Academic journal article Catholic Education

Culturally Responsive Peace Education: A Case Study at One Urban K-8 Catholic school/Educacion Para la Paz Culturalmente Receptiva: Un Estudio De Caso De Una Escuela Catolica Urbana K-8/education a la Paix Adaptee Au Contexte Culturel: Une Etude De Cas Dans Une Ecole Catholique De la Maternelle Au College, En Zone Urbaine

Academic journal article Catholic Education

Culturally Responsive Peace Education: A Case Study at One Urban K-8 Catholic school/Educacion Para la Paz Culturalmente Receptiva: Un Estudio De Caso De Una Escuela Catolica Urbana K-8/education a la Paix Adaptee Au Contexte Culturel: Une Etude De Cas Dans Une Ecole Catholique De la Maternelle Au College, En Zone Urbaine

Article excerpt

Many significant empirical studies have measured the impact of peace education programs in different contexts (Brantmeier, 2007; Casella, 2000; Harber & Sakade, 2009; Johnson & Johnson, 2001; Kester, 2008; Morrison, Austed, & Cota, 2011; Nevo & Brem, 2002; Stevahn, Johnson, Johnson, Schultz, 2002), but few studies direct sufficient attention onto program implementation (Hantzopoulos, 2011; Orpinas, Kelder, Murray, Fourney, et al.,1996). This paper aims to remediate this research gap by focusing more broadly on how teachers implement a comprehensive peace education program at one urban Latino K-8 private Catholic school in a Midwestern community marked by well-documented structural and oppressive violence.

Most research in peace education depicts peace education programs that utilize regular teachers (Harber & Sakade, 2009, is a notable exception) or depict interventions that are very short in length, some only eight hours over a weekend (Morrison, Austed, & Cota, 2011). The peace education program described in this study, however, is quite different. Peace Works (2) is a research based peace education curriculum developed by faculty at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in partnership with staff and students at the campus's Center for Peacemaking. The Peace Works model brings philanthropically funded outside peace teachers from the local community into schools to teach a structured curriculum during regular school hours. The Peace Works program is much longer than most, spanning the entire school year. The peace teachers teach one hour-long session each week to approximately 3 different groups at each participating school for the entire school year--reaching around 300 children a year. There is no monetary cost to the schools for this program. The choice to bring in outside peace teachers from the community is a very unique and compelling aspect of this model, but also one that carries enormous challenges.

Because Peace Works aims to foster a lasting culture of peace at the school, Peace Works requires individual schools to commit to a two-year relationship. In the first year, the model calls for the outside peace teachers to teach the curriculum to students, while also working closely with the regular teachers and other school personnel to prepare them to foster a lasting culture of peace at the school (the students' regular teachers remain in the classroom while the peace education sessions take place, but typically only to observe and not participate). Year two constitutes the implementation phase, where the Peace Works teachers come into the school only once a week to assist with implementation while the regular teachers at the school take over the role of teaching the peace curriculum directly to students. This study examined the first year of the model at St. Dominic (pseudonyms employed throughout the rest of the paper), where grades 4-8 participated.

Peace Works is firmly embedded in the Catholic tradition, in both conception and practice. Three elements of Catholic social thought, in particular, underwrite the program: A mission to advance social justice (Massaro, 2016); a mission to promote nonviolence (McCarthy, 2012); and a mission to enact forgiveness (Hornsby-Smith, 2006) and peacebuilding (Schreiter, Appleby, & Powers, 2010) in the wake of conflict. Peace Works explicitly targets Catholic school settings because it grounds peacemaking in Catholic biblical and theological tradition and thus uses explicitly religious themes, texts and symbols to discuss various dimensions of peacemaking. The 32-modular peace-building and conflict resolution curriculum strives to foster positive youth development and the reduction of youth violence by introducing students to types and cycles of violence, with special attention on structural violence and social injustices both presently and historically.

At the center of this study are the two outside peace teachers, both young Latino males born and raised in the community where the school is located. …

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