Promoting Peace Literacy by Waging Peace

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Promoting Peace Literacy by Waging Peace

Project Overview

Project Title: Waging Peace

Duration: There are four tiers that present four guiding questions. Each tiers build on the previous tier and can be completed in the time frame that best meets the need of the school district. Students can work independently, in small group, or in whole classroom setting.

Essential Knowledge & Skill

(list benchmarks)

Acquire information through research.

Demonstrate understanding of information through reading, discussion, and apply knowledge to current events.

Develop critical thinking to determine personal beliefs related to information.

Exhibit empathetic skills when responding to other points of view during group discussion.

Integrated Digital Communications when creating exhibition of learning.

21st Century Skills

Common Core Standards

(to be taught & assessed)

Communicate effectively with others. (LED12A11)

Collaborate effectively with others. (LED12B11)

Demonstrate effective team building skills. (LED12E11)

Facilitate productive group processes. (LED12F11)

Reading comprehension: construct meaning from text (R12)

Discussion: discussions that build on the topic (SL1)

Discussion: text based discussion (SL1)

Supplement thinking with specific evidence from texts. (W9)

Project Summary

(include student role, the issue, problem or challenge, action to be taken, and beneficiary)

Waging Peace is a project-based curriculum that engages students in one of the most meaningful topics of our time: peace literacy.

Rather than discuss peace in theory as a problem to solve “other there”, students engage in the topic of peace where it matters, in the everyday conflicts of life. By studying specific portions of two texts written by Paul K. Chappell, Will War Ever End and The Art of Waging Peace, students begin to turn their thinking toward themselves and consider why they react the way they do in moments of conflict. They begin to develop a greater sense of self and become more able to connect with others through introspection, empathy, collaboration and respect.

The curriculum also helps students become aware of the dynamics of social change. All change begins at the individual level and expands as individuals identify and share new beliefs. With time, new social norms evolve and new ideology is reflected in the creation of laws. Students become aware of the power of persuasion to harm or help society, as witnessed in history by the civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the immediate effects of social dehumanization via cyber bullying.

Driving Questions

(DQ) What can I do to make the world a more peace filled place?

Summary of Four Tiers

Tier I. Are people naturally violent?

Tier II. What can cause and what can diminish conflict and aggression?

Tier III. What is the difference between using force and using non-violence in a conflict?

Tier IV. How to become a peace leader and promote peace literacy.

Entry Event

Introduce topic of peace literacy.

Provide general description of learning process involved with this curriculum.

Introduce students to author Paul K. Chappell (biography, webpage, video)

With each tier, pose initial guiding question to students and have then respond prior to any readings, videos or discussion. They will answer the same question at the end of each tier and can use the change of response, if any, in their final reflection.


Instructor provides introduction information to learners.


Students will work individually or in groups to complete the following products for each of the four guiding questions.

        • Students read guiding question for that tier and give initial response.

  • Students will complete readings and watch videos.

  • Students will record information of interest as they read and identify specific evidence from text.


  • Students will reflect on their reaction to readings. What components did they agree with? What ideas do they challenge? What did they wonder? (see attached Know/Wonder sample)

  • Students will engage in discussion with at least one other person where they will actively listen and demonstrate respectful dialogue related to readings.

  • Students will relate readings to now, including current conflicts at a personal, national or world level.


  • Students will create a final personal response to each of the tier guiding questions.

Possible extensions:

Selfie project: Students identify one person they really don’t know and engage in interviews with each other where they practice skills of communication with respect (listen, speak, act) and empathy. Take a selfie together and create a “Get to Know” summary of each other.
Guest speaker: Paul K. Chappell visit school and speak with students

2Resources Needed

On-site people facilities:

Equipment: Laptop, Texts: Will War Ever End and The Art of Waging Peace by Paul K. Chappell

Notes from Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Peace Leadership Course, 2013 (provided).

Readings and Videos:
Key Question: What Can I Do To Make The World A More Peaceful Place?
Tier 1: Are people naturally violent?
Will War Ever End?. Pp 3-37. Historical facts and perspectives to challenge belief that people are naturally violent.

NAPF Leadership notes. Posturing

Video: A Wolf and grizzlies: A Confrontation with an elk carcass. Youtube.

Tier 2: What can cause and what can diminish conflict and aggression?


The Art of Waging Peace; pp. 23-30. Chapter 1. The Labyrinth of Trauma.

The Art of Waging Peace. Pp. 31-53. Chapter 2: The Siren Song of Rage.

NAPF Leadership notes: Mini war of conflict; Old responses to conflict; Risk Factors.

Video: YouTube: Why Mike Tyson Doesn’t Party Anymore. HBO Real Sports Interview. March 2013. Tyson describes the on-going effects he experienced from being picked on as a child.

Video: YouTube: Key and Peele: The School Bully (PG-13)


The Art of Waging Peace; pp. 54-68. Chapter 3. The First Line of Defense

The Art of Waging Peace. Pp. 69-77. Chapter 4: The Power of Calm.
Tier 3: The difference between force and non-violence in conflicts.
Why do we think we need force to be safe?

The Art of Waging Peace. Pp 155-172. Chapter 8: The Master of Deception

NAPF Leadership notes: War is hell . Dehumanizing. Re-humanizing.

Video: Joyeux Noel. Trailer. Humanization in war.

Photos: Samples of dehumanization
Understanding how non-violence works

NAPF Leadership notes: Origins of non-violent philosophy.

