“Dream of the Good” – a peace education project. Exploring its potential to educate for peace at an individual level
AuthorSommerfelt, Ole Henning
This study concerns the Swedish peace education project “The Dream of the Good” (DODG) and explores it’s potential to educate for peace at an individual level. DODG is a holistic, transformative and networking peace project. It aims to inspire for and facilitate education for individual peace in schools at different levels through practical methods based on two key principles: 1) awareness of connection between self and experience, i.e. how conscious and unconscious thoughts, feelings and actions influence one’s experiences, and 2) the role of calm and concentration in creating well-being and peaceful attitudes and behaviours. The research question concerns the effects of the key principles when implemented in teaching. It is operationalised as effects on: students’ ability to react non-violently; empathy; kindness in attitudes and behaviour; and inspiration for peaceful development. Towards this end both a theoretical study, based on empirical psychology and Buddhist philosophy, and a qualitative interview study with students, teachers and resource personnel were carried out. Reviewed theory supported a peace potential of the DODG methods. A potential for individual peaceful development was found to exist both according to psychology and Buddhism. These perspectives indicated to various degrees that teaching based on the key principles affects individual peace positively. Literature findings on the relaxation methods used by the Dream of the Good, represented strong support in the case of kindergarten children and indicated increased individual peace for students and grown-ups. The findings of the interview study accorded to large degrees with the theoretical findings and indicated peaceful effects among the interviewed group. Aggression among kindergarten children was observed to be reduced, and to a large degree interviewees perceived empathy to be strengthened as well as an enhanced ability to react calmly and non-violently in stressing and provocative situations. Many also reported an increased group harmony, as well as feeling inspired for practicing the DODG methods.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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