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War and peace in the curriculum.

The author, born in 1927, has lived through the following wars participated in by the United States:

World War Two, 1941-1945

The Korean War, 1950-1953

The Vietnamese War, 1962-1974

The Gulf War, 1991

The Iraq War, 2003

In this article he describe a point of few concerning war and peace.


Wars and rumors of wars seemingly abound and are in the offing. In 1999, the United States bombed Belgrade, Serbia over the rule of Slovadon Milosevich and his acts against the Bosnians, the Croations, and the Albanians. The bombing was for horrible treatment of the later three nations, formerly a part of Yugoslavia together with Serbia. The author served as a teacher and relief worker in the West Bank of the Jordan River 1952- 1954. The Palestinian Arab refugees then numbered approximately one million. Now in 2003, there are four million Palestinian Arab refugees, and the future of these refugees indeed looks bleak with more, no doubt, in the offing.

Negative results of war include (1. an increased number of homeless people (2. destroyed and damaged homes (3. places of business bombed and eliminated (4. remaining land mines in rural areas (5. killed and maimed military men and civilians (6. grieving people over loved ones who have died during a war (7) fear of more war and its aftermath 8) mental illnesses of those who saw the worst possible situations in war, be it as a soldier or a civilian 18. loss of money for education and welfare due to the money going to finance the heavy cost of war (9. redoing a government, domestically, for a defeated nation after a war (10. a lack of aide for a defeated nation coming from the victorious countries.

Generally, during wartime and its aftermath, helpless children of a country under heavy seize suffer the most. However, the parents of children truly suffer equally much when there is no/too little food for starving offspring. Hopelessness Is a major outcome of wars.

Advocates of Intervention in War

There are generally many people in a nation who advocate wars to defeat the enemy. These nations tend to be stronger militarily than their enemy. A possible losing nation in a war hardly would advocate an offense against its enemy. But defensively, all nations tend to fight their foe. Reasons given for an offensive war:

* now is the time for war rather than later on when the enemy has chances to become stronger militarily.

* the enemy nation has weapons of mass destruction which need to be destroyed.

* a regime change is necessary to implement democracy in the enemy dictatorship.

* an alliance is needed to destroy the enemy so that the world knows it is not one nation only, that wants a regime change. However, if this is not possible, then a nation needs to act unilaterally.

* the enemy nation must be totally disarmed by force. Force is the only language which the enemy understands.

* the deadline needs to be established whereby the enemy nation is totally disarmed. The deadline needs to hurry along the earliest date for disarmament, be it reasonable or unreasonable, set by the United Nations. If the United Nations does not agree to setting the date for beginning the war, the dominant nation will go it alone, regardless of public opinion.

* other nations will be told to rebuild the defeated country. Once a nation is defeated, the victor has no responsibility for the defeated country.

* victors in war have always given the good things to people in their society. Pacifists have freedom to protest due to the military's endeavors of obtaining complete victory. They have not been helpful in the war efforts.

* saluting the flag and saying the pledge of allegiance each day helps in showing patriotism.

* each person owes it to his/her country to unite in fighting the enemy.

* indoctrination of others and repeating patriotic slogans in society are important in securing followers in war time.

* all means must be used to win a war, no matter how horrible. Wars are fought to survive the onslaught of the enemy (See Ediger and Row, 2002, Chapter nine).

A Model of and for Peace Education

Peace education has never been a popular topic in school and in society. Perhaps, there are a plethora of reasons for this occurrence. Many view peace education as being a weak pillar in society. Peace education indicates a surrender to the enemy. It has no basis for advocating solutions to problems among nations. There is only so far that a country can go in diplomacy before a blind alley becomes visible. The enemy cannot be convinced any further, in diplomatic efforts, beyond a specific point or place, according to the thinking of many. Perhaps, some are not interested injustice. Then too, selected groups have faced discrimination and it would indeed be difficult to make up for the evils of the past. African Americans were brought in as slaves in to United States against their will. When given their freedom in the middle nineteenth century, they were ill prepared for their role in society. They had been held down as slaves so that they would not question their lot in life. But as is true in so many cases, there are the Frederic Douglasses and the Martin Luther King, Jrs. who question their lot, as given to them by others, and arise to shed off the yoke. One actually has no choice but to be accepting by others in working for justice and equality. Adler (1981) states there are six powerful ideas which all should achieve to become a good citizen in a democracy. These are truth, goodness, beauty, liberty, equality, and .justice. Negative consequences follow when individuals and groups violate these standards.

