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Framing Peace

Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as «Radical Hope»

Series:

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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Case Study: Queries as a Frame for Peace Education in the Elementary Classroom

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Case Study Queries as a Frame for Peace Education in the Elementary Classroom chris loeffler “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – alice in Wonderland (carroll, 1960, p. 130) Peace is often seen as an impossibility and can be defined as a state of ultimate vulnerability. Children and childhood are but a mirror image of these states— imagining the impossible but almost perpetually vulnerable to the whims of the adults around them. Is it possible that children have the answers to a truly peaceful future? To truly explore the possibility of the affirmative is to express a radical hope in the power of children. Teaching peace in an elementary classroom is less about specific content or knowledge and more connected to developing children’s attitudes. Without the self-confidence or a belief in the impossible, the approaches necessary for achiev- ing peace will remain unlikely. Our job in the elementary classroom is to help students practice the impossible. Queries, an essential part of Quakerism, are questions that offer a spiritual challenge to the community. They are without one true answer and often lead to more questions. They work as a method of peace education, framing conflict and power as realities to be explored through active, communal exploration and reflec- tion. The use of queries in the elementary setting can provide a framework that creates...

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