Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Listening to the voices of our children

Over the past few days I have been in email communication with two educators - one in the United States and one in New Zealand. The teacher in the US is using the format of plays to create scenarios of wrongdoing and conflict and then asking students to create the response to this scenarios as part of the play. At the same time a Maori educator in New Zealand and I are exploring the use of kapa haka as a means for Maori students to express the wrongdoing and conflict in their lives and how they propose responding to it.
I am impressed with both of these ideas because they go to the core of what my research shows - that is, that under the current systems of student discipline in schools we are treating students as passive receptors (of punishment). We are not building their capacity to solve problems nonviolently. So where do we think they will learn these important skills? And isn't knowing how to solve problems nonviolently (both individually and collectively) important for all of us to learn? For after all, if we do not know these important skills we tend to ignore the problem or expect someone else, usally an expert, to solve the problem for us. I believe we can and should take responsibility for building a more peaceful society by learning together how to respond to conflict and wrongdoing nonviolently.

No comments:

Post a Comment