Democracy is an ideal to emphasize in school and in society. Each person needs to assess the self continuously to notice if there is movement in becoming increasingly democratic. (Ediger and Rao (2003) list the following tenets of democratic living which teachers need to stress as being ongoing within each unit of study in the curriculum:

1. pupils need to develop respect toward others.

2. each person is to be valued for his/her uniqueness as well as for sameness of quality traits.

3. each person regardless of race, creed, or religion should have ample opportunities to develop to his/her optimum.

4. ample learning experiences must be provided whereby individuals are able to relate to each other in a positive way.

5. democratic living is an ideal and each individual may continually move in the direction of realizing these objectives more fully.

6. individuals differ from each other, in degrees, in terms of exhibiting democratic behavior.

7. pupils individually and in groups need to have ample opportunities to engage in identifying and attempting to solve realistic, lifelike problems.

8. learners personally and in committees must develop a set of values which give direction and meaning in life.

9. each person must be guided in developing a good self concept. This is necessary so that each person exhibits responsible behavior in society.

10. pupils individually and in groups must develop a system of values whereby problems and weaknesses in society are identified and attempts made at remedying these deficiencies.

Democracy in school and in society should make for peaceful situations to problems. Violence and negative aggression are frowned upon. When discipline problems arise, pupils with teacher guidance should identify the problem clearly. Information needs to be gathered from each person or side in the disagreement. A solution must be agreed upon. The solution is tentative and subject to evaluation. The solution might need to be looked at again, as needed. Democracy in the classroom should not be confused with anarchy. In anarchical situations, the teacher gives little direction to pupils in the classroom. Pupils here make many/most decisions, such as in discipline. They do as they like with little teacher guidance. Visiting with others, walking around the classroom freely with little purpose involved, and deciding when class assignments are due are left up to the pupil. The anarchical approach in classroom instruction may be compared with a hierarchical procedure with pupils being required to sit up straight in their seats with little/no movement to get materials of instruction. Work ing within a committee setting is not permitted. Standards of conduct are very strict and rigidly enforced by the teacher. Thus, a classroom climate needs to exist in which pupils feel adequately relaxed to study, learn, and achieve. Peaceful situations are important in the classroom and in society.

Manzo (October 24, 2001) wrote the following pertaining to an article entitled, "Peace Educators Struggle with War:"

"An eight foot peace pole, with the entreaty, 'May peace Prevail on Earth' overlooks a main lobby at Catholic Central High School, a symbol of the commitment the faculty and students made two years ago to promote within themselves and their communities."

Throughout the school at Troy, New York, themes of virtue and character dominate displays and classroom discussions focus on developing peace of heart and spirit. Students have often been invited to make presentations on peace education to representatives of the United Nations.

Yet, school administrators have admitted its been hard to maintain peaceful thoughts in the weeks since the terrorists attack on the United States launched a new kind of war.

"Peace is our thing and we've gotten used to it," said Sister Katherine Arsenau, the principal of the 550 student school. "'As much as we believe in peace when something likes this happens, the human part jumps up and wants revenge."

Organizing the Peace Education Curriculum

Anger and hatred are common occurrences in society. Frequently, one reads about "road rage," whereby a driver is very angry at another driver for driving too slowly, or following too closely. The angry driver on the Los Angeles Freeway might wave the fist, swear angrily, and drive carelessly due to not being able to control personal feelings. This might result in an accident. "Auditorium rage" is shown frequently in which some one has placed several coats over many seats to show "reservations." But in reality, there were no reservations; the event was free and open to the public. When the newcomer comes to the auditorium to sit down, there is anger and even threats from the ones who have the "reservations."' The author experienced this at the Yellowstone National Park, four years ,ago, directly in front of Old Faithful geyser. He and his wife came to sit down in the bench in front of Old Faithful to observe the next eruption. Immediately, an intermediate grade pupil said loudly, "That place is reserved." The child was questioned as to who issued the reservation. He became extremely angry, and some adults came from the short distance away, waving their fists. That was reason enough to move away from the bench, immediately.

