Publication Date

2011

Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

John Ungerleider

Abstract

In the United States, the top 20% of the population owns 85% of the wealth. This leaves only 15% of the wealth for the rest of the population. This clear disparity of wealth, in combination with the common practice of racial segregation (created by 300 years of inequality) has direct correlations to violence in United States cities. Boston is one of these cities. Impoverished minority neighborhoods are struggling because they exist in a society that is essentially ignoring them. There are fewer opportunities in poor minority neighborhoods, particularly for young people. As a result, a cycle of violence has continued to grow. Peace First, Inc. is an organization founded on the belief that the youth of Boston are problem-solvers, rather than witnesses, or victims of their surroundings, and wants to help create safer schools that will provide more productive opportunities for youth. The initial results of the peace education program implemented were so successful, that the organization received a grant to replicate and expand its program. For an organization built on education, the key to this expansion is to maintain the quality of curriculum and instruction while growing in quantity.

One of the fundamentals of quality programming is an effective curriculum. Educators must then expand upon it by turning what’s written, into knowledge their students can understand and apply. This is particularly important in peace education. To reach students whose lives are regularly affected by violence and conflict, curriculum must be relevant, cohesive, and tailored to student needs. This paper is the result of an inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of the Peace First curriculum, with a specific focus on the sixth grade. The results of the inquiry are herein analyzed and synthesized to create recommendations for a redesign with the goal of providing the next group of Peace First educators the fundamentals needed to achieve a strategy and pace conducive to understanding and manifestation of concepts, particularly in regards to effective student learning and engagement.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Sociology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Peace and Conflict Studies | Race and Ethnicity