In the midst of some of the largest antiwar demonstrations in the world’s history, many high school teachers in the United States are grappling with the issue of how to address the current situation in Iraq in their classrooms. Some have attempted to focus on traditional subjects and avoid potential conflicts in the classroom, but many have tried to work discussion of current events into their curriculum.
Some teachers have turned to curriculum designed for the current Iraq crisis, such as “Teaching with the News: Crisis with Iraq.” The curriculum, designed by Brown University’s Watson Institute, helps teachers hold educational debates in their classrooms about the war, according to the New York Times. “Peace Jam,” a more general curriculum on peace, is also popular, according to the Christian Science Monitor. “Peace Jam” is designed to introduce students to different cultures. “Anything that offers cultural awareness will promote peace because basically people are afraid of what they don’t know,” Clementhia Poole, a high school teacher, told the Monitor.
Other schools have turned to less traditional teaching methods to address the war. The Metropolitan Learning Center in Connecticut recently set up a satellite television linkup with English-speaking Iraqi students in Baghdad, according to the Times. American students asked if the Iraqis were worried about the impending war, to which one Iraqi replied, “When you wake up in the morning and hear that 5,000 people will be killed in a day, you don’t worry about your future. You worry if you will be one of those killed people,” according to the Times. Students at Walter Payton High School in Chicago performed the Greek pacifist comedy Lysistrata, in which the women withhold sex from their husbands until they end a war. The performance was followed by a panel discussion involving all sides of the current debate on war, according to the Times.
Media Resources: Christian Science Monitor 3/4/03;New York Times 3/7/03; Peace Jam 2003