The Art of Waging Peace: pp 201-204. Compare terrorism and nonviolence success rate.

YouTube Video: RSA Animate: Empathic Civilization: Empathy as a Single Nation State.

NAPF Leadership notes: Why have empathy for an oppressor? How do oppressors hide the truth? Relate non-violence to democracy in action.
Tier 4: How to be a peace leader and promote peace literacy.
What is peace leadership?

The Art of Waging Peace: pp. 1-2. General Douglas McArthur on abolishing war.

The Art of Waging Peace. ; 117-154. West Point and world peace.

NAPF Leadership notes: What is leadership?

How to create a change towards peace

The Art of Waging Peace. Pp. 3-20. The three forms of change.

The Art of Waging Peace. Pp. 207-243. Chapter 10. The power of persuasion and strategic thinking.

NAPF Leadership notes: Principles of non-violence.

YouTube video: The Daily Show: John Oliver Investigates Gun Control in Australia.

Waging Peace: Essential Vocabulary

Age of Enlightenment: late 17-18th centuries when old traditions and superstitions began to be challenged by new beliefs related to freedom and human rights.

assistance model of support: charitable donations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Axil Age: 800BC – 200BC. A time of brutal warfare that fueled the beginning of non-violent philosophies.

berserk state of rage: a feeling of being trapped and in imminent danger that can give way to explosive violent behavior.

deflection: the third line of defense. An evasive technique to deter hostile behavior rather than transform it.

dehumanization: treating an individual or group as if they do not have human qualities.

festering conflicts: rage that is held inside a person because of an earlier trauma or abuse that they didn’t resolve.

General Douglas MacArthur: five-star US general best known for his command of Allied forces in the Pacific during WWII

Greek and Roman gods: Ares, unpopular Greek god of war because of his lust for violence and cruelty.

Eris, unpopular sister of Ares, Greek goddess of hatred and strife. She revealed the anguish and bloodiness of war.

Athena: popular Greek goddess of war who represented wisdom, strategy, tactics.

Mars: popular Roman god of war but viewed as a wise protector (like Athena)

Ideological change: a change that becomes part of the belief system of the whole culture

Individual change: a sudden awareness or change in belief within one person.

infinite shield: first line of defense. The analogy of respect through attitude, composure and behavior as a shield to protect our self and prevent conflict from growing. Transforms hostility.

John McCain: US Senator. Former POW.

leadership: the art of motivating people to work together towards a shared goal.

Mahatma Gandhi: the “Father of NonViolence”.

mechanical distancing: harming someone from a distance so you don’t have to feel as responsible for your actions (guns, bombs, etc)

moral authority: our positive influence over others when our behavior reflects justice and goodness.

moral distancing: deciding it is ok to harm an individual or members of a group because they are evil.

Necklace of Harmonia: from Greek mythology. Used as a metaphor for war because of its deceptive appearance.

Perilous Arrow: the fourth line of defense. Use of deception and violence to protect oneself rather than transform hostility.

Pinnacle of Excellence: ultimate goal in war is to defeat your opponent without bloodshed.

posturing: warming system that looks aggressive but used to avoid conflict.

psychological distancing: harming someone without feelings of guilt because you don’t have to see them (text bulling)

risk factors: individual elements that increase likelihood of a violent response to conflict or pressure.

siren song of rage: the ability of rage to tell an individual that it is ok to kill, maim or destroy

societal change: groups of individuals that start to collectively make a change in a belief.

strategy: an intention

sword that heals: second line of defense. term used by Martin Luther King Jr. to describe the use of nonviolence (ideas, dialogue and tactics) to apply political and social pressure as “a powerful and just weapon that cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.” Transforms hostility.

tactic: an action to accomplish the strategy of transforming how people think (protest, petition, boycott, etc)

Waging Peace Proposal

Americans value literacy and have a history of devoting time and energy to acquiring information about the things we value. Think of football. Americans love football and are entrenched in football literacy! Schools hire football coaches, teach football strategies, players practice regularly, get uniforms, and have pep rallies and cheerleaders. We even devote a day of the week to football!

Americans want peace. However, most schools do not have a specific plan to promote peace literacy. It is also becoming clear that we have difficulty knowing how to speak to one another, listen to one another and reach across the great ideological divides in our country. Just as literacy in reading gives us access to new kinds of information such as history, science and complex math, literacy in peace also gives us access to new kinds of information such as solutions to our national and global problems, along with solutions to many of our personal and family problems. That is why we need peace literacy in our schools.
Waging Peace is a project-based curriculum that engages students in the topic of peace literacy. The curriculum is adaptable to the specific learning needs of students and can be used as an independent project, a collaborative group project or a whole class effort. Students complete readings, engage in meaningful discussion, and determine their final personal response to guiding questions. Throughout the project, students maintain a connection with their “why”. Why is this topic relevant to them, anyone else, or throughout history? To sustain an informed inquiry, they repeatedly analyze what they know or believe and what they need to know in order to develop a final response to the key and guiding questions. They are asked to share their insights and findings through regular discussions. This reinforces the collaborative component of the material and provides practice for the elements of respect and diverse thinking that are at the heart of waging peace.
Waging Peace also focuses on skills and thinking. Career readiness skills include collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, academic competency and communication. Thinking skills are at the heart of the project. Were students able to interpret the information and apply it to their current situations? Were they able to explain how or why they determined their final decisions? Were they able to express their perspectives while showing empathy for the perspectives of others? Finally, did the project help them become more self-aware?



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