Teaching for Peace, Human Rights and Intercultural Understanding: the Role of Pre-Service Teacher Education in Ontario

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Sora Friedman


The purpose of this paper is to determine how three Faculties of Education in Ontario are preparing pre-service teacher candidates to teach for peace, human rights and intercultural understanding. The paper reviews the literature and uses descriptive research. The data was gathered through a textual analysis of the websites and course catalogues of the three Faculties of Education at Queen’s University, the University of Ottawa and York University, and through semi-structured interviews conducted with one to two professors or administrators at each Faculty.

Much literature exists on education for peace, human rights and intercultural understanding, but under a variety of terms such as multicultural education, anti-racist education, peace education and global education. There is a growing sense that these need to be integrated and approached in a holistic manner. While the literature and the United Nations documents on the subject advocate for teacher education, there is little on how teacher education programmes should implement education for peace, human rights and intercultural understanding.

The data from the universities revealed that the goals of the faculties are in line with educating for peace, human rights and intercultural understanding, and they have freedom to implement such topics. The interviewees advocated both for the issues to be infused in all classes as well as for separate classes that specialize in the topics. They mentioned student resistance, the difficulty in reaching all students, and the short timeframe of the programmes as realities they face. In addition, they expressed a need to share good practices on teaching for social justice.


Teacher Education and Professional Development

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