The author was a supervisor of university student teachers for thirty years. During this time interval, he listened to the following threats experienced by cooperating teachers, coming from parents and children in school:

1. I'm going to shoot you!

2. Just wait till my father comes; he is very angry with you!

3. My mother has gone to a school board member to complain about you. The school board member is a cousin of my mother and he will see that you get fired.

4. I'll get even with Bill if its the last thing I do!

5. I'll cause you a lot of trouble if I can't attend the popcorn party, Friday afternoon, (even though I didn't behave properly).

6. My father said you should give me an "A" grade in reading or else you'll be sorry!

There needs to be opportunities for pupils to engage in peer mediation, problem solving in discipline, positive reinforcement, and extrinsic motivation.

Pupils, too, might study units whereby peace as a way of life is stressed. One such groups is the Old Order Amish (OOA). The OOA do not participate in war activities during times of conscription. Instead, the young men of daft age served as conscientious objectors, rather than in the military. Here, OOA work on farms of charitable organizations such as an orphanage. They also have worked successfully as orderlies and helpers in mental hospitals.

The OOA have a long history of peaceful solutions to disagreements, beginning in 1693. "An eye for an eye" is not stressed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) which has served as a model for the OOA with, "Love your enemies, bless them which curse you, do good to those who hate you ... The Sermon on the Mount turned around, completely, the customary way of doing things. Is it possible to love one's enemies? Using the fists to get even with another person, destruction of property, and fighting it out are retaliatorial ways of settling old or new scores.

The OOA are a minority culture:

1. They are easily identifiable with their unique dress and appearance

2. They use horse drawn means of transportation with their carriages.

3. They do not use commercial electric lights, but rather gas lit lamps for illumination in the house.

4. They stress a rural life style, not urban living.

5. They stress individual ownership of property, not a communal system.

6. They use horse drawn farm machinery.

7. Tradition is prized rather than modern approaches in farming and living (Ediger, 1997, 339-343).

They believe in working out problems among their own culture. A bishop is at the apex with two ministers as assistants, and one deacon whose duty is to work out disputes among members of their faith. Thirty families make for one congregation. In any congregation there will be disputes among members. The deacon together with the bishop are in charge of keeping peace. Sometimes, the disagreements go beyond the borders of a congregation. Thus, an intoxicated track driver may hit a horse and carriage on an open road causing injury to the OOA. The case goes to court and the OOA win a law suit to pay for extremely high costs of rehabilitation for the injured. OOA tend to not buy life, and property insurance, and the rehabilitation services are extremely costly. The OOA are a primary group whose members know each other well and thoroughly. By studying the OOA, pupils will learn that a group in society is there which thoroughly adheres to the ideas of pacifism. These learnings are not to make pacifists of all pupils but to realize that different cultures solve problems in diverse ways (Ediger, 1986, 49.

Another pacifist group area are the Hutterites Mennonite living in South Dakota, Montana, Washington state, North Dakota, Idaho, Canada, and England. About 300 Hutterites; live on a commune. Four families live in an apartment. The Hutterites always live in rural areas, not in urban settings. They are always farmers, using modern machines for farming such as modern tractors, self propelled combines, electric milking machines, grain augurs, plows and grain drills with hydraulic lifts.

At the apex of Hutterite culture is the minister. He is in charge of maintaining Hutterite culture such as dress, behavior, and standards of conduct. The business manager is next in the hierarchy. He deals with the outside world in buying and selling goods and services. Home equipment for food preparation and kitchen supplies, farm implements, livestock, and other farm equipment has to be purchased. Farm produce has to be sold. Thus, the business manager has a very busy schedule and leaves the Hutterite commune frequently to take care of the economic areas which support and sustain communal living. After the minister and the business manager, the work supervisor is third in the hierarchy. The work supervisor is in charge of getting the work done on the commune. He schedules which work needs to be done by whom in the daily operations on a large farm. The strengths of each person are used in farm operations on the commune such as a Hutterite mechanic being in charge of repairing farm machines on the commune. Hutterite women work in the kitchen in food preparation.

