Project or Program: Violence: Past, Present and Future
Description: High school curriculum/course
Violence: Past, Present and Future is a course that allows high
school students the opportunity to explore the history of violence, examine
the current climate of violence, review the alternatives to violence, and
project themselves into a future of their own design. Many of the course
assignments and discussions have been designed to develop students'
capacities to analyze, defend and critique public policies, and to develop
skill with the use of information resources available in the library and on
the Internet. Beginning with a look at the biological, sociological and
psychological roots of violence and aggression, class sessions throughout
the year include, but are not limited to: history of war and the theory of
just wars; heroes and heroines; cultural, institutional and structural
violence; violence in popular culture past and present -- sports, media,
entertainment, etc; alternatives to violence including mediation, conflict
resolution and theories of non-violence; and psychological aspects of
violence including powerlessness, anger and shame.
Students are engaged in:
* Film and other resources
* Guest speakers
* Group research projects and presentation
The objectives of the course are:
* To understand the root causes of violence and
* To become aware of why and how violence has become an
expression of aggression;
* To explore different ways of looking at and thinking
* To uncover our hidden assumptions about violence and
* To analyze real situations involving violence and some
* To develop and critique alternatives to violence;
* To enhance your social skills of listening, discussing,
advising,interacting, trusting, negotiating and
Costs: $0 but time, to date
Status: I taught this year-long course to 15 kids last year; this year I
have 50 kids. I'm doing it for free (the kids get credit, though) for the
high school my children attend.
1. 50 kids is too large a group and 2 hours is too long to have them
maintain their attention. I'll be changing the structure of the class to
accommodate the attention spans of these kids.
2. I have a dozen gang members in this group. It is particularly
difficult, surprisingly, to make any of this seem relevant to them.
3. My plans are to publish this curriculum and give workshops to teach
teachers how to teach this course.
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