Arts For Peace FINAL REPORT December 2008
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INTRODUCTION The Arts for Peace (A4P) Camp was a 6 day educational program held December 26th-31st, 2008. A4P engaged 36 urban youth in an interactive educational experience for learning conflict resolution techniques using the creative arts. For most of the students, this was an entirely new experience. The A4P Camp was in partnership with the Keep Kids Safe Summer Camp of Nu Sigma Youth and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. The A4P camp was held in space provided by the School for Social Change at Eastern University, Philadelphia.
PROGRAM Each student was introduced to A4P through an ARTMAKING TO PEACEMAKING curriculum written by Dr. Vivian Nix-Early. Students experienced art as metaphor where art is used to teach basic peacemaking, conflict resolution and negotiation skills – skills that are embodied in and reinforced by the art-making process itself. Through Dance, Drama, Music, and the Visual Arts, students learned a four-step peacemaking process. Mini-lectures previewed each step and student reflections reinforced learning. The culmination of student learning was showcased for family and friends in a dramatic presentation called, “The Rattlesnake In The Night”. This final celebration drama highlighted the conflict between a sad snake in the jungle and how his friends, who each represented one of five different personality types, attempted to help solve his problem.
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Daily Program Format The Arts for Peace program followed a highly structured format for each day of the camp. This format, the BuildaBridge classroom, is especially helpful when working with people from disadvantaged backgrounds because it does three things: 1. creates a safe space that is physically and emotionally safe allowing for deep and personal self-expression 2. creates a community space that fosters peer-to-peer and peer-to-mentor relationships in a supportive environment 3. creates a creative space that allows for the expression of ideas, thoughts, dreams, and frustrations through the arts Thus, at the beginning of each day, all students met in the common area where they sang the Arts for Peace song, uniformly stated the Motto, and reviewed rules for the program. This prepared each student to learn, share, and experience the various creative arts lessons as they learned to resolve conflict. At the end of each day, students returned from their individual classrooms to the common area where they, again, sang the Arts for Peace song and stated the BuildaBridge Motto. By the third day, students understood and became familiar with the format, thereby creating consistency and clear expectation in the program. In this environment, students were free to be creative, expressive, and supportive of their peers. Each student received a student manual during the program. This manual contained key information that could be referred to after the completion of the program. At the Final Celebration, each student received a Certificate of Completion for their participation and contribution to the program.
LEARNING OUTCOMES CURRICULUM GOAL: Increase middle school students’ knowledge and use of a four-step peacemaking and conflict resolution process in order to increase their resilience and life options, decrease involvement in violence, and create a corps of Junior Peacemakers. During the program, students learned to: • •
articulate the four basic human needs often involved in conflict. the five basic emotions. Page 3 of 9
• • • • •
identify their own reponses to conflict as well as articulating several new types of responses to conflict state the 4 steps involved in the peacemaking process. Identity different elements of at least 2 art forms and completed at least one art project involving a collaborative process participated in a final multi-art production as an authentic assessment of their knowledge gained in peacemaking. earned a Certificate in Peacemaking for Junior Citizens.
LEARNING REFLECTION I USED TO THINK…BUT NOW I KNOW: At the end of each day, students were challenged to write several sentences about their thoughts prior to entering the program compared to how their thoughts changed as a result of participating in the program. Here are a few examples from each day; DAY 1 I used to think: …but now I know: •Africa was one big country……………………………………...there are many countries. •this program was corny……………………………………………it is fun! •this program was all fun and games………………………..that I will learn new things. •that BuildaBridge was not exciting…………………………..that BuildaBridge is full of creativity. •that solving problems needed physical force……………that I can use the four-step process to resolve conflicts easier. DAY 2 & DAY 3 I used to think: …but now I know: •that conflict is not important and I was careless…….that it is a serious matter. •that peace was only for Peacemakers…………………….anyone can have and make Peace. •nothing…………………………………………………………………..about impulse control •that I didn’t know how to handle conflict………………..how to do conflict in an easy way. DAY 4 & DAY 5 I used to think: …but now I know: •it was hard to get in front of people………………………..just have to be myself. •I didn’t know how to sing in front of people…………….how to sing in front of people; it is easy. •the size of a line on a painting comes from the size of a paint brush………………………………….……it depends on how you hold the brush. •that I couldn’t act………………………………….that I can be very good at it because I tried. •you could only talk with your mouth……………………….you can do it with your body.
