Sunday, July 31, 2022
Sunday, April 17, 2022
The Online Peer Mediation Platform team is back to doing what it does best, working with school coordinators and students to create a peer mediation program. Recently, OPMP had the pleasure of working with two schools to assist with the establishment of peer mediation programs. These schools included: Boys' Latin School of Philadelphia and Drury High School in New Adams, Massachusetts.
The training with Boys' Latin School included 20 hours of online training with the students and coordinator. Although there were a few challenges, overall the students enjoyed the training and seemed to do really well with their assignments and role plays. Kudos to their coordinator for all his hard work to make the online training a reality!!
Here is the feedback from Boys' Latin School peer mediation coordinator:
The training provided great lessons and activities that helped students prepare to become mediators and take power in their own school.
At Drury High School, one of our OPMP trainers was able to go to the school and train nine students as peer mediators. The students did a great job as new peer mediators!!
Here is the feedback from students about our training at Drury High School.
What was the best part of the training?
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Handling Conflict in Education with Facilitated Dialogues (Excerpt from Peace and Conflict Studies Journal Conference 2021)
This blog post was written by Darby Munroe regarding her thoughts about the rise of patriot education over peace education in the US since 2016. Darby explains why she disagrees with this trend and how educators can discuss difficult topics with students in the class using peace education techniques.
Darby will host a webinar to explain these techniques on March 24th @ 7 PM.
Since 2016, the rise in Nationalism under the former presidential leadership has revealed undercurrents of racism and structural violence throughout our nation. The former President rallied for Patriotic Education, to further a Nationalistic platform. His “Teach American Exceptionalism” item is under his “Fighting for You” agenda. In it, he claimed that the United States does not have a racism problem, but instead that young people are brainwashed into thinking bad things and must focus on how exceptional we, as a nation, really are. What’s missing is actual data and grounding in theories to back up his claims that we do not have race related issues in the US, and how an American Exceptionalism curriculum would benefit schools and communities. There is, however, a large body of research on peace education in schools, and the benefits to surrounding communities.
CURRENT EXAMPLE OF CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC IN EDUCATION:
Peace Ed vs Patriotic Ed
Should peace education be a basic need?
If students learned these things in school, how would it impact the larger community?
Prep work (structure, facilities/online, contacts)
One event or a Series of Events
Ground Rules and Expectations
Facilitated Dialogues are confidential safe spaces. People don’t have to agree with one another, but they can learn to seek to understand each other and find common ground.
Topics to be discussed
Large group and break out groups
Potential Agreements, further actions
Saturday, February 13, 2021
I had the opportunity to work with a middle school leadership class in Los Angeles California the week after the inauguration. The school is working “at a distance” and so my guest speaker spot was hosted via Zoom. The topic of the class was challenging students to “find the power of your own voice”. It was a gift to be able to lean into the words and delivery of Amanda Gorman to unpack this topic with the group. Her poem “The Hill we Climb”, is full of poetic devices of structural, grammatical, rhythmic, metrical, verbal and visual elements. It brings new images to life each time I read it. I was not surprised that the middle school students I shared the poem with were also moved by her words. They were fully engaged in discussing and reflecting on her message, even given the challenges of working and being in discussion online.
I started the class with viewing Amanda delivering her poem without any written words at hand. I asked students to share what they heard, what they felt, and what they wondered in the Zoom chat or aloud with mics on. Without hesitation, students jumped in to describe catching Amanda’s words of hope and a call for peace and respect. Students also saw her message grounded in reality with references to the conflicts facing our nation now. The next step was asking students to find specific phrases or words in the poem that matched the topics that they suggested and defined from the first viewing/hearing (which were hope, peace, and respect). Students were given the written text of the poem and we used a shared an electronic interactive “board” (Padlet) to give students a chance to process and analyze the words that evoked the responses they felt from the oral reading. Students found they were able to verify their feelings, citing the precise word choices of the author. The emotions that lingered clearly came from the words she crafted so thoughtfully.
The phrases that linger for me summarize our call to take up the work of peaceful conflict resolution: “And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know, to put our future first we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.” (https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/politics/a35279603/amanda-gorman-inauguration-poem-the-hill-we-climb-transcript/). There is the mighty power in the young voice that speaks of peace.
The following is a small sample of the responses and excerpts from The Hill We Climb, shared from the middle school participants.
Johnathan - "If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy."
"La mediación de los conflictos como aliada del bienestar en las aulas" ("Conflict mediation as an ally of well-being in the classroom ")
Join our newest OPMP Team member, Maria Teresa Cle'rici, for our first Spanish speaking webinar regarding using conflict mediation as an ally in the classroom on February 24th @ 6 PM EST. This webinar is specifically for Spanish speaking educators.
Maria Teresa is an attorney and educator who trains teachers in the field of conflict resolution in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Register at the link below:
See more about Maria Teresa's credentials below.
Thursday, January 28, 2021
If you missed our webinar on connecting students and educators during COVID-19 hosted by Darby Munroe, please check out our recording. Stay tuned to our monthly webinars!!
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Join OPMP team member, Darby Munroe, for her free webinar on connecting educators with their students during the COVID crisis. The webinar will be Thursday, January 28th @ 6 PM EST.
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.