Rabbi Ben Kramer of SSDS of Metropolitan Chicago has designed a day of multi -disciplinary learning about ways destructive or violent conflict could be approached constructively and respectfully.
Middle school teachers will select a component of the class’ subject matter that poses a conflict for students to examine through the lenses of Redifat Shalom (Pursuit of Peace) and constructive conflict resolution.
Some examples of typical components of Middle School curriculum that offer this opportunity include but are not limited to:
- The disputes between supporters of creationism and supporters of evolution in Life Science
- Specific conflict sin a short story or novel in Ivrit or English literature
- Select political, geographic, cultural or economic conflicts in History or Social Studies
- Two or more varying methods or strategies for solving one type of problem (It would be helpful for teachers to select two methods that each work, but each have different advantages or disadvantages) in mathematics
All teachers can receive brief, introductory training (grounded in a clear Jewish value) in how to look at conflict through the lens of respectful, constructive conflict resolution prior to preparing their lesson/project/activity for the 9th of Adar program through use of the following steps:
- Introduce the quote from Talmud Bavli Eruvin 13 b “Elu v’elu divrei Elohim chaim” (translated on p.11 of R.S. Advisory Program II). Teachers from a variety of disciplines could easily make meaning of this quote and apply it to their fields of expertise.
- Explain that this text teaches us to look at conflict from a variety of perspectives
- Introduce the three steps of Ross Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving approach (found on p. 41 of Rodef Shalom Advisory Program II)
- Provide the time and structure for teachers to collaboratively brainstorm how they can refine and apply this approach to resolving conflicts that have occurred in their academic and artistic disciplines
This plan encourages buy-in of all middle school teachers, allows for shared training and planning, and encourages General Studies and Judaics teachers to work collaboratively.