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Framing Peace

Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as «Radical Hope»

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Edited By Hans Smits and Rahat Naqvi

The language of frames suggests the need to rethink self and other in fostering ethical relationships as a foundation for peaceful existence. Educational writers and practitioners from many parts of the world, including New York, Denver, Minneapolis, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Israel, and Canada offer their perspectives on peace as an aim of curriculum.
Possibilities for learning about peace conceived in terms of Jonathan Lear’s (2006) notion of «radical hope» are illustrated in the contexts of diverse settings and challenges: the aftermath of apartheid in South Africa, re-imagining post-colonial history curricula in Zimbabwe, exploring the meanings of truth and reconciliation and restorative justice in Canada, examining the quality of pedagogic relationships in elementary school classrooms, attending to experiences of gay and lesbian students in schools, experiences of marginalized students, children’s experiences of civic engagement, Islamophobia in high schools and teacher education classes, fraught relationships between Palestinian and Jewish students in a teachers’ college in Israel, and the inclusion of First Nations culture and knowledge in Canadian teacher education classes. As whole and in each of its parts, Framing Peace encourages us to think about peace as an urgent and fundamental responsibility of curriculum at all levels of education.

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Chapter 7: For the Sake of Diplomacy: The Educational(Im)Possibility of PeaceTeaching in Elementary School

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c h a p t e r s e v e n For the Sake of Diplomacy: The Educational (Im)Possibility of Peace Teaching in Elementary School debbie sonu In New York City, there is a school. In this school, there is a classroom. And in this classroom, there is a corner that is attributed by all to the making of peace. This peace corner, adorned with delicate portraits of Martin Luther King Jr. and Chief Seattle, suspends historical exemplars as embodiments of peace and symbolizes the quiet ferocity of dissent in a world where utopian visions fade and violence is bypassed as normal. When young children weep, as they often do amid the newfound confusions of school, they release their clenched fists into this designated space and temper the rising call of institutional demand through the practices of retreat and detachment. If not only for a moment, the children here are slightly freer from the demands of school. When circumstances arise, they step away from the educational management of their interests and exercise a kind of peace that is made accessible through their autonomy. In this peace corner, they wander through book pages; or write their words into poetry; or simply while away the passing time, alone and in silence. Sometimes they reflect; sometimes they feel remorse; sometimes they exhale their anger. In the end, no one will ever truly know what the children do in this peace corner, but what is certain is that this corner somehow transforms...

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