Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as «Radical Hope»
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: Engaging Youth in Framing the War: Canadian University Students
Case Study Engaging Youth in Framing the War: Canadian University Students farhat shahzad As an educator, I believe that teachers and students are strategic partners in the- orizing and enacting curriculum as an interdisciplinary inquiry. Furthermore, a discussion on how “new frames” (Butler, 2009) of peace should be fundamental to curriculum theorizing is incomplete without taking into account the complex arrangement of the preexisting frames of war that students bring with them into classrooms. To illustrate my point, I will employ the use of a case study, one whose setting was that of a postsecondary institution in Ontario. The study explored and identified how a group of 99 university students understood and framed the War on Terror as Canadians. The possibilities for application that emerged from the study are many such as to use it as a pedagogical tool in facilitating an appropri- ate, responsive, and relevant discussion about the notions of hope, peace, and war in classrooms; in deconstructing the frames situated in students’ narratives; and engaging them in breaking down the preexisting frames of war and erecting new ones from their ashes. This is how the students framed the war in their narratives, albeit broadly: • The war is a reaction to the terrorists’ attacks on 9/11. • It belongs to the Americans, who believe in wars. • Canada stands for peace and “we” are there to help “them.” • It is woeful that “Our” soldiers are dying and wasting their lives for “them.” Although these frames are all viable subject matters...
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