moral action.

  • 1. Adolescents, while egocentric and
    self-absorbed, have more anger and fear about
    social injustice, international relations, global
    security, and issues of war and peace than we
    think they do, and these fears undermine their
    academic and social success.
  • 2. Media bombardment does not help them evaluate
    information effectively. They need guidance to
    become informed and to help them think critically
    about historical and current events. And, they
    need the opportunity to express their fears and
    their hopes in a safe and supportive environment.
  • 3. We must teach young adolescents aboutand give
    them opportunities to becomeexemplars of
    nonviolent, courageous action for peace and
    justice. This means supplementing textbooks that
    overemphasize military heroes and providing
    students with heroes of non-violence. It also
    means giving students the opportunity to ACT for
    social change.
  • 4. Teaching critical thinking, cultural
    competence, and moral actionteaching children to
    think, care, and act is key to the development
    of future leaders able to peacefully and
    productively serve their fellow citizens.

  • The Socratic love of wisdom holds that to be
    human and a democratic citizen requires that one
    muster the courage to think critically for
    oneself. Cornell West, Democracy Matters

Columbus Conundrum
Question the myths!
Utopia Project
Your mission To design an ideal community in
North America from 1600-1700s. Everything you
decide to do must be chosen because you believe
it will result in the most fair, sustainable,
and positive outcomes for all involved.
  • We had to use critical thinking I would
    think of something and debate it with
  • You cant go back in time and change stuff, but
    it did make me think in a new way
  • I learned how to make a successful community,
    which we will have in the future
  • I learned that you need to think beyond
    --Student evaluations of the
    Utopia Project

American History Research Projects
The topics students choose are often lesser known
stories of U.S. history. They respond favorably
to the challenge My favorite topic was the
Multimedia Project, because I got to pick a
topic, study it for a month, and present the
topic to my class. I got to elaborate on
something I chose to studyIt also made me think.
Formal and informal DEBATES are another method
for enhancing critical thinking.
  • Citizens who cultivate their humanity need an
    ability to see themselves as not simply citizens
    of some local region or group but also, and above
    all, as human beings bound to all other human
    beings by ties of recognition and concern.Martha
    Nussbaum, speech, Wesleyan University 2002

  • Bullying is people calling names, stealing,
    occasionally beating people up. It usually
    happens at school during recess. People bully to
    get attention. He or she might be going through
    tough times, such as parents getting divorced.
    Bullies are just wimps who try and act tough to
    be cool. You just have to stand up to them.
    But, dont be too meanthat means youre becoming
    the bully! --6th grade boy

  • What is bullying? I think that bullying is a
    form of putting people down, being secretive to
    outsiders, making them seem less popular and
    pushed down. Its not like its described in
    books. It happens almost everywhere, with almost
    everyone. In cliques and groups. Sometimes
    people can tease other people about nothing.Then
    everyone else will roll their eyes, giggle a
    little, say something negative, whisper or talk
    quietly about you
  • What can you do about it? Have a happy
    atmosphere at home. Make a list of things that
    make you happy. Talk to a parent who understands
    and knows all the mean things that people (girls)
    can do, and who knows all the girls and their
  • For teachers Realize that these things happen,
    and if they do and you see it, talk it out.6th
    grade girl

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry
  • How can reading literature help you understand
    yourself and others?
  • Can a novel make you change?
  • How do racial issues affect people in the story?
  • How do racial issues affect you?

