Freedom's children: Fifth graders' perceptions of the effects of peace education in the form of Kingian nonviolence
This ethnographic study examines students' perceptions of the effects of peace education in the form of Kingian Nonviolence. Nine fifth grade students and seven parents were interviewed using life-story methods to elicit participants' perceptions regarding how the students' study of nonviolence affected their beliefs and behaviors. Data were coded and then analyzed utilizing constant comparison methods. Analysis of interview transcripts resulted in two categories of data-the fifth grade experience and social and personal change. Analysis of interview transcripts revealed that the fifth grade experience had three distinct phases-a phase of initial anxiety and concern, a middle phase during which the class began to build relationships and recast their relationship with their teacher, and a third phase reflecting what occurred during and after the class study of nonviolence. Within the larger context of what occurred during and after their study of nonviolence, nine sub-themes emerged: the teacher's role, a university peace educators influence, parental reaction, students as leaders, a sense of public presence, the development of relationships, and shared values between home and school. Interview transcripts also revealed changes in the classroom environment, the teacher, the parents and students' beliefs and behaviors. Students were more accepting of differences, more likely to refrain from negative self-talk, more apt to speak up for themselves and others, more likely to think before acting and more prone to serve as peacemakers. This study has implications regarding the controversial nature of peace education, students' perceptions of the classroom environment, the teacher as a charismatic leader, the ramifications of student empowerment, issues of parent involvement, and the aftercare needs of students.
EDUCATION, CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION (0727); EDUCATION, ELEMENTARY (0524); EDUCATION, SOCIAL SCIENCES (0534)
Sylvia Carolle Spears,
"Freedom's children: Fifth graders' perceptions of the effects of peace education in the form of Kingian nonviolence"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).