Pioneer Peace Pack

This pack includes information and activities for groups of 10 - 12 year olds in the Woodcraft Folk.

You can find the activities by clicking through to the following pages:

Activity 1-  Bullying

Activity 2 - Conflict Resolution

Activity 3 - War Toys - not currently available

Activity 4 - War Detectives

Activity 5 - Child Soldiers

Activity 6 - Positive About Peace

 

Background

In the 1950s the field of peace research was emerging in the universities and, while this has had little direct impact on teachers, some of the key concerns identified are extremely relevant to work in schools. The initial emphasis in peace research was on direct (personal) violence, that is violence directed by one person on to another as in the case of assault, torture, terrorism, or war, looking more at conflict than at peace, with the result that peace was defined negatively as merely the absence of war (negative peace).

By the late 1960s and early 1970s researchers' attention was shifting from direct to indirect (structural) violence, that is the ways in which people may also suffer as a result of social, political, and economic systems. Such structural violence may equally lead to death and disfigurement or a diminishing of human well-being and potential, as a result of racism and sexism, for example, hunger, denial of human rights, or gross military overspending.

This broadening of concern amongst peace researchers to examine issues of freedom and justice also led to broader definitions of peace. Instead of just being the absence of war, peace was now seen as involving co-operation and non-violent social change, aimed at creating more equitable and just structures in a society (positive peace).

Thus if we are interested in studying issues of peace and conflict, our interests will be broad. One leading peace researcher, Johan Galtung, has suggested that the problems of peace are broadly fivefold, as shown in Table 1. Turned round these five problems give five values which must underpin any definition of peace.

Table 1 Studying peace

Problems of peace

Violence and war
Inequality
Injustice
Environmental damage
Alienation

Values underlying peace

Non-violence
Economic welfare
Social justice
Ecological balance
Participation

In her comments on peace education Sharp points out that a variety of approaches exist, not all of which are mutually compatible or mutually exclusive. She thus identifies five broad approaches.

Peace education as peace through strength
This approach is supported by governments and armed forces who see the maintenance of peace being achieved by armed deterrence. The emphasis is on current and recent history and the need to maintain one's military superiority.

Peace education as conflict mediation and resolution
This approach focuses on the analysis of conflict, from the personal to the global, and on ways of resolving such conflicts non-violently. Much can be achieved with this approach, but one needs to recognise the danger of reproducing inequality where an unequal balance of power exists.

Peace education as personal peace
The approach here is primarily interpersonal stressing the need for empathy and co-operation with a focus on the process of education itself and a need to transform hierarchical structures at all levels of society.

Peace education as world order
This approach takes as its starting-point the need for a global perspective and the recognition of structural violence as a major obstacle to peace. This can be utopian unless there is a detailed analysis of the links between personal and global change.

Peace education as the abolition of power relationships
This approach sees people's values as themselves a product of certain structural variables, for example to do with economic, political, and cultural power. The emphasis is therefore on raising awareness of structural violence and identification with the struggles of all oppressed groups.

It will be clear from the above that education for peace may be based on a variety of assumptions - broadly they are as follows:

  1. War and violent conflict are not conducive to human well-being.
  2. Neither are they the result of inevitable aspects of human nature.
  3. Peace, that is alternative ways of being, behaving, and organising, can be learned

The aims of education for peace are thus to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills which are needed in order:

  1. to explore concepts of peace both as a state of being and as an active process;
  2. to enquire into the obstacles of peace and the causes of peacelessness, both in individuals, institutions, and societies;
  3. to resolve conflicts in ways that will lead toward a less violent and a more just world;
  4. to explore a range of different alternative futures, in particular ways of building a more just and sustainable world society.

Education for peace is about the development of a range of attitudes and skills. The attitudes are a reminder that we must each begin with ourselves, that children need their own peace of mind and self-respect before they can be concerned about others. The strong sense of fairness that many young people have can, given appropriate learning experiences, become part of a commitment to justice, to caring for the planet, to becoming involved in political as well as personal change.

