Rationales & Curricula

"Unless we teach our children peace,
someone else will teach them violence." Colman McCarthy (I'd Rather Teach Peace, 2000, p. xvii)

Peace Education Curricula & Resources

A Force More Powerful
A Force More Powerful is a book, a movie, and a website with resources for nonviolent action for social change. The powerful movie shows 30-minute histories of anti-segregation lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville, Gandhi's march to the sea to obtain independence for India, and other non-violent movements in Poland, South Africa, Denmark, and Chile.  Here is a link to my video interview about using  A Force More Powerful Video Interview.  

American Friends Service Committee 
This AFSC page leads to links and resources on such topics as youth education, federal budget reform, and eliminating nuclear weapons.  Click the resources page to find curricula on various topics.

Canadian Red Cross 
The Educators Resources pages of the Canadian Red Cross site contain numerous useful lessons, videos, and even games on the effects of war on children, as well as helpful definitions of war, rules of war, human rights and other concepts.

Center for the 4th and 5th Rs (Respect & Responsibility)
The center was founded by renowned character educator Dr. Thomas Lickona to promote both moral and performance character.  Teachers may find the following links helpful to get background on such topics as cooperative education, teacher as role model, etc.

  • Smart & Good Schools  details the study by Dr. Tom Lickona and Dr. Matt Davidson of schools that promote excellence and ethics.  Numerous teaching and school climate ideas are presented in their readable and inspiring report, available as a free resource.
  • 12-point Comprehensive Approach  offers clear explanations and practical strategies for modeling character, setting up cooperative education, promoting ethical reflection, etc.

Choices Program 
The Choices for the 21st Century Education Program was developed at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. “The Choices Program provides teaching resources on historical and current international issues, offers professional development for classroom teachers, and sponsors programs that engage students beyond the classroom.”  Resources are available for purchase on a wide variety of topics: U.S. foreign policy, immigration, historical issues, international issues, nuclear weapons, China, Afghanistan, etc.  Materials are user-friendly, including resources for setting up debates and in-depth study of historical and current issues.

The Class of Nonviolence:
“The Class of Nonviolence is an eight session class developed by Colman McCarthy, founder of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C. It uses classics in peace and justice literature to teach peacemaking….” Readings from Day, Gandhi, King, McCarthy, Schweitzer, Sharp, Thoreau, and others are posted as pdfs on this site.

Among the many curriculum units offered are Child Labour & Fair Trade: An Educator’s Resource Kit, Sharing is Caring, and Peace Day.

Exploring Humanitarian Law: 
It seems counter-intuitive to teach rules of war if we want peace.  However, this well-developed and extensive matrix of curriculum materials provides opportunities to teach about concepts of human dignity in war and peace, school and community bullying and bystander dilemmas, and global humanitarian actions.  As the Red Cross materials explain, “Humanitarian law is a body of international law that aims to protect human dignity during armed conflict and to prevent or reduce the suffering and destruction that results from war.”  Learning about international humanitarian law can promote critical thinking, empathy, and action.

Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves believes that “education is the key to combating bigotry and nurturing democracy.”  Examples of genocide and mass violence are studied to help students and teachers “learn to combat prejudice with compassion, indifference with participation, and myth and misinformation with knowledge.”

Global Campaign for Peace Education
Website and Newsletter offer numerous links to peace education resources, professional development, websites, and more

Hague Appeal for Peace
This important link leads to downloadable pdfs of peace and conflict resolution curricula, including Peace Lessons from Around the World, Peace and Disarmament Education, Time to Abolish War, and Learning to Abolish War.  Lessons are global in nature and appropriate for a variety of age groups and settings.

Human Rights Resource Center (University of Minnesota)
This deeply linked site provides resources and rationales for teaching about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human rights in general.  Useful questions, lessons, and downloadable files are available to connect literature, current events, history, and other curricula to the consideration of human rights.  Browse around to find resources for ages K-adult!

  • This is my Home
    Examples of resources available as pdfs are K-2 (Caring School Climate) or 6-8 (Justice or Injustice).  Lesson plans, rationales, and handouts are provided.  Social action steps are outlined, including sample letters and action plans.  Invaluable!

National Peace Academy
The National Peace Academy “advances and nurtures cultures of peace by conducting research and facilitating learning toward the development of peace systems – local to global – and the development of the full spectrum of the peacebuilder – inner and outer, personal and professional.”  Links to certificate programs, workshops, and international conferences on peace education, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution are offered.

National Peace Corps Association 
The Educators Toolbox provides resources on teaching about a variety of global issues.  And the Classroom Materials link  is full of rich resources as well.  Find downloadable resources to teach almost any peace topic!