Race relations in America
As a white teacher it is important to me to teach
about race and other identity issues.
I invite guest speakers, and use books, movies,
and discussion to help all children understand
racism in the book, in the past, and in the
world today.
Heritage Interview
  • My fathers ancestors also embraced the
    old-boy network, something of which I am not so
    proud. The old-boy network is a system that
    let the rich, white, Christian children stick
    together and exclude people of different faiths
    and ethnicities Even though there have been good
    people and bad in my family, my parents hope that
    I will take after the good people. They also
    hope, however, that I will not forget about my
    more oppressive ancestors so that I never become
    like them This project has been truly enjoyable
    and quite a fun learning experience. I look
    forward to finding out more about my family.6th
    grade boy

  • Before having the interview with my mom, I
    hadnt thought about how important it was to know
    about my heritage. Now I can understand my
    behavior, my traditions, why my granddad loves to
    eat honey and tarts (German tradition), and why
    some persons in my family have blue eyes (my
    sister and my great aunts).
  • All the persons must know where they come from,
    it helps them to understand other people and
    themselves. Even thought we are born in a
    specific country, we are connected to other
    countries and different traditions through our
    heritage. -- 6th grade boy

How do racial issues affect you?
  • A black girl responds
  • This was the first time I thought my classmates
    really understand some of the things I have to go
    through everyday. It made me angry, but after we
    discussed it, I felt better. I think we should
    read this book in sixth grade. This is the grade
    when racial discrimination begins

Can a novel make you change?
  • A white boy responds,
  • Children cant change the past, but they can
    surely change the future, and the sorrow and
    sadness that the kids share will make the
    children reading the book unite and ban racial
    cruelty forever. Thank you for having us read

  • We overwhelm children with all the suffering and
    evil in the world, but do we enable them to act?
    --Sister Joan Magnetti in Thomas Lickonas
    Educating for Character.

  • Peace education does not just mean a peaceful
    classroom. It suggests a learning environment
    in which students are acting to resolve problems,
    working with others, and taking on challenging
    tasks. --Ian Harris, How Children
    Understand War and Peace

Citizenship Action Project CAP
Students change the worldone step at a time by
helping the environment, animals, and people in
social action projects.
  • It was fun working with my friends for a good
    cause. We could have been sitting at home
    watching television that Saturday, but instead we
    were out in the cold having a lot of fun.
    Picking up trash was disgusting, but we helped
    the environment around us. - Kati

  • A problem I am trying to solve is the
    endangerment of raptors, or birds of prey. This
    is a national problem because most raptors are
    endangered. Im educating people about raptors,
    specifically a snowy owl I gave money to

  • I think it is great to turn something I love to
    do into a commitment for society. I would
    normally think a project like this is boring, and
    I did until Will suggested making comics for the
    homeless shelter children. I think its helpful
    for both us and the children at the shelter that
    we are working together for the greater good.
    -- Graham

  • When I think about the fact that I sent a child
    to school, I feel amazed. I gave a child an
    education. I gave that child a part of their
    future. Sophia
  • Who knows, they can be the future leaders of the
    world. One thing Id like to change is for more
    people to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of
    happiness. Devi

There is more good in the world
  • There is a simple way to avoid pessimism about
    the bad things that tend to pop up daily When
    you think about all the little kind acts that
    people perform almost systematically, the good in
    the world completely outweighs the bad Gandhi
    resisted fighting the British, despite their
    oppression and violence towards his people. Dr.
    Martin Luther King Jr. used the same methods of
    holding back from violence, even when his
    persecutors used violence against him. Both
    leaders could easily have given in to bombs and
    guns. They did not because they are good people,
    and they knew that violence only clouds reason.
    Good still exists. Its quiet, often acting in
    small ways, but its significance is a shout in an
    empty room. It fills the space, reverberating,
    never dying. It all comes down to how you
    perceive the glasshalf full or half empty?Anna

Id Rather Teach Peace
  • Over the years other teachers have suggested
    that I offer what they call balance in my
    courses, that I give students the other side
    What I have a surety about is that students come
    into my classes already well educated, often
    overeducated, in the ethic of violenceI cant in
    conscience teach the other side. Students have
    already been saturated with it. No, I say, my
    course is the other side. Coleman McCarthy,
    Id Rather Teach Peace

