Piloting Peace Education in Poland

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We would like to share with the followers of our web site one of the first and cheerful letters received in 2016. It is sent to us by Magdalena Brzezińska, a teacher of the Junior High School of the Catholic Cultural Society in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. The representatives of the NGO WFD had a meeting with two school teachers in Bielsko-Biala back in November 2015 and provided them with the “Conflict management education in schools” manual, posters and other educational materials elaborated by the organization.

Dear Gohar,

I conducted the first peace class today, and I believe it was successful. Please see the Google Drive link in the appended message for all the photos.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0Bz8PrIlAHKoLS1NTUzZYODB1dEk&usp=sharing )

Here’s a short description of the class:

My class consists of junior high school students (it’s the Junior High School of the Catholic Cultural Society, second grade, students aged 14, 8 students in the group). The class was 45 minutes long. I adapted Lesson 1 from the handbook (“What is peace?”). The topic was extremely interesting and meaningful to my pupils, and they were quite enthusiastic.

The class was necessary, as there are 5 boys and 3 girls in the group, and the boys fight almost all the time. We discussed peace symbols and connotations, and also some peace-related artworks (the ancient sculpture of Irene and three murals/graffiti created by Banksy). The Prezi can be seen here: https://prezi.com/umy8nu0opq1l/peace/ 

I started by distributing the postcards with your student’s art that you kindly gave me during our meeting. I explained to my pupils that it’s a special gift for them from Armenian teachers. I asked them if they knew where Armenia was. We viewed your country on the map. Then, I asked them if they thought it was a peaceful country, and why they thought so. A very interesting discussion followed. Next, my students described the postcard and said why they thought it depicted peace between neighbours.

Some other activities included: writing the word “peace” in all the languages they know; writing acrostics forming the word “peace;” writing an interpretation of one of Banksy’s murals from the point of view of the protagonist (the soldier, the rebel or the dove).

At one point, the boys started fighting/arguing and I said to them: “So we are discussing peace and how important it is, and you are fighting?” They stopped and seemed very surprised.

I think my students came up with very meaningful interpretations of peace artworks and with beautiful acrostics. I hope you’ll like them too. In some photos you can also see a huge display board in the staircase of our school (between the ground floor and the first floor), where every student can see the outcomes of the “peace class” and read the writing. The headmaster also viewed the board, and he approved of it.

Thank you very much for the meaningful and inspiring materials!
Warmest regards,
Magdalena

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For more details of WFD NGO representatives’ meetings in Poland follow the link