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Attention to language essential for “Education for transformation”

In Mennonite Central Committee’s summer newsletter, contributors write about their experience with peace education, or education that “transforms.”

Lynn Longenecker, Education Coordinator for MCC, explains this type of education:

“Much effort has been made to improve access to quality education. However, to make a truly positive difference education must not only be high quality, but also transformative, provoking at least three layers of transformation: an increased sense of agency, a change in frame of reference and a reordering of values. If education is not intentionally made to be a tool for liberation, it stands in danger of becoming a tool of oppression.”

The three layers are ways in which educators can seek to intentionally create spaces that have the potential to bring about transformation.

Essential to this process is language. Several of the articles in the newsletter refer to the significance of dialogue. Education Coordinator for MCC Kenya, Monica Shank, makes it even more clear:

“[Language] is the medium through which all subject matter is learned. Heightened language skills translate directly into heightened ability to think, communicate and make connections and applications between school learning and one’s own life.”

In order for education to be transformative, both educators and learners must pay attention to language. Download the newsletter and read more at http://mcc.org/media/resources/1127.

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About clwoelk

Cheryl Woelk is coordinator of Language for Peace and specializes in language and peace education in multicultural contexts. She holds an MA in Education and a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. Cheryl currently lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her spouse and son.

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Contributing Author

Cheryl Woelk is coordinator of Language for Peace and specializes in language and peace education in multicultural contexts. She holds an MA in Education and a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. Cheryl currently lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her spouse and son.

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