Town Hall Meeting #2

What is Peace Education?

13:45-15:45 HSC-1A1

Prepared by Karl Shuve

Moderator: Sue McGregor (Professor of Peace Studies, Mount Saint Vincent U)

Panelists: Heather MacTaggart (Executive Director, Classroom Connections), Gudrun Howard (B.C. Teachers for Peace and Global Education), Seddika Abdelkader (student), Taj Saran (Teachers’ College Graduate), Joanna Santa Barbara (Professor of Psychology), Lori Adams (Principal)


Introductions and Opening Comments


Gudrun Howard:

-         classroom teacher in BC for 20 years

-         working with teachers on Peace Education

-         brings with her a “classroom” perspective

-         drawn to looking for different approaches

-         spent time studying/teaching in Thailand

-         Program for Living Values:

-         Celebrate UN 50th anniversary

-         12 universal values: Peace, Respect, Love, Tolerance/Acceptance, Happiness, Honesty, Humility, Co-operation, Simplicity, Unity, Freedom, Responsibility

-         3 books for teachers

-         used in over 70 countries, translated into 30 languages

-         cross-cultural approach

-         heart-driven

-         free training

-         she acts as National Co-ordinator for the program

-         child-centred; experiential

-         use imagination to develop better world: what does the future look like?

-         cannot teach peace if not striving to be peaceful ourselves


Seddika Abdelkader:

-         former career in accounting

-         diagnosed with breast cancer

-         anxiety caused by fear

-         started volunteering with other cancer patients

-         human connectedness (barriers of language, colour, religion fall away)

-         fear is imposed upon us by “otherness” of those around us

-         peace is feeling of security through connectedness to whole of humanity

-         talk more about what we share in common


Taj Saran:

-         peace ed needs to be about life skills

-         it used to include developing healthy self-regard so that respect will flow to others

-         this is neglected in current ed; now system of behaviour-reward

-         society’s fascination with armed conflict evident in classroom

-         each World War given 3 weeks of class time

-         up to discretion of individual teacher how much time spent of pacifism

-         need to develop critical thinking skills

-         there exists the perpetuation of “us and them” mentality

-         students not being encouraged to co-operate

-         peace ed about shift in mentality

-         style, climate, topics, discussion need to be re-evaluated


Lori Adams:

-         K-8 principal in Sudbury

-         African proverb: “it takes a whole village to a raise a child”

-         Schools not isolated entities

-         “World Class Schools” initiative

-         create peaceful school community

-         1. Character ed program – survey to prioritize top 10 character traits

-         2. Terrific Kids program

-         3. Conflict Resolution program


Heather MacTaggart:

-         “Classroom Connections”

-         national independent non-profit organization

-         encourage societal change through parenting and education

-         develop free curriculum to schools and free parenting info

-         corporate/federal government sponsorship

-         work and school board level

-         focus on: peace; empowerment; parents

-         kids come out as great human beings, not robots

-         Sept 11th raised awareness in schools for need for peace ed


Joanna Santa Barbara :

-         part of centre for peace studies

-         peace ed in Afghanistan

-         peace as relationship of mutual benefits with non-violent resolution to conflicts

-         1. Peace ed needs to be an ongoing activity like teaching kids hygiene

-         tendency to dominant hierarchies

-         tendency to obedience

-         tendency to identify with certain groups

-         2. Not just teach about peace but live it

-         re-examination of structure of education

-         3. A lot more evaluation of efficacy of programs


Summary by Sue McGregor:

-         Peace ed is…

-         value-laden; heart-driven; finding a definition for peace; mutual respect; truth; human connectedness; critical aalysis; classroom management; tied to community; about parenting; about producing great human beings; understanding ourselves; happening all the time


Questions and Comments from the floor:


-         Peace ed is implemented at school in Switzerland and noticeable reduction in bullying and conflict

-         Parents foster competition in children by rewarding excellence heavily

-         Need for teachers to be sensitive to cultural differences; more training needed for this

-         Need to engage in serious analysis (statistically) of the programs that we run because this is seriously neglected

-         Language can be a cultural barrier because words have different connotations in different cultures

-         Q: Are cultural sensitivity and inclusivity the same thing?

-         A: Inclusivity comes from a dominant hierarchy that assumes all must be included

-         Art can be a bridge to cultural integration and understanding

-         We need to build a moral foundation based on tolerance that fosters respect for all before we start planning a Utopia

-         Any list of values compiled must in essence be culturally biased; it cannot be neutral

-         If we are confident in our work and values, we can be confident to dialogue with anyone and hope that anyone can change