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•that staple guns were for war…………………………………that they are for art. •I didn’t know the 4 metaphor steps………………………..think, talk, work, and live it out. •anger couldn’t be controlled……………………………………it takes time to work on anger. •that I didn’t know how to make a mural………that you use transparency with a projector. Learning Conflict Response Styles On the third day of the program, students had the opportunity to determine their primary conflict response style through a survey of 25 statements in the form of a Likert scale. Students chose a number between one and four that best identified the strength of their agreement or disagreement with their behavior in the midst of a conflict. Statements students responded to ranged from, I can be firm in pursuing what I think is right, to, I don’t want to make others feel by disagreeing. Students took their time and did their best. The response options are listed below:
a) Avoidance b) Compromise c) Collaboration d) Competition e) Accommodation After tallying the responses from all the students, the primary conflict resolution style that students identified was letter b, compromise. Thus, most of the students in the program thought of themselves as being more willing to compromise in a conflict situation than avoid, collaborate, compete, or be accommodating. The remaining styles, as identified by all students in order of most to least commonality were: collaboration, competition, accommodation, and avoidance.
ATTENDANCE Total number of students enroll ed in program 54
Originally 51; 3 students added after the program began
1. Janelle Craig 2. DaQuain Sergeant 3. Naala Johnson
Total number of students attending program 36
1 student sent home Monday 12/29 because this was his first day, but included in count
1. Zaire Hamilton
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Average number of students, daily -- throughout program 26.8
Pre- & Post Test Assessment A pre-tests were given to the students shortly after their arrival. These tests provided valuable information to the teachers and staff about what information students were aware of and what they needed to learn. Each student answered 18 questions about peace, conflict, and metaphor. Then each student answered 3 questions that were specifically about the art-form to which they were assigned. For example, dance students answered questions about peacemaking movements. Drama students answered questions about improvisation and the four stage areas. Music students answered questions about the differences between bass and treble, and the Visual Arts students answered questions about the process of stretching a canvas. The results of the pre- and post-tests are as follows: Prior to participation in the Arts for Peace program, • 0% of the students were able to identify their primary conflict response style • 0% of the students were able to identify all of the animals associated with specific conflict resolution styles used in the Final Celebration • While all of the students knew who Martin Luther King Jr. was, 0% but were able to define at least 1 of 6 parts of his definition of a peacemaker Overall, each student showed significant improvement in their comprehension of peacemaking and conflict resolution. By the conclusion of the Arts for Peace program: • 100% of the students were able to identify their primary conflict response style • 58% of the students scored 100% when they identified all five of the animal’s conflict response style used in the Final Celebration • 91% of the students were able to name at least one defining element of Martin Luther King Jr.’s definition of a peacemaker • students were able to provide 2 examples of how they can be a peacemaker in their community • students were able to provide 2 examples of peace-breaking behavior • 73% of the students were able to define both conflict and peace • 100% of the students participated in the Final Celebration • 100% of the students earned a Certificate in Peacemaking for Junior Citizens
Conclusion and Recommendations The Arts for Peace program helped students learn the importance of resolving conflict both outwardly and inwardly. They learned how to address their own challenges, fears, and concerns about themselves and others in a positive way. All students learned the four steps of resolving Page 6 of 9
conflict: think it out, talk it out, work it out, and live it out. And all the students were able to participate in the resolution of a real conflict that took place between some of their peers. Each student learned much more about a particular art form thank they knew previously. Some students learned that they were good artists, while others learned that art-making could be hard work. Some students learned that anger could be controlled, while others learned that making friends was not as hard as they thought. Finally, all students participated in the Final Celebration, which was held at Eastern Universityâ€™s School For Social Change. It was a rewarding experience for all in attendance (as shown in the picture below). In fact, one parent cried because she was so proud of her son. We all had a good time, teaching the students and learning from them at the same time. We look forward to the next experience and opportunity to experience art-making, peace-making, and conflict resolution with
