From June 28 – 29, I have had the distinct pleasure of facilitating a series of workshops at a conference for professional educators. The conference, Nonviolent Civic Action around the World, was organized and hosted by the Global Studies Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I was invited to present by the United States Institute of Peace, an organization with whom I have worked in collaboration with my colleagues at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. I also had the pleasure of designing and co-facilitating some of these workshops with another teacher trainer from George Washington University.
As the center’s website states, the conference is “a two-day development workshop for professional educators interested in understanding and teaching about international peace-building movements… The theme — Nonviolent Civic Action around the World — will appeal to educators broadly defined to include K-12 teachers, university educators, professional communicators, and college and university students training in these fields.
“The workshop will consist of short talks & interactive exercises and will draw upon experts from the US Institute of Peace and scholars within the UW System and with Wisconsin colleges. Presentations will offer both topical/content information as well as strategies for teaching about peace and international peace-building movements.”
The four workshops my co-facilitator and I designed were the following:
- Bringing Themes of Nonviolent Struggles into the Classroom. This workshop acted as a needs assessment, harvesting from the participants what skills or knowledge they already bring to the workshop and what they are looking to learn and develop in particular. We also screened a segment of the documentary series, A Force More Powerful, and then asked teachers specific questions about how they could see themselves using the film in their classrooms.
- Theories, Methods, Strategies, and Tactics of Nonviolent Movements. This workshop gave an introduction to key themes and ideas within the field of nonviolent civic action – monolithic vs. pluralistic views of power, strategic nonviolent action vs. ethical nonviolence, methods of nonviolent action (omission vs. commission, high risk vs. low risk, movement mobilization vs. opponent disruption) and different ways that teachers can break these down for their students. The teachers were broken up into smaller groups to explore more closely and in an interactive way some of these themes.
- How Nonviolent Movements Help Shape Global Issues. This workshop broke the teachers up into groups and had them look at current news articles related to nonviolent civic action and then respond to guiding questions related to the key themes discussed in the previous workshop.
- Planning Thoughtful and Engaging Units. This workshop was an opportunity for teachers to reflect on all the workshops and presentation they had attended over the course of the two days and then brainstorm on ways the content and pedagogy could be incorporated into lesson plans for their classrooms.
Download full workshop agenda.
Download the plan for our specific workshops.