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Peace Education and Conflict Resolution

In 1994, at the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and the Arts, a series of planning meetings for the development of an international school network dealing with "PE&CR" were held. At that time, strategies for handling conflicts were not an important topic, neither in the society at large nor in schools. In the meantime the situation has changed fundamentally.

Experience in the project showed that work on conflicts had been long overdue. Situations of conflict may arise wherever people interact. Yet those involved in the project work typically claimed that there were 'actually' no 'real' conflicts within their field of activity. Consequently, time had to be dedicated initially to identifying and describing the conflicts affecting the individual participants.

Conflicts use up a lot of energy and cause resources to be squandered. Even if they are not consciously registered they impair human interaction. The present project has contributed to bringing the topic of conflict resolution to the fore, and to the recognition of its general importance.

There will always be conflicts. They can be a motor for human development. However, in order to realize this potential a constructive, non-violent way of handling conflicts is necessary. Dealing with conflicts at school within the framework of projects offers the opportunity to prepare for more serious situations, be it within the family, at school or in the world of work. Fathoming the causes of conflict is the basis for personal change, but also for changes in the societal structure.
Intercultural cooperation was a crucial element in this international pilot project. Through this cooperation the participants gained insight into culture-related conflicts and possible solutions and were motivated to reflect on their own actions. An additional element of the learning experience was the use of English for inter-school communication.

At all the schools involved it was found that if the creative potential of conflicts can be activated everyone can derive valuable experience from it and benefit in terms of personal development. The project's favourable development is certainly due to the competent project design, preparation and guidance by the management team of the Intercultural Centre in Vienna. I should like to use this opportunity to thank them, as well as everyone else involved, for their contribution to the positive outcome of this worldwide cooperation.

May the models described stimulate many pupils and teachers to start their own projects. This brochure, as well as additional related material, is meant to support them in this task.

Contents
VORWORT/PREFACE
INTRODUCTION
WHAT IS “CONFLICT”?

    Aims of project work
    Structure of project work
    Phases of project work
    Dealing with conflicts - step by step

GETTING STARTED

    Preparation of the teacher
    Terminology
    Co-operation with colleagues
    Informing the staff
    Involvement of the headteacher
    Formation of a student group
    Information of parents

WORKING WITH THE CLASS

    First steps
    Subjects to work on
    Conflict analysis
    Conflict resolution: The home-work conflict project

EVALUATION

    Action-research
    Internal evaluation
    External evaluation

INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS

    Knowledge about cultures
    Who to work with?
    One country or more?
    Support
    Some Suggestions for Activities within an International School Partnership
    To meet or not to meet, that is the question
    Difficulties that might arise - things to bear in mind

RESSOURCES

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