Together with the knowledge and attitudes it is the skills that are at the essential core of education for peace. It is essential in a democratic society that young people develop the skill of critical thinking so that they are able to weigh up various arguments in order to make informed choices. It is essential that they are able to recognize propaganda for what it is, whether from a government or a pressure group, and be alert to hidden bias, for example racism, sexism, militarism, both in the media and in teaching materials. Similarly, being able to co-operate and empathize makes conflict resolution more possible. Being clear about one's needs and able to relate assertively rather than aggressively is also at the heart of good education for peace.

If one is teaching for peace and not merely about peace, a close relationship needs to exist between ends and means, content and form. If one is concerned about developing self-respect, appreciation of others, concepts of justice and nonviolence, they must also be part of the process of learning itself.

Table 2 Checklist of objectives
SKILLS
1 Critical thinking Young people should be able to approach issues with an open and critical mind and be willing to change their opinions in the face of new evidence and rational argument. They should be able to recognise and challenge bias, indoctrination, and propaganda.

2 Co-operation
Young people should be able to appreciate the value of co-operating on shared tasks and be able to work co-operatively with other individuals and groups in order to achieve a common goal.

3 Empathy Young people should be able to imagine sensitively the viewpoints and feelings of other people, particularly those belonging to groups, cultures, and nations other than their own.

4 Assertiveness Young people should be able to communicate clearly and assertively with others, that is not in an aggressive way, which denies the rights of others, or in a non-assertive manner which denies their own rights.

5 Conflict resolution
Young people should be able to analyse different conflicts in an objective and systematic way and be able to suggest a range of solutions to them. Where appropriate they should be able to implement solutions themselves.

6 Political literacy Young people should be developing the ability to influence decision-making thoughtfully, both within their own lives and in their local community, and also at national and international levels.
ATTITUDES
1 Self-respect Young people should have a sense of their own worth and pride in their own particular social, cultural, and family background.

2 Respect for others Young people should have a sense of the worth of others, particularly of those with social, cultural, and family backgrounds different from their own.

3 Ecological concern Young people should have a sense of respect for the natural environment and our overall place in the web of life. They should also have a sense of responsibility for both the local and global environment.

4 Open-mindedness Young people should be willing to approach different sources of information, people, and events with a critical but open mind.

5 Vision Young people should be open to and value various dreams and visions of what a better world might look like, not only in their own community but also in other communities, and in the world as a whole.

6 Commitment to justice Young people should value genuinely democratic principles and processes and be ready to work for a more just and peaceful world at local, national, and international levels.
KNOWLEDGE
1 Conflict Young people should study a variety of contemporary conflict situations from the personal to the global and attempts being made to resolve them. They should also know about ways of resolving conflicts non-violently in everyday life.

2 Peace Young people should study different concepts of peace, both as a state of being and as an active process, on scales from the personal to the global. They should look at examples of the work of individuals and groups who are actively working for peace.

3 War Young people should explore some of the key issues and ethical dilemmas to do with conventional war. They should look at the effects of militarism on both individuals nd groups and on scales ranging from the local to the global.

4 Nuclear issues Young people should learn about a wide range of nuclear issues and be aware of the key viewpoints on defence and disarmament. They should understand the effects of nuclear war and appreciate the efforts of individuals, groups, and governments to work towards a nuclear-free world.

5 Justice Young people should study a range of situations illustrating injustice, on scales from the personal to the global. They should look at the work of individuals and groups involved in the struggle for justice today.

6 Power Young people should study issues to do with power in the world today and ways in which its unequal distribution affects people's life chances. They should explore ways in which people and groups have regained power over their own lives.

7 Gender Young people should study issues to do with discrimination based on gender. They should understand the historical background to this and the ways in which sexism operates to the advantage of men and the disadvantage of women.

8 Race Young people should study issues to do with discrimination based on race. They should understand the historical background to this and the ways in which racism operates to the advantage of white people and to the disadvantage of black.

9 Environment Young people should have a concern for the environmental welfare of all the world's people and the natural systems on which they depend. They should be able to make rational judgements concerning environmental issues and participate effectively in environmental politics.

10 Futures Young people should study a range of alternative futures, both probable and preferable. They should understand which scenarios are most likely to lead to a more just and less violent world and what changes are necessary to bring this about.