Jeremy Gilley founded Peace One Day to promote an international day of cease fire and bring life to the United Nations designated day of peace, September 21.  His film about the process of working to achieve that goal is compelling for young people and is available free.  After registration, the website also offers a free, detailed, and rich peace education curriculum with opportunities for action.  The mission states, “Peace One Day Education aims to advance active learning in the areas of conflict resolution, global citizenship, human rights and the link between sustainability and peace, using Peace Day 21 September as a focus.”  Great resources!

PeaceJam.org is an organization that brings young people and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates together to work on peace projects. Their excellent website provides biographies, speeches, videos, and background information on the 12 Laureates who work with PeaceJam. These include Oscar Arias, the Dalai Lama, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Betty Williams.  Curricular materials available after registration are based on the stories of the laureates and their work with youth to build stronger communities and solve local and global problems.  Social action project information abounds.

Rethinking Schools
Rethinking Schools was founded by educators “committed to equity and to the vision that public education is central to the creation of a humane, caring, multiracial democracy. While writing for a broad audience, Rethinking Schools emphasizes problems facing urban schools, particularly issues of race.”  Rethinking Schools publications—from magazines to books—promote academic and critical skills to build an equitable society.  Publications are readable and inspiring, with curricular ideas that are immediately useful in classrooms. 

Teachers Without Borders  
The mission of Teachers Without Borders is to connect “teachers to information and each other to create local change on a global scale.”

  • Dr. Joseph Hungwa Memorial Peace Education Program  The peace education course offered by Teachers Without Borders is a theoretical and practical introduction to peace education.  Although there are advertisements on the online pages, the information is excellent.

Teaching for Peace 
Created by the Burnaby Teachers Social Justice Committee, this practical and deeply linked site “seeks to develop classroom friendly materials on social justice and environmental issues.”  The Committee hopes this site will be “used by educators to nurture a culture of peace and social justice in the classroom.”  Simple and easy to use links include videos and resources on art, music, peacemakers, and more.

Teaching Tolerance
A program of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance “is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children.”  Subscribe to the free magazine and use the site’s outstanding resources.  Highlights include:

  • Antibullying Guidelines for Teachers:  Tips for teachers and students, activities, and curricular ideas abound on these pages.

  • Bullied:  Free video and teaching resources on bullying.  Resources on the page include statistics about bullying.

  • Mix It Up at Lunch Day:  “Mix It Up seeks to break down the barriers between students and improve intergroup relations so there are fewer misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts, bullying and harassment.” 

Think, Care, Act: Teaching for a Peaceful Future 
Susan Gelber Cannon’s book details peace education rationales, specific lessons, and student evaluations, and contains an annotated book list of over 100 peace-education resources for teachers and picture books for children on peace themes.  The book helps teachers understand that peace education can be infused in daily lessons and in the classroom and school climate.  It is also useful in college peace-education courses and by community organizations and parent groups. “Peace can be taught in practically every discipline if teachers truly concerned about the fate of this planet and its inhabitants have resources like this book to guide them….,”writes eminent peace educator Ian Harris in the Foreword.

United Nations Association-United States of America [UNA-USA]  
Through Global Classrooms, Model UN and other educational initiatives, UNA-USA offers students and teachers curricula and Model UN conferences to build knowledge about the United Nations and global citizenship.  Conferences are thought-provoking and inspiring and preparatory materials provide deep background material for teaching about the UN and global issues.

United Nations Cyber Schoolbus 
This outstanding resource and comprehensive website is useable, creative, and varied and can provide numerous classroom lessons and project initiatives for any age group.

  • Curriculum Links include such topics as Peace Education, Poverty, Human Rights, and Clean Oceans.

  • Quizzes and Games include Free Rice, a grammar and geography game that actually provides free rice through the World Food Program.  Kids love this site! 

United States Institute for Peace [USIP]
Professional Training Online is available at no charge at this site. For example, the course description for Conflict Analysis, reads, "This course presents an introduction to the subject of conflict analysis, illustrating analytical tools used by practitioners with reference to two extended case studies, the conflict in Kosovo and the genocide in Rwanda." Audio and video clips and interactivity make this site informative for teachers wishing to gain background knowledge. The training might be used with classes as well.

Zinn Education Project  
The project is designed to supplement the work of historian Howard Zinn and to inspire teachers to teach about the unsung heroes of history, especially of the Americas.  Materials “emphasize the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history. Students learn that history is made not by a few heroic individuals, but instead by people’s choices and actions, thereby also learning that their own choices and actions matter.”

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