Instead of military service during times of conscription, Hutterite young men have been drafted into alternative service as conscientious objectors to do work in the national health and safety of others in the United States. Hutterites, as do the OOA, take the Bible literally such as in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) which, in part, reads, "love your enemies, bless them who curse you, do good them who hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you ..." Loving one's enemies is at the heart of Hutterite thinking (Ediger, 1995, 56-58).

The OOA and the Hutterites represent one end of the continuum in working toward peace and that is to be a conscientious objector in war time and engage in helping other groups and individuals in times of peace. Thus the OOA are well known for helping others to rebuild and clear land from a natural disaster, as well as distribute clothing and other relief supplies to people in war tom areas.

No outsiders would wish to join the OOA or the Hutterites. Most people in the United Stated are urban dwellers and this number will continue to increase. Using draft horses and old implements for farming would not appeal to the modern farmer who uses air conditioned cabs on each tractor or self propelled combine. Driving with horse and carriage also would not be acceptable. But children do need to study diverse cultures including those whose beliefs differ from those held locally. The OOA and the Hutterites have unique beliefs which are quite different from the dominant culture.

Being a pacifist has tremendous costs to the individual. In times of war, he/she may need to face negative name calling, verbal, and perhaps even physical abuse. Then too, most pupils would not desire to be like the OOA and:

1. attend a one room school house

2. live in a house without centralized heating.

3. travel by horse and carriage.

Then too, most would not like to be like the Hutterites and:

1. live communally with property owned in common by members

2. eat together in a communal kitchen.

3. separate themselves from others in society.

Nonviolence was endorsed by Mahatma Ghandi (1869-1948). Ghandi preached the doctrine of non-violence and reverence for all life. By using the power of love, he believed all people could convert even the worst evil doer to the right course of action (Ellis and Esler, p. 732).

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1928-1968) and the southern Leadership conference based their program of non-violence on the teachings of Christianity and Henry David Thoreau, Author of "Civil Disobedience," and the methods of Mahatma Gandhi, who used nonviolence to help free India from British rule (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1972).

Buddha (563-483 BC) also endorsed and lived a live of nonviolence. When viewing lepers, outcasts and the miserable; the poor toiling with aching limbs and barely kept alive by scanty nourishment; the wounded in battle, dying in slow agony; the orphans, ill treated by cruel guardians; ,and even the most successful haunted by the thought of failure, Buddha thought there should be a solution to these problems. From all this load.... a way of salvation must be found, and salvation can come only from love (Russell, 1972).

It is important then to:

1. respect self and others by avoiding uncaring criticism, hateful words, physical attacks, and self destructive behavior

2. to communicate more clearly to solve problems

3. to listen to others and consider the feelings of others.

4. to forgive and apologize, and not hold grudges.

5. to respect nature including animal life.

6. to be courageous, including challenging all forms of violence (See Institute for Peace and Justice, 2000).


Adler, M. J. (1981). Six Great Ideas. New York: The Macmillan Company.

Manzo, K. K. (October 24, 2001). Peace Education Struggles with War. Education Week, 21 (8)5 p.1.

Ediger, M. and Rao, D. B. (2003). Elementary Curriculum. New Delhi, India: Discovery Publishing House, Chapter Five.

Ediger, M. and D. B. (2001). Teaching Social Studies Successfully. New Delhi, India, Chapter Nine.

Ediger, M. (1997). Examining the Merits of Old Order Amish Education. Education, 117(3) 339-343.

Ediger, M. (1986). Education Among the Amish. Multicultural Education Journal. 4 (2), 4-9.

Ediger, M. (1995). A Study of Values. The Clearing House, 69 (1), 56-58.

Ellis, E. and Esler, A. (2001). World History. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 732.

Institute for Peace and Justice (2000). 414 Lindell, # 408. St. Louis, Missouri 63108.

Russell, B. (1972). A History of Western Philosophy. New York: A Touchstone Book. Published by Simon anti Schuster, 771.

Dr. Marlow Ediger, Professor Emeritus, Truman State University.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Marlow Ediger, 201 West 22nd Street: Box 417, North Newton, Kansas 67117
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Author:Ediger, Marlow
Publication:Journal of Instructional Psychology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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