Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as «Radical Hope»
Edited By Hans Smits and Rahat Naqvi
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.
Case Study: Asking Questions and Building Hope: A Proposal for Youth Civic Engagement Projects
Case Study Asking Questions and Building Hope: A Proposal for Youth Civic Engagement Projects shira eve epstein When citizens use their voices to urge change, their messages are at times misun- derstood and ignored, and at other times, considered and engaged. Youth activists are vulnerable to these and other varied reactions. In this piece, I offer a proposal of how teachers can support students to navigate the frustrations and successes they encounter in civic engagement projects. Ideally, teachers and students neither respond to their achievements with a wishful optimism that it is easy to make change nor to their setbacks with absolute defeatism. Instead, they form a hopefulness that draws on good judgment and imagination to respond to reality (Lear, 2006), in light of both these achievements and setbacks. My interest in how youth reflect on civic engagement projects was piqued when I spent months learning from teachers and a group of adolescents involved in what I call the park project. After budget cuts were proposed, a group of seventh graders, students of color living in a low-income urban community, advocated for full funding for a local park in their neighborhood. Without this funding, the outdoor pool would remain closed, the park’s hours shortened, and the program- ming limited. Near the end of the school year, responding to a community outcry, state legislators ensured a restored, full park budget. The students felt victorious and expressed pride in their work, noting that they “saved” the park. The project concluded with a...
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