If you've taught K-12, you've been there. A new mandate to plan for. A new test to scantron. Another inservice that may or may not be led by someone who has taught K-12 in the past decade. (Those who run these teacher trainings who have not taught run the risk of getting eaten alive.)

And they want us to "teach peace" too? They want us to seriously be responsible for the moral, social development of students we see 45 minutes a day on a good week? A week without fights, assemblies, tornado drills, fire drills, bomb scares, parent conferences, special ed conferences, state tests to proctor, open houses....

Sometimes, because of the reality I note above, it's almost impossible for teachers today to imagine adding one more thing to that list. So in that spirit, I say take heart! For exhausted, besieged teachers everywhere who would love to "teach peace" if there were only five spare seconds in the day, did you know you are probably already doing it?

It's closer than you think!

You might already be teaching peace if….

1.If you read works like To Kill a Mockingbird and 12 Angry Men with your students because you want them to understand the seeds of hate and prejudice.

2.If you read works like Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 so they know how important it is to think for themselves.

3.If your students know the words “doublethink” and/or “scapegoat”.

4.If you’ve ever told a kid that “it gets better”.

5.If you’ve encouraged a kid to power off and reconnect with nature.

6.If you’ve called a parent to tell her how great her kid is.

7.If you’ve invited a kid to write or speak about struggles s/he’s facing.

8.If you’ve taken a group overseas so they understand other kids better.

9.If you’ve involved kids in making the rules of the classroom.

10.If you’ve formed a partnership with a community organization.

If you're already doing those things or many more, you may already be teaching peace! You're already "being the change".

Got other suggestions of things teachers are already doing to "teach peace"? I invite you to leave them in the comments.

Views: 148

Tags: education, justice, peace, reform, social, testing


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Comment by Cheryl Duckworth, Ph.D. on June 22, 2011 at 9:45am
I've got the current one hanging in my office, Bill!  Many thanks for sharing the resource.
Comment by Bill Warters on June 22, 2011 at 9:39am

Teachers looking for quick ways to teach Peace in a busy schedule might really appreciate the free Conflict Resolution Education Teacher's Calendar available online at www.creducation.org/cre/teachers/calendar

A new edition is in the works for next year. Preorders can be placed up until June 30....see this form for details.

Comment by Cheryl Duckworth, Ph.D. on June 21, 2011 at 12:49pm

Wow, I'm smiling! 


@Elizabeth, Stephanie, there's not a greater honor for me. :)  Stephanie, you're teachers came up with a great list.  "I statements" are a great addition. 


@Pamela, I especially love the addition of allowing students to evaluation us (!!).  I just did so with some grad students. 


@Muhammad, thank you for your example!


@Potre, thank you for the reminder of the incredible importance of language. 


Paul, Anne, my pleasure and thanks! 


Looking foward to continued learning and dialogue, all!  I'm at cheryl.duckworth@nova.edu


In peace,


Comment by Elizabeth Gerhold Fautsch on June 21, 2011 at 12:41pm
Thanks for this - I posted on FB and twitter; sent to teacher friends; also parents. We are the change, right?
Comment by Stephanie Knox Cubbon on June 21, 2011 at 12:34pm

Hi again, Cheryl!

I wanted to let you know I used this blog in a workshop today with educators.  We used it as a way to frame an "assets assessment" (yesterday we had done a needs assessment about what they wanted to learn from the 4-day workshop on peace education. Today we used this to think about how they are already doing peace education).
This is the list they came up with:

...you are aware of special needs both inside and outside the classroom and communicate these needs.
...you try to be positive (smile, greet people, friendly) and respectful (even/especially to strangers)

...you take an active interest in your students' lives (you know about their lives, ask questions, etc)

...you appreciate (or are passionate about) cultural differences (and celebrate those differences)

...you are open and adaptive

...you lead by example

...you act nonviolently (and not passively/as a bystander)

...you respect nature and care for the environment.

Thanks for the inspiration!


Comment by Center for Nonviolence & Peace on June 21, 2011 at 12:19pm

Rock On Cheryl!

Keep these ideas and thoughts coming.

Education is the key process for nonviolence and peace to become a way of life.


Paul BdeM

Comment by Anne Muyupi Musunga on June 21, 2011 at 8:25am
Cheryl.. inspiring. They say small is big and indeed its in the smallest of things, things that we take for-granted, words of kindness, words that seem so small yet so powerful that the greatest emotions are felt.  Acts of kindness,  being aware and conscious to treat the other the way you would like to be treated.  Putting yourself in the others shoes.  Things that should indeed be taught to our children if we are to see a positive change, a culture of peace begin to take root in our communities
Comment by Stephanie Knox Cubbon on June 21, 2011 at 8:11am
...if you teach your students to use "I-statements."
Comment by Pamela G Poon on June 21, 2011 at 7:38am
Hi Cheryl: Oh there are so many more - if you have referred students to peer mediation, if you have asked students "what do you think?," if you have allowed students to evaluate you and your teaching, if you have asked students to put themselves in the shoes of another person and talk about what that might be like, if you yourself have participated in mediation within the school community, if you have ever openly admitted to a student that you were wrong, if you have ever apologized sincerely to a student for something you did wrong, etc.  The heart of these acts is having respect for the student as an equal participant in the school community.  Not necessarily as an equal in learning, wisdom or judgment but as someone who has equal standing, equal rights as well as equal responsibilities in the school community. Bravo to all teachers who are teaching peace or who are working towards teaching peace.
Comment by Muhammad Iqbal on June 21, 2011 at 6:49am

Well written, all these areas are very much relevant to teaching peace. During my teaching career, I have doing few the mentioned practices in my class. Particularly the last two, had been a regular feature of my involvement with the students, and I have strongly felt that these practices enormously contribute in promoting peace and tolerance.


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