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Creating a culture of peace
I saw recently that yet another conference on education was held at UWI recently which was addressed by Minister Lovell Francis. I remember that nearly a year ago another education conference was held at the same venue and nothing came of it. When I heard about this recent one I thought well, here we go again…it’s all just ole talk. I hope I am wrong. As I wrote at the time, consultations are a waste of time unless something is done at the end of them.
If there is to be any change in the education system and we all recognise that there is a dire need for this, the school curriculum must be amended to include the teaching of ethics and morality. Strategies should be introduced to positively shape the conscience of students so that they feel guilt at the mere thought of harming others.
As we can see from what is happening in society, this role can no longer be relegated to the churches. We have no idea of how many children go to church, but we definitely have their attention in school. And to do this we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Internationally, it’s called Creating a Culture of Peace and A Practical Guide for Schools has been written by Hetty van Gurp. Good reading for any teacher who is interested in making a difference in the lives of their students.
This guide was written for educators striving to create a culture of peace within their classrooms and schools. While the journey may have challenges along the way, it is possible to create a school environment in which everyone feels safe, valued and respected. To achieve this, we must teach peace.
Creating a school-wide culture of peace will not happen overnight nor will it happen simply because we wish for it. Starting when children enter school at a young age, we need to actively teach peace and model peaceful ways of living together if we are ever to achieve peace in our communities.
When we speak about teaching peace, we mean teaching the skills and attitudes needed to listen with empathy; express our feelings and concerns in a respectful manner; see problems from the other person’s point of view; be respectful of the diversity among us; work together co-operatively; and resolve conflict peacefully.
It is important to think in terms of including educating for peace as an integral part of our education system.
You will also find many and varied peace education resources available free on the Internet. On the PSI website (wwwpeacefulschoolsinternational.org), there is a section devoted to free online resources. Here can be found a number of excellent curriculum documents with hundreds of practical classroom lessons.
Let’s take a page out of their book.