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Building Peace Literacy Curriculum

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“A Year of Peace Literacy” began with NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell’s talk at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis, Oregon last November at the invitation of an alum of Chappell’s summer workshop in 2013, Professor Linda Richards from Oregon State University (OSU). It built momentum with a quick return visit in March that saw OSU Professor Shari Clough and high school principal Eric Wright added to the team, and continued this June with “Building Peace Literacy Curriculum,” Chappell’s workshop for public school teachers and administrators held at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis. Participants included more than 18 teachers, from every grade level at schools from Corvallis, Eugene, and Salem, as well as vice principals and principals.

The event was organized by Professors Clough and Richards, co-Directors of Phronesis Lab: Experiments in Engaged Ethics, in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at OSU, along with a new team mate, Professor Mike O’Malley from the OSU College of Education.

Workshop participants all received sample lesson plans on nine peace literacy skills which focused on three main areas: Understanding and healing aggression, resolving conflicts, and recognizing and applying the power of respect. After a presentation by Chappell, particpants broke into groups to discuss ways to incorporate the lessons into existing curriculum and to shape new curricula. Clough said, “The presentation and workshop were transformative. Thinking of our students’ peace literacy needs in terms of their psychological development was particularly helpful for me.”

Chappell‘s presentation was titled “A New Peace Paradigm: Our Human Needs and the Tangles of Trauma.” He explained, “This is a new foundation for understanding our human problems and on this foundation we can use peace literacy skills to heal these problems.”

Comments from educators ranged from “Paul’s insights were truly new, unique, and pragmatic” to “This is such important work and with endless rewards.”

Clough reported, “We now have a solid team dedicated to future planning around Peace Literacy in our curricula at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels.”

“A Year of Peace Literacy” will continue into September, when Chappell is scheduled to return to give several workshops in Corvallis at the university level. Clough added, “There are already a number of amazing educators around the US and Canada working on incorporating Chappell’s Peace Literacy in the classroom. The goal is for OSU to become an organizational hub that can provide resources for educators in Peace Literacy. This is more than a selection of new lesson plans. Peace Literacy is the start of an international movement.”


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