Introduction
This year’s conference theme is Revitalizing Education: The Creative Task Before
Us, a concept that offers broad strokes of application contained within a context of
creativity that implies the melding of human imagination - the creative part - with the
choosing and implementation of action - the task-oriented part. Taken together, these
complementary parts represent the potential for devising alternative, pedagogical
frameworks and strategies with which to revitalize contemporary educational practice as
a creatively active process. What does it mean to revitalize? Is the realm of education
dormant, asleep in its cave of standardization and technicization? Or, is the realm of
education a battlefield upon which those brandishing the shields of neoliberal power and
control lay to waste the masses of students and teachers who trample through the fields of
frustration and stagnation that have become the
21st
century public school classroom and
school building? In this environment, how can the individual educator embody creative
resistance to the status quo while also communicating a pedagogy of peace for students
and teachers alike? What are the existential implications of a pedagogy of peacemaking
as it pertains to revitalizing education as a creative task, as a fundamentally human
endeavor essential to the individual and to the community at large?
Based on my studies in existential philosophy and philosophy of education, I
suggest that an existential conception of peace education might actually entail a very
proactive and creative stance of individual empowerment that confers a conscious
knowing of self as a creative agent who can choose to act for peace; a choice that, at
times, might even require efforts aimed at acts of resistance in response to an unjust
status quo. The human element of choice, along with other human traits and capacities
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