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Meaningful contexts for Peace Education.

Many schools throughout the United States have mandated some form of character education, peace education, or conflict resolution. The Peace Education Network hopes to encourage an exchange of ideas about what schools and teachers are doing that works and doesn't work. An article in The Washington Post (Kalita, 2003) describing a newly adopted Character Education Day at a local high school indicated that the students found the lectures and skits presented that day to have little meaning for them. This column will suggest more effective ways to make such efforts meaningful and will offer practical resources.

What is hot effective? A one-day event that is unconnected to the students' everyday lives. What is effective? An ongoing concern for issues of peace, caring, and conflict resolution, integrated throughout the day and the curriculum, in ways that are age-appropriate and respect students' knowledge and experiences. Rather than being an add-on, peace and caring can be part of the curriculum (Noddings, 1995). Such themes as caring for the environment and addressing hunger and homelessness can be incorporated into the science, social studies, math, and literacy curricula.

In building this approach, teachers need information about available resources. The Internet offers resources and helps us learn from models that are working. In some localities, Peace Centers serve the community and beyond with a variety of programs. Many also provide online resources for those who live elsewhere. Perhaps the most significant message to be gained from these centers is that there is action on behalf of peace education in many places. We have collected a few examples of Peace Centers. Visit the Web sites for models of local programs, lists of resources, and links to other peace organizations. If you are familiar with a Peace Center or programs and resources near you, please let us know so that we may highlight those programs in future columns.

* Worldwide: The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. It maintains a video and film lending library with an online catalog of hundreds of videos and films. www.afsc.org

* Connecticut: The Connecticut Center for Peace Education Pax Educare (Hartford, CT) serves community schools, pre-K through higher education, with training in peace and conflict studies, working with local schools and teaching a course, "Making Peace Where I Live," that is part of an international peace education curriculum, www.paxeducare.org

* Pennsylvania: Bucks County Peace Center (Langhorne, PA) serves local communities and schools with a program of training in conflict resolution and peace education. The Center is supported by United Way of Bucks County and an active Quaker community. It offers a Project Peace for Schools, which fosters "peace education and violence prevention for administrators, educators and support staff, students, and parents with continued follow-up and support over a three-year period." www.comcast.com/~peace/index.html

* Virginia: Richmond Peace Education Center carries out peace education and violence prevention in area schooLs, www.rpec.org

* Ohio: Cincinnati Center for Peace Education offers programs in area schools "to resolve conflicts constructively" with a Peace Team model for children and an annual Peace Camp. www.cincinnati-peace.org

* Ohio: The Lion and the Lamb Peace Arts Center of Bluffton College, in existence since 1987, has collected more than 5,000 children's books on peace-related and multicultural topics; it also houses a fine arts collection, www.bluffton.edu/lionlamb

* Ohio: The Wilmington College Peace Resource Center offers rentals of peace-related films and videos. It also has a Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Collection and holds the annual Westheimer Peace Symposium. www.wilmington.edu/manilla/peace/home.html

* Texas: Dallas Peace Center is a local model with an annual Peace Camp for children and a Peace Library. www.dallaspeacecenter.org

References

Kalita, S.M. (2003, October 22). At school, the issue is character. The Washington Post, p. B08.

Noddings, N. (1005). Teaching themes of care. Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 675-679.

Edyth Wheeler, Towson University, wheeler@towson.edu

Aline Stomfay-Stitz, University of North Florida, astomfay@unf.edu
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Title Annotation:Peace Education Network
Author:Stomfay-Stitz, Aline
Publication:Childhood Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2004
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