Peace Education in Canada: Teacher Perceptions of the Cultivating Peace Education Program
Many Muslims, Arabs, and other minority communities in Canada experienced the backlash of the September 11, 2001 events. Although these groups were discriminated against in a number of institutions, Muslim children in secondary schools in particular experienced different types of discrimination and violence. In order to help reduce incidents of discrimination in schools, with the help of academics at the Ontario Institute for Studies of Education (OISE), the Classroom Connections (non-for profit organization) developed a peace education program, the Cultivating Peace. Using qualitative methods, this paper examines the perceptions of teachers who used the Cultivating Peace program. Four themes emerged from the data collected for this research: flexibility, utility, relevance, and challenges. The findings reveal that educators believe the Cultivating Peace program promotes a culture of peace in Canada. Teachers find the Cultivating Peace flexible in that it fits well in the curriculum. In particular, teachers believe the program fits well in a social science and humanities curriculum. In addition, educators perceive the program is useful in teaching conflict resolution, communication, and problem-solving skills. They also find that the Cultivating Peace program is relevant to students’ lives because it teaches values that promote a culture of peace. Teachers mentioned two major challenges: lack of time and distribution problems.