Educator Insights

Creating a National Peace Education Curriculum: Vietnam Peace Education Manual Case Study

In late 2004 and early 2005, the International Congress of Education for Shared Values for Intercultural and Interfaith Understanding and of Religion in Peace and Conflict: Responding to Militancy and Fundamentalism met in Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia respectively. The proceedings from these meetings were compiled, and in my perusal of them I came across an article reporting on the creation of a nation-wide peace curriculum that was designed for use in Vietnam’s schools across the country.

The full report of the project can be found on pgs 153-165 of the proceedings here, but I also found this summary article, “Tips for Developing Peace Education Curriculum: Some Lessons from Vietnam” to be very thought-provoking. According to the article, the lesson plans included many different elements, including some great games and follow up discussion questions, examples of which were included for readers to peruse.

The steps that were taken to design the program included much collaboration with native teachers, and special attention to creating peace education content that was relevant and meaningful to the Vietnam context. As a base for how to organize the curriculum, they used the UNESCO Peace Keys, and created content to flesh out each category that would engage Vietnamese students particularly. I like the categories set out by the Peace Keys, with the additional thought that depending on context, a Faith-based peace key might be beneficial and meaningful. The UNESCO Peace Keys are as follows:

* Respect all life – respecting the rights and dignity of each human being

* Reject violence – obtaining justice by convincing and understanding

* Share with others – living together in harmony

* Listen to understand – giving everyone a chance to learn and share

* Preserve the planet – making sure that progress is good for the environment

* Tolerance & solidarity – appreciating that everyone has something to contribute

* Work for social equality – ensuring an equal place in building society

* Participate in democracy – participation by everyone in making decisions

So after reading all this, here are the questions that are floating around in my mind:

How might the example of Vietnam’s peace curriculum development help us think about how to create curriculum for the contexts where we work?

How might the UNESCO Peace Keys be useful as categories not only for peace education, but for language lessons?

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Contributing Author

Abigail Long is a 2012 graduate of Messiah College in Grantham, PA, and a member of Fairview Ave Brethren in Christ Church in Waynesboro, PA. She spent 14 months teaching English in South Korea at the Connexus Language Institute and is deeply interested in the connections between language learning, teaching and peacebuilding.

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