"Pedagogy is the determinant of human relationships in the educational process. It is itself the medium of communication between teacher and learner, and that aspect …which most affects what learners receive from their teachers."
– Betty Reardon

The following section supplements the Learning Units offered in the Learner as Teacher section and gives an overview of the broader theory of peace education. Navigate through the three sections on the left (Content and Methods, The Importance of Educational Environments, Challenges and Opportunities) to gain information on the substance and scope of the field.

Visit A Student’s Guide to Peace Education for information on how students can get involved in educating for a culture of peace.

"If peace is both the destination and the journey then what we teach and how we teach it must not be separated in our preparations for working with pupils."
-
Patrick Whitaker, British educational advisor and former teacher

 

Content & Methods
Peace education brings together multiple traditions of pedagogy, theories of education, and international initiatives for the advancement of human development through learning. It is fundamentally dynamic, interdisciplinary, and multicultural and grows out of the work of educators such as John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Paulo Freire, Johan Galtung, Elise and Kenneth Boulding, and many others.

Building on principles and practices that have evolved over time, responding to different historical circumstances, peace education aims to cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to achieve and sustain a global culture of peace. Understanding and transforming violence is central. The following diagram helps visualise the core relationship between violence and peace.

 

Peace is understood not only as the absence of traditional forms of direct violence, but also as a positive presence. Educating for and about all aspects of peace constitutes peace education.

The following diagram illustrates the relationships among the central knowledge, skills, and attitudes of peace education. They are drawn from educational initiatives all over the world and form the basis of the learning objectives in the Teaching Units of the Learner as Teacher section.

 


 

 

In the classroom, peace education aims to develop skills, attitudes, and knowledge with co-operative and participatory learning methods and an environment of tolerance, care, and respect. Through dialogue and exploration, teachers and students engage in a journey of shared learning. Students are nurtured and empowered to take responsibility for their own growth and achievement while teachers care for the wellbeing of all students. The practice of peace education is an opportunity to promote the total welfare of students, advocate for their just and equitable treatment of youth, and promote individual and social responsibility for both educators and learners. Through pedagogy and social action, peace educators demonstrate that there are alternatives to violence.

 

"It is understandable that in Hiroshima and Nagasaki peace education is almost exclusively equated with anti-nuclear bomb education. For many teachers, who were victims and survivors of the A-bomb attack, the core of peace education is nothing more than telling others about their own personal experience in August 1945."
- Mitsuo Okamoto, Japanese peace educator

 

The Importance of Educational Environments
Centred on developing the capacities of learners, peace education is relevant in a variety of different educational settings from rural to urban, school-based to community, and within formal curricula or non-formal popular education projects
(See examples). To a large extent, the social, cultural, economic, and political contexts in which educators work shape the specific content and methods they choose. However, the central knowledge, skills, and attitudes discussed in the Content and Methods section are relevant across educational environments. Many teachers infuse peace education into traditional academic subjects such as literature, math, science, history, language, civics, and the arts (See examples). Various aspects of peace education may even serve to enhance learning across subjects, as indicated in a recent conflict resolution initiative in the United States (See example). Ultimately, educating for peace is as varied as the teachers who practice it.

 

"...there are no simple answers to how education can contribute towards disarmament and development. But increasing awareness through education seems to be a way towards the kind of mobilisation that is necessary..."
- Magnus Haavelsrud, Norwegian peace educator

 

Challenges & Opportunities
Peace Education does not teach students what to think, but rather how to think critically. In the process, its holistic and participatory approach may conflict with more traditional curriculum design or strict standards-based schooling. Peace education aims not to reproduce but to transform. It consists of people "consciously striving to educate their successors not for the existing state of affairs but so as to make possible a future better humanity." (John Dewey, Democracy and Education) And with this task comes significant challenges and opportunities for all involved.

One way to meet the challenges of peace education is to build bridges of support among key participants. Just as learning takes place in a broader social context and not exclusively in schools or classrooms, so peace education relies on families, communities, and social networks to affect positive and lasting change. The notion "think globally, act locally" is central to educating for a culture of peace in that it links theory with practice, international issues to individual efforts. As a peace educator, you need not work alone. The international peace education community is active and growing through networks, publications, global campaigns, national initiatives, and international programs. Concerned citizens, educators and activists of all ages around the world are promoting and building peace through education. Get connected!