By teaching our students to think, care, and act, we empower them to build a peaceful future.

Welcome to Think, Care, Act, where teachers and students can find rationales and resources to infuse required curricula with peace, character, global, and multicultural concepts throughout the year.

To act in a world whose problems seem overwhelming requires being able to use the powers of critical and creative thinking and compassionate and inclusive care. Employing these tools, adults and youth alike can work effectively and conscientiously to solve problems big and small, global and local.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Peace education as an umbrella concept for our best educational aspirations

I envision peace education as an umbrella, encompassing education’s best efforts to empower youth to change the world for the better:  critical and creative thinking education, civics education, character and moral education, multicultural and antibias education, gender-equity education, conflict resolution and antiviolence education, social justice and global education, service learning, environmental education, and 21st century education to name major strands of teaching for the greater good.

In my website, I provide rationales for teaching peace along with an annotated list of peace education resources.  Organized in the think, care, act framework, visitors can find useful links to promote critical and creative thinking, compassionate care for local and global communities, and social action for the greater good.   As I update and revamp the site, I will list new links that are helpful to peace, character, global, and multicultural educators.  Here is an example:

Human Rights Resource Center (University of Minnesota) 
This deeply linked site provides resources and rationales for teaching about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human rights in general.  Useful questions, lessons, and downloadable files are available to connect literature, current events, history, and other curricula to the consideration of human rights.  Browse around to find resources for ages K-adult!

·         This is my Home
Examples of resources available as pdfs are K-2 (Caring School Climate) or 6-8 (Justice or Injustice).  Lesson plans, rationales, and handouts are provided.  Social action steps are outlined, including sample letters and action plans.  Invaluable!

Some teachers may be unfamiliar with peace education, while others worry about having “something else” to teach. Cheryl Duckworth wrote about this issue in her June 20, 2011 blog:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Irwin Abrams on Working for the Unseen Harvest

Recently, an online conversation among members of the Peace and Justice Studies Association began with responses to this quote posted by a member.  Author, poet, and activist Alice Walker was asked, “What good is the antiwar movement if it has failed to stop war?”   

Walker responded, “Sometimes you can’t see tangible results. You cannot see the changes that you’re dreaming about, because they’re internal…. But what we’re doing as we try to stop war externally, what we’re trying to do is to stop it in ourselves. That’s where war has to end. And until we can control our own violence, our own anger, our own hostility, our own meanness, our own greed, it’s going to be so, so, so hard to do anything out there. So I think of any movement for peace and justice as something that is about stabilizing our inner spirit so that we can go on and bring into the world a vision that is much more humane than the one that we have dominant today.” (quoted in Static by Amy Goodman, p. 295)
Her words remind me of Gandhi’s: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” 

A few years ago I asked a similar question about the effectiveness of peace education.  I was doing a program in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with Irwin Abrams, renowned peace education scholar and biographer of Nobel Peace Prize winners.  After our presentation I asked Irwin what I should tell people who complain that peace education is a process that is too slow to be effective.  I really wanted to know what to tell myself.

In his nineties, Irwin did not miss a beat.  He spun around and assured me, “We work for the unseen harvest.  There are consequences” of the work we do.  This promise of the “unseen harvest” has soothed, inspired, and kept me going in the years since. 

I guess it pays to be a historian.  Irwin took the long view, seeing the work of peace educators as having lasting effects, over generations of students, many of whom will take action for peace and justice.  Historian Howard Zinn’s long-term perspective of history also helps me see humans as ultimately good—striving for a better world as best we can, and our work as ultimately effective.  I am also inspired by the events portrayed in the film and book A Force More Powerful.  Thus, I am teaching students whom I feel will be better equipped to think, care, and act to build a peaceful world.  The harvest may be unseen, but our duty is to sow the seeds. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coming soon: A new book by Susan Gelber Cannon

Think, Care, Act: Teaching for a Peaceful Future
Committed to teaching for peace and justice, the author brings to life a teaching approach that empowers youth:

• to think critically and creatively about historical, current, and future issues,

• to care about classmates and neighbors as well as the global community,

• to act—locally and globally—for the greater good.

Think, Care, Act: Teaching for a Peaceful Future is readable, practical, conversational, and intimate.  It will inspire readers to build a just and peaceful world.

Think, Care, Act depicts the daily successes and struggles a peace educator undergoes in encouraging students to envision peace and gain tools to build a culture of peace. The author uses three imperatives—think, care, act—to infuse required curricula with peace, character, and multicultural concepts in daily activities throughout the year.  Chapters address critical and creative thinking; media and political literacy; compassionate classroom and school climate; explorations of racism, gender issues, civil discourse, global citizenship, war, and peace; and school, community, and global social-action projects. Chapters include rationales, lesson expectations, and classroom “play-by-play.” Students’ feedback about the impact of lessons is also featured. With its combination of theory and practice Think, Care, Act is unique. It will motivate teachers, education students, and scholars to employ “think, care, act” frameworks to empower students to build a peaceful future.

“Peace can be taught in practically every discipline if teachers truly concerned about the fate of this planet and its inhabitants have resources like this book to guide them…. [Cannon’s] sophisticated understanding of how to address these complex issues will help other teachers choosing to grapple with these difficult challenges.  If more teachers follow the guidelines she provides in this book, every student can learn about peace.”

Ian Harris, Author of Books, not Bombs;
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; from the Foreword

 “The writing is excellent: passionate and personal, blending serious content with an engaging, reader-friendly style.  This is an important book—for character education and all of education.”

Thomas Lickona, Author of Character Matters;
Director, Center for the 4th and 5th Rs;
Co-Director, Smart & Good Schools Initiative;
State University of New York-Cortland

A volume in Peace Education from Information Age Publishing
Series Editors Ian Harris, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee,
Edward J. Brantmeier, James Madison University, and Jing Lin, University of Maryland

IAP - Information Age Publishing, PO Box 79049, Charlotte, NC 28271    Web and bulk discounts available: