This paper examines the effects of the Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee Inc.’s Peacemakers’ workshop in Milwaukee schools from a classroom teachers perspective. The Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee (PLC) peacemakers’ workshop is a conflict resolution training for 4th and 5th grade students coming predominantly from Milwaukee Public schools since 2002. In the 2007-2008 school year the PLC served over 1000 students from 40 classrooms and 23 schools. This is a phenomenological study of the teachers’ experiences on how the peacemakers’ workshop improved classroom culture and their students’ abilities in handling conflicts peacefully. Surveys were sent to 32 of the 40 classroom teachers. Eleven teachers responded back with completed surveys.

The findings suggest that the classrooms that attended the peacemakers’ workshop have shown improvement in the way they handled conflicts. It gave teachers more instruments and authentic student experiences to draw from that helped redirect behavior and reinforce what choices the students had in handling a conflict. Students showed some independence in using the tools after the workshop, and the Peace Learning Center has received invaluable information on what teachers feel they need to make more of an impact on their students’ conflict resolution skills.

The positive effects are not as strong as they could be. There is the issue of consistent reinforcement from the teachers, the PLC and the community with the skills the students learned during the workshop. The schools are not always conducive to teachers taking time for things outside of the scripted curriculum. Large class sizes, and high need students are also issues teachers face. These are the challenges that the PLC must address as it grows as an organization and expands it programming.


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Peace and Conflict Studies