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« The Mighty and the Almighty, by Madeleine Albright | Main | Class Matters, by The New York Times »


I'd Rather Teach Peace, by Colman McCarthy

By an everyday book reader
March 1, 2007

In 1982, Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy was invited to teach a course on writing at an impoverished public school in Washington D.C.

He responded, "I'd rather teach peace." Since then, he has had more than 5,000 students in his classes on nonviolence, pacifism, and conflict management.

I'd Rather Teach Peace is the story of one man's passion for peace education, as seen during one semester in six schools where risk-taking students found themselves challenged and inspired by an unconventional course and by a man who believes that if we don't teach our children peace someone else will teach them violence.

I'd Rather Teach Peace: Lessons from the School of Nonviolence
by Colman McCarthyBook Picture

Softcover: 140 pages
ISBN: 9781570754302, 1570754306
Orbis Books
April 2002

Most of us know Colman McCarthy as a perceptive and sensitive journalist and religious commentator. But what we may not know is that he's also a devoted teacher of peace issues and peacemaking - so devoted, in fact, that he gave up his position at the Washington Post to devote himself full time to teaching. Moreover, he's taught in an amazing variety of contexts: university law schools, colleges, correctional institutions, inner city schools, suburb schools, alternative schools, public schools.

"The author teaches his students about the famous (Gandhi and King) and about those who should be famous (Dorothy Day and Jeanette Rankin). He tells them startling things (since the end of World War II, there has never been a democratically elected government as a result of U.S. military presence in a foreign country), and he encourages them to talk about what they're learning. Here he offers a kind of how-to manual, explaining how he gets kids to explore issues relating to peace and how he motivates them to think creatively. Instead of theory, he gives us practice - and a sense of the pleasure he takes from introducing his students to the joy of exploration. The book should be required reading for every educator in America." - American Library Association

Colman McCarthy tells stories about teaching people to resolve conflicts. Also, anyone interested in getting some good tips on how to communicate principles of peace to an audience that isn't necessarily already committed to a lifestyle of non-violence will find plenty of helpful material here.


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