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Teaching peace at Friends schools

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Teaching peace at Friends schools

Moses Brown I

Victor Bradley from Cambridge Friends School sharing one way that he is helping spread peace work to his students.

Photo: Moses Brown Friends School
By: Madeline Schaefer
Published: December 4, 2013

On Nov. 15, Quaker schools from around New England gathered at Moses Brown Friends School in Providence, R.I., for a day-long conference on peace education. Madeline Schaefer, Friends Relations Associate at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), was invited to present and share AFSC's resources for teaching peace to young people.

Along with giving her presentation, which she co-presented with Friends Council on Education's Deborra Sines Pancoe, Madeline spoke with other presenters and organizers to try and answer the question of what peace education looks like, and how AFSC might help Quaker schools live out the peace testimony in and outside of the classroom.

Produced by Madeline Schaefer. To listen to more audio stories, subscribe to the podcast through iTunes so you don't miss future episodes, and visit the Calling forth the Goodness podcast page.


Transcript (excerpt)

Madeline: What does it mean to teach peace at a Quaker school? Is it merely matter of incorporating units on important social change movements throughout history? Or is it something deeper? 

Deborra Sines Pancoe: It's a challenge for people to figure out ways that we can teach about people's efforts to create peace when many of our textbooks and a lot of our media is oriented to war and violence, so as educators, we have...I feel a strong responsibility to taking a look at that and helping kids take a look at that with a critical eye.

Madeline: Deborra Sines Pancoe is the associate director of the Friends Council on Education, an organization that provides support and resources to Quaker schools around the country. On Nov. 15, she gave a presentation during the first annual conference of Quaker schools in New England. Galen McNamar Hamann, who organized the event, chose to focus the first of these gatherings on the Quaker testimony of peace.

Galan McNamar Hamann: I wanted something that could go across all different age levels and it seemed like peace education would be something that a lot of schools could connect with and send people who did anything because really peace education is something that can be lived by any member of a Friends school community.


About the Author

Madeline is the Friends Relations Associate. She grew up in the beautiful Radnor Meeting community outside of Philadelphia, and attended Friends Schools in the area until the end of High School.  After several years of studying and traveling, she returned to Philadelphia only to immerse herself once again in the stories, the culture and the spirituality of Philadelphia Quakers.  While living in collective house in West Philadelphia, she grew curious about the history of young Quaker activists in the neighborhood, and started an oral history project to find out more.  Madeline is interested in exploring the ways in which life in community can stretch our capacity for compassion and growth.  Her dream is to create more alternative communities of people learning how to live together, creating models for a society fueled by cooperation and love.