eager, vibrant, and impressionable young minds. Was A4P successful? Yes. There is always room for improvement. Here are some of the things that staff observed regarding the administration of the program: 1. New teachers needed to learn about classroom management. Structure is important, and having clear consistent behavioral policies (rules) and following them helps everyone to focus. Page 7 of 9
2. Parent involvement in their children's experiences is essential. In this case, parents of the youth were expected--even required--to attend the final celebration of learning of their children. This is the expectation of Brandon Brown, Director of Youth and Family Services of Nu Sigma Youth. Therefore, the kids "performed" to a packed house. See photo above. Parents are also expected to talk with their children about their experience each day. 3. Seasoned artist teachers continued to struggle with a balance of art and teaching but always kept in mind that the kids come first. Developing any kind of art-making product can be difficult in a week, especially with behavior-based learning goals. 4. Peace making? Yes. The first day was near chaos with several near-fights, arguments and constant impulse control problems. The last day was stressful--they all had to present their learning--but both teachers and students worked together amidst the stress. One the last day, there was still a need for discipline as kids are kids, but it was not nearly at the same level as the first day. The most striking example of learning during the week was when two of our teachers staged a mock fight between themselves (unknown to anyone but them) and it was the students who pulled them apart and helped to resolve the conflict using the steps they had learned. Students began to recognize their emotions, practice peace-making behavior, use peace-making vocabulary, and practice reconciliation in smaller conflicts. Some of the individual behavioral issues are beyond a one-week arts camp. 5. How about the art? One can view the photographs, but we saw a marked improvement in skill levels: mixing colors, painting techniques, dialogue writing and improvisation, movement interpretation, lyric writing and vocal technique, and teamwork. 6. Was there significant learning by BuildBridge? This was one of the most comprehensive curricula Buildabridge has developed (by Dr. Vivian Nix-Early). There were 5 teacher and volunteer meetings to learn this curriculum and prepare prior to the camp. Teachers were prepared. The ongoing challenge is to organize each aspect of the program from beginning to end. Every teacher should be on the same page about learning goals, discipline practice (enforcing rules for behavior), and needs always remain flexible. While the space was good (thanks to the Eastern University School for Social Change)--the kids were secure and there was a safe environment. There was also a need for structured physical play in an open area that was not available which should be considered in a winter camp. 7. Were there any surprises? BuildaBridge has worked in some of the toughest places of the world. We were surprised to find two children who could not read or write, which restricted their involvement in some of the activities. Several children expressed joy at the camp because they had an opportunity to make friends--many are often not allowed to play or make friends in their own neighborhoods (remaining in their houses) because of the drugs, gang activity and violence.
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8. Parents appreciated the blog and daily pictures, "we could see what our children were doing everyday." What would we recommend for future programs? 1. There is high interest among the parents and kids for an ongoing arts program--to learn about art, but also to have structured activities for kids who live in difficult places of the city. This is expensive, and to provide quality curriculum and instruction takes appropriate funding. 2. More training is needed in classroom management, especially for artists who have not worked with children and youth. 3. Artists have to set arts standards high for all children, but balance expectations for the childrens' skill level. For example, in the pre-assessment in the visual arts some kids had trouble even drawing stick figures. Teaching basic skills is important. 4. Finally, artists will continually need to use the art as metaphor for the subject matter, drawing life lessons from the art-making process itself.
Appendices attached: Peace-Making Curriculum Peace-Making Student Manual Day Agenda Summaries Final Exhibition Program Stories of Transformation: Faculty observations Final Budget
Submitted by Joshua Cooper, A4P Coordinator April 27, 2009 (with edits by J. Nathan Corbitt)
BuildaBridge 205 West Tulpehocken Street Philadelphia, PA 19144 email@example.com www.buildabridge.org http://arts4peace.blogspot.com/ 215-842-0428
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