Peacemakers Class Nobel to Neighborhood
  • In my teaching I have always felt that it was
    the lives of individuals that made history real
    to students, and in researching the biographies
    of the laureates I was especially interested in
    their personal stories and why they did what they
    did. A chief motive for me was to portray the
    best of the prize winners as examples for the
    rest of us, especially young people, to try to
    emulate.Irwin Abrams, Nobel Peace Prize

Websites for teachers and students Teach
Peace!China Today! Life in the U.S. A.! And
  • Visit my web page at
  • On my homepage at the Episcopal Academy, I have
    also created web pages to promote peace
  • http//

  • In The Last True Story Ill Ever Tell, Iraq
    War veteran John Crawfords account of his
    experience of the war in Iraq, Crawford quotes
    Nazi Hermann Goering, speaking at the Nuremburg
    Trials after WWII
  • Naturally, the common people dont want war, but
    after all, it is the leaders of the country who
    determine the policy, and it is always a simple
    matter to drag the people along, whether it is a
    democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a
    parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice
    or no voice, the people can always be brought to
    the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All
    you have to do is tell them they are being
    attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of
    patriotism and exposing the country to danger.
    It works the same in every country. Hermann

We must prove Goering wrong. Educate thinking,
caring, and active citizens.
Enduring understandings about peace education
  • 1. Teachers teach peace in their manner,
    classroom atmosphere and curriculum. First you
    have to love them Avi
  • 2. Peace education encompasses various categories
    includingglobal peace education, conflict
    resolution programs, violence prevention
    programs, global development education, and
    non-violence education.Ian Harris
  • 3. Children benefit in the short and long term,
    and in academic and social domains, when actively
    taught about nonviolent solutions to local and
    global problems.
  • 4. Effective peace education strategies are
    varied they may be overt and separate,
    integrated into the curriculum (especially in the
    humanities and sciences), as well as part of the
    daily structure of the school and classroom
  • 5. If we dont teach our children peace,
    someone else will teach them violence. Coleman

Why Teach Peace???
  • Knowledge about peace, conflict, and war is
    acquired during childhood and applied to the
    understanding of interpersonal and intergroup
    relations. This early learning is often the
    foundation upon which new beliefs and perceptions
    are formedEducation toward a culture of peace,
    however, is not an easy undertaking. Peace is
    considered a second-order concept derived from
    the first-order concept of war, a passive
    concept which makes it extremely difficult to
    formulate activities which relate to peace.
    Whereas children have no problems when asked to
    play war, a total lack of activity and blank
    stares are observed when children or even adults
    are asked to play peace. -- Amiram Raviv,
    Louis Oppenheimer, and Daniel Bar-Tal,
    How Children Understand War and Peace

The Unseen Harvest
  • Conversation with Irwin Abrams
  • Me How do I answer those who criticize peace
    education as being too slow to be effective?
    (What do I tell myself? is what I really
  • Irwin We work for the unseen harvest.

The fruits of their labor
Nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins led to
desegregation of Nashville businesses over a
five-month period.
Chiles new president, Michelle Bachelet was held
in torture centers in the 1970s by dictator
Augusto Pinochet. After years in exile, she was
elected president of Chile in 2006.
Gandhis non-violent salt march in 1930 led to
Indian independence 17 years later. Gandhis
teachings inspired the nonviolent American Civil
Rights Movement.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela of
South Africa led the country to reconciliation
after nearly 50 years of Apartheid rule.
Lech Walesa led non-violent movement for human
rights in Poland over a period of twenty years.
The United Nations declared 2001-2010 The
International Decade for a Culture of Peace and
Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
What are we doing to teach peace?
  • If we are to reach real peace in the world, we
    shall have to begin with the children.

    --Mohandas Gandhi

Pictures from Canadian Red Cross
Make a Plan to Teach Peace
  • 1. What will you keep?
  • 2. What will you change?
  • 3. What will you try?
  • 4. What will you suggest?
  • 5. Contact info?

Susan Gelber Cannon Episcopal Academy 376 N.
Latches LaneMerion, PA 19072 U.S.A. cannon_at_ea178
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