Peace Education: Understanding Conflict

Topics: Peace, Conflict theory, Conflict Pages: 11 (2591 words) Published: December 19, 2012
Peace Education: Understanding Conflict
and Artistic Approaches to Peacebuilding

Preparatory readings
Learning to Abolish War, Reardon and Cabezudo (2002)
Collaborative approaches to resolving conflict, Isenhart and Spangle (2000) Training for Transformation, Hope, Timmel, and Hodzi (1984)
Working with conflict: Skills and strategies for action, Fisher et al (2000)

Conflicts occur every day, in multiple settings, and between parties of equal and asymmetrical power relations. Often conflicts grow and escalate, with parties not communicating openly and honestly, to the point that relationships become stressed and possibly stretched beyond a point of return to normalcy. The capacity to manage and resolve conflicts nonviolently enables individuals and groups to maintain peaceful environments. With such tools peacefulness may be established and sustained. Without the knowledge and practice of creative conflict resolution and peacebuilding techniques, relationships often enter into periods of violence, followed by times of relative peace, and elapse again into periods of conflict. Conflict however, as e explore through this module, is not necessarily negative—but violence should be avoided. By learning to recognize personal approaches to conflict management (i.e., avoidance, assertion, and aggression), being aware of theories of conflict, and practicing tools of conflict transformation, individuals become empowered to manage conflict and relationships constructively.

Level: High School and Undergraduate courses

Core Subject: Social Sciences, History, Geography, English, Peace Studies

Materials: Poster paper and writing utensils

Time Frame: Approximately five (5) hours

A unit addressing:
➢ Awareness of conflict styles
➢ Conflict analysis tools
➢ Conflict resolution techniques
➢ Conflict resolution in the workplace
➢ Teambuilding activities

Core Concepts:
➢ Various conflict styles
➢ Escalation/de-escalation of conflicts
➢ Conflict analysis diagrams/continuum
➢ Communication styles
➢ Building a cooperative spirit in our communities

Students will do the following by the end of the lesson:
➢ Explore personal approaches to conflict management
➢ Grapple with conflict resolution theories and analysis tools ➢ Recognize stages of conflict
➢ Discuss the role of conflict resolution and peacebuilding in our communities ➢ Promote awareness of the multiple perspectives of peace and conflict resolution

Guiding Inquiry:
➢ How do we deal with conflict, personally, in groups, and at different levels of society? ➢ What are different theories of conflict?
➢ Are there contemporary tools we could use in analyzing conflict? ➢ How could the arts assist in the exploration of violence/peace and the transformation of conflicts?

Facilitation strategies:
Following a short introductory lecture, the facilitator will present the following cooperative education methods: Role-play, Conflict mapping (But Why Method), Theatre activities, and Reflective group discussions. The timeframe of activities and discussions is open to the teachers’ discretion to allow for the issues to be addressed in a proper manner (though this complete unit is estimated at 4-5 hours).

Warm-up Activity
The Peace Line Exercise. Put 3 points of peace/peacelessness in a continuum around the room (i.e., peaceful, somewhat peaceful, and peaceless). Have participants choose a point along that continuum that represents their emotions that day. After students have chosen a point, have students share their feelings. Ensure that students know they may opt out of sharing (as they may not feel comfortable sharing their emotions publicly), listen attentively, and never negate what is shared in this personal activity. Create an open and welcoming space.

Activity 1
Conflict styles. Highlight...

References: Boal, Augusto (1992). Games for Actors and Non-actors. New York: Routledge.
Earth Charter (2000). Online at
Fisher, Simon et al
Galtung, J. (2004). Transcend and Transform: An Introduction to Conflict Work. London: Pluto Press.
Hope, Timmel, and Hodzi (1984). Training for Transformation: A handbook for community workers. Harare, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press.
Isenhart, M. W. & Spangle, M. (2000). Collaborative Approaches to Resolving Conflict. Thousand Oaks, (Ca): Sage Publications
Raider, E., Coleman, S
Reardon, Betty A. (2001). Education for a culture of peace in a gender perspective. Paris: UNESCO.
Reardon, Betty, and Cabezudo, Alicia (2002). Learning to Abolish War. New York: Hague Appeal for Peace.
United Nations (1999). Declaration and resolution on a decade for a culture of peace
and nonviolence for children of the world
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