Peace Education

Vielleicht interessiert euch ja, was ich hier so produziere und zu hören bekomme. Also findet ihr hier meine erste Hausübung aus der EPU:


I thought a lot about peace education these past few days.

First, I had to define “peace education” for myself.

Peace for me is the freedom and the ability to fulfil all your needs and to make your own choices.

Education is a constant learning and teaching of ways to intelligently interpret and constructively criticize action, thought and knowledge. 

Obviously, you can’t just combine those two, as I don’t think you can teach or learn freedom. So, Peace Education for me is more of an anti-violence, anti-oppression education. I would define it as follows: Peace education is a process of showing the different interpretations of knowledge and how to arrive at your own in an intelligent, constructive and creative way. Peace education uses a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach with focus on the self to build skills which aim at understanding and preventing violence, empowerment of the self and showing the relativity of values.

It is a process because it’s never finished. You can’t attend a two-day seminar and then be a peaceful person. It’s a lifelong challenging of your ideas and views again and again, as all education should be.

I think it’s important that peace education covers the differences of the various cultures and for me that’s displayed best in the way different people interpret the same knowledge or facts. You won’t find anybody who has the exact same opinion as you do in all points and in showing this and at the same time stressing that it doesn’t really matter, that you just have to accept different point of views as a fact of life, will help to make the idea of peace more practicable.

To teach and to learn how to interpret knowledge in an intelligent, constructive and creative way is again something all education should aim at, not only peace education. It means that you should not accept everything that is presented to you right away. Question it! Is this really what’s going on? Or is this really how it should be done? Isn’t there a more creative solution for this problem, a solution which will make everybody happy?

It’s very important to emphasise the “creative way”. Paraphrasing Bruno Bettelheim: children will resort to violence when they don’t have a more creative solution for a conflict. (Conflicts may be inevitable but they still need to be resolved because that’s the point of growth: when you solve one conflict to make room for the next one.)

What Bruno Bettelheim says about children holds true for any other human being.

It may be argued that creativity cannot be taught. I agree with that but I also think that everyone has it inside themselves and that mostly people just need help to discover a way to access this creativity.

The holistic and multi-disciplinary approach is important because we encounter conflicts everywhere. As peace education wants to prevent violent solutions and encourage non-violent solutions it should be everywhere. It’s nice if kids, for example, have two hours of peace education a week but it would be better to have it “all the hours a week” while covering different subjects. Put simply: Study history, geography, art, … in a peace-educative way.

It’s important to have the focus on the self because, as Jiddu Krishnamurti put it so clearly: “(…) there can be right action only when there is right thinking, and there is no right thinking when there is no self-knowledge. Without knowing yourself, there is no peace.”

Also, ultimately the self is the only force we have for change.

Let’s have a closer look at the three aims I mentioned before:

<!–[if !supportLists]–>Ø      <!–[endif]–>understanding and preventing violence
Just to state a short definition of violence: Violence is when your freedom and ability to fulfil your needs and to make your own choices is taken from you. Therefore it is the opposite of peace and it should be the main concern of peace education to prevent it but also to point it out and make people understand why it happens.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>Ø      <!–[endif]–>empowerment of the self
I already stated the importance of the focus on the self and the empowerment of the self is a way to learn about ourselves. It also means that our own view on the world and our own values are strengthened which should not lead to the assumption that they are better than other views or values but make us more secure within ourselves and therefore see no reason to attack anyone because of difference of opinion.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>Ø      <!–[endif]–>showing the relativity of values
I don’t think that there ever has been nor will be a time when all people at the same time will have the same values. Values are relative, not universal, they are different for everyone. The important thing is that we understand and accept that.

It is very important for me to say that peace education, as I see it, has only four doctrines: peace, self-knowledge, critical thinking and the relativity of all other values.

As I encourage critical thinking, I would welcome it when one of my future students or somebody else would challenge me on something.

But peace education is not only what we teach but also how we teach. If I teach in a violent way my students will act violently for, as Andria Wisler put it: “what we teach affects how we teach affects what action we take”.

That’s what I meant before when I said that we should teach everything in a peace-educative way: based on the four doctrines. The content may be different but the how should stay the same.

A last thing I want to state, which kind of summarises all of my thoughts on peace, is the Platinum Rule: Treat everyone as they want to be treated (as opposed to the Golden Rule: Treat everyone as you want to be treated).

2 thoughts on “Peace Education

  1. wow. Was soll ich da mehr sagen.
    Normalerweise lese ich keine so langen weblog-Einträge, aber bei dem bin ich drankgeblieben. Sehr, sehr schlau; lässt einen hoffen, dass du mal wirklich die teacher-side übernimmst.

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