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About

Why isn't PEACE part of the curriculum?

Project Peace

Today I launched Project Peace, a collaborative project where classrooms from all over the world can share peace videos of themselves. Watch the example videos there and download the songs/lyric cards and take pictures of your students. Put them together with the music and bingo! - you have a peace video. I'll be adding up lots of resources for classroom teachers to access for teaching peace.

I launched this project today in memory of John Lennon. Killed Dec. 8th, 1980 - aged 40. His message had always been love, friendship and peace. Especially through the power of music. As a teacher, I remember my early years teaching in the Czech Rep. and every Dec. 8th, going to the John Lennon wall in Karlovy Vary with students (yes, we'd just leave class early!) and singing his songs. Holding candles of hope.

Why isn't "peace" part of the curriculum in our schools? We have everything else it seems. Yet peace gets short shrift - however it is the MOST vital component of education. Presently, our curriculum is formed around teaching "differences". It really truly is. Look at any science or math, or social studies unit. Look deeply and you will see how it is organized in divisions. We teach students from a young age about differences, to see and divide and delineate. Even in the Deweyian sense of school being a social and enculturating mechanism, we teach students about WE, our country, our difference. Nowhere is that most miraculous fact of life celebrated - that we are SIMILAR. Much more similar than different. Alligators, amoeba, Albert Einstein and Mickey Mouse are all more similar than different. We are all invested in LIFE, we are all on this planet earth, we are all part of the miracle that is our journey here......

Why don't we teach similarities and by default PEACE? This age we live in, if you haven't noticed, is an age of the eve of destruction. Death and war and annihilation are norms, you can't turn your head from it , even if you live in a "peaceful" suburb. How do we get our children to stay as children (and this was Picasso's point when he said, "the problem of life is not to become an adult but how to stay as a child". ) and not grow into monsters of destruction? This is John Lennon's message, "give peace a chance". This is my own...... Decide today and participate in something peaceful. It is these small steps that make a difference....
Give Peace a Chance


Establishing lasting peace is the work of education;
all politics can do is keep us out of war.
Maria Montessori

Downloads: 55


Supporter
Comment by Ruth Sheffer on December 16, 2008 at 4:27am
beautifully said, David! you are so right.

Supporter
Comment by ddeubel on December 16, 2008 at 11:38am
Ruth thanks. Shalom, Happy Hanukkah AND Happy Birthday! Enjoy your special day.

I hope in the New Year, once I start promoting it more, I'll get your help with spreading the news of Project Peace.

Peace,
David

Supporter
Comment by Ruth Sheffer on December 16, 2008 at 11:46am
cheers David
bit of a problem with the P word in my part of the world. We do what we can... :-)

Supporter
Comment by ddeubel on December 16, 2008 at 1:29pm
Ruth,

Just small steps..... show people how similar we are by example. It is atemporal. It isn't about time but about being in the right spirit...that is enough.

I think of your difficulties always, that's a longer subject - Israel / Palestine etc..... however, any just person on both sides of the line, must think like a mother. Every child, whatever side, is my child. The line is not across borders. There is no wall around bad. The dividing line is in each of our own hearts.

What can we do? Cultivez votre jardin. Things done in the right spirit are like the wind. We don't see it but it occurs and erodes the mightiest of mountains..... do what you can, whatever is in you....

Hopefully one day we might see a Salomon who will really offer true "judgement".... Or one day, we might really live those powerful words of the sermon of the mount. Or one day we might take the Baal Shem Tov's words to heart....one day but for the moment, let's tend our gardens.


David

Supporter
Comment by Ruth Sheffer on December 16, 2008 at 1:32pm
thanks for your kind thoughts and words
Comment by Ellen Pham on December 16, 2008 at 3:03pm
Happy Birthday, Ruth!

These are absolutely lovely thoughts, from both of you. I had to look up Baal Shem Tov to understand the reference :D.

When I first read your post, David, I thought of the writing exercise I used to sometimes use with kids, cubing. First you describe an object physically, then you write about what it is similar to, then associate it (what it makes you think of)... First time around, I would ask the kids to use the technique to write about an object on their desk, a pen or pencil, etc. Then we would move on to something more "full", such as the rat babies that our classroom pet rat had given birth to a couple weeks before, something really interesting like that. I used it mostly to enhance the kids freewriting, showing them that they really could write a lot more about ANYTHING than they had thought... it seemed really effective with reluctant writers, surprising even.

So I went to look up the activity again. There are three more areas to it, analyze it (hmm, too close to describe it for my tastes with 4/5 grades, don't want to make this tedious), apply it (what can you do with it, ok, that might be interesting), and lastly, Why is it important- but the disturbing part here is this question has been changed from the original to "Argue for or against it" in almost all the sites I visited.

Persuasive arguments have their place, but wouldn't the foundation of an argument of this type, if it exists, be uncovered in the broader question, why is it important? I want to go back and correct all the web sites, at least have them include this broader perspective in their directions for the activity. And so, I came back to thinking about your post again, and how we train and influence children's thinking and ways of interpretatiing the world.

Supporter
Comment by ddeubel on December 18, 2008 at 7:13am
Ellen,

That's very perceptive and it takes a lot to step back and see the "ghost inside the machine" (that's another reference for you, commonly known as "deus ex machina" but used differently by Koestler). I've always been sort of numbed by the fact that we are formed so strongly, solidly in our youth and then when given "freedom" we have no ability to use it. Or spend all the rest of our life, somehow grappling with and scrapping away at the skin we've been made captive of.... One reason I'm really really really dead set against religion in the early years. It does more damage than good, however attempted...

I sometimes want to become the young boy I was - insisting that the world was flat (how evident that was, just take a look! ) even when repeatedly told it was round. I still remain that sceptic!

David

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