Materials for peace education in ELT classes

On the occasion of the International Day of Peace on the 21st of September, I would like to link to a short article I wrote some time ago after a presentation at a Conference on the island of Crete about three years ago (2006).  At that time, I had promised I would write a sequel with some ideas and activities based on the ideas I used in my presentation but, what with one thing and another, this never came to pass.

If you would like to read the original article, please click on its title below:

Peace Education & ELT

You can also just continue reading to see some sample activities – their features are mentioned above each category. The activities are not new or very original and most TEFL teachers will recognise them but here, I have opted to list activities which promote the peace cause. If you are using them already, that is great and this is one of the points in the oririgal article, that the language classroom is emminently suited for promoting peace, collaboration and good relationships. Just looking at them from a different angle may cause you to change their content ever so slightly to include this element in your lessons.

The activities icluded below attempt to follow the criteria listed in the original article quoted below:

"Educating for Peace requires improvement or development of the following:
  • Becoming a good communicator – improving communication skills
  • Developing the ability to resolve conflicts
  • Improving understanding and developing empathy for others
  • Developing the ability to view issues from a multiple perspective
  • Developing critical thinking
There is also a need for knowing things. Learners who know very little about the world and others will need help with:
  • Improvement of general knowledge
  • Knowledge of the target language community
  • Knowledge of their own country and their own culture
  • Knowledge of cultures other than their own
Finally, educating for peace requires more self-confidence and improvement of self-image in our learners."

Activities should …

… stress similarities and common ground amongst the learners

… be personalised and help learners get to know each other better

… add to their general knowledge, knowledge about own and other cultures, too

… include negotiation and problem solving to practise conflict resolution strategies

… encourage a multiple perspective – ability to view topics/issues from various viewpoints.


1/  CLASS  STATISTICS   (a great activity adapted from J.Hadfield’s excellent book “Classroom Dynamics”, OUP)

Student get up and mingle to find out  …(e.g.)

  • How many are only children
  • How many live in a suburb
  • How many are over 25
  • How many are married
  • How many have children
  • How many children the group  has in total
  • How many years in total the group has worked …etc.

At the end, class “statistics” are presented centrally in some way.

2/  FIND SOMEONE LIKE YOU – similar to “find someone who” questionnaires

  • Likes the same kind of books
  • Did some similar naughty things as a child
  • Speaks the same number of foreign languages
  • Has the same taste in clothes ….etc.

3/ BUDGET ACTIVITIES (in which the students have up to a certain amount of money, credit, or point to spend on a given task)

Furnish your room from a list of new and second hand items (]]>

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