My First Book is Published
I am in the midst of many feelings about the appearance of my first book. Feelings of pride – hopefully authentic rather than hubristic – are playing against feelings of anticipation for how it will be received.
The book, Positive Peace in Schools: Tackling Conflict and Creating a Culture of Peace in the Classroom, co-authored with PhD supervisor, Dr. Hilary Cremin, has just been published by Routledge.
The inspiration for the book evolved from our shared interests in restorative approaches to behaviour, conflict and relationships in schools. About 18 months ago, we were both seeking to situate restorative approaches within the broader field of Peace Education, and we had each formulated our own models for how this might look. Our many months of collaboration - helpfully shaped and fashioned with our colleagues in the Cambridge Peace and Education Research Group - resulted in this book.
The essence of the book is to translate concepts and theories from the field of peace and conflict studies to the context of education and in particular, schools. The title Positive Peace comes from Johan Galtung’s concepts of negative and positive peace, the former being the absence of direct violence and the latter being the absence of violence in all its forms - direct, structural and cultural - plus the presence of harmony and social justice.
Our hope is that professionals working in and with schools will find the book both provocative and inspiring. As one of our reviewers has commented, the early chapters make for uncomfortable reading. For how can we possibly frame schooling as violence? Less contentious may be our framing of school improvement as violence…
In the book we navigate the tension between peace as philosophy and peace as practice. It was hard work retaining the ephemeral, perennial essence of peace whilst at the same time making peace practicable.
The book presents ways in which schools can - in a very practical way - build a culture of positive peace. For example, schools can focus on the development of appropriate pupil behaviour as well as on its management; schools can engage pupils in critical citizenship rather than soft citizenship.
We absolutely welcome and invite readers’ feedback on what we have presented. We hope that this book will serve as the catalyst for dialogue amongst the different players in the education community about the place of peace in schools in the 21st Century.