Peacebuilding in Language Education: Innovations in Theory and Practice

Edited by: Rebecca L. Oxford, María Matilde Olivero, Melinda Harrison, Tammy Gregersen

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This innovative, much-needed book shares powerful wisdom and practical strategies to help language teachers, teacher educators and peace educators communicate peace, contribute to peace and weave peacebuilding into classrooms and daily life. The clear, six-part Language of Peace Approach underlies more than 50 creative activities that can promote peacebuilding competence in secondary and post-secondary students, current and prospective educators and community members outside of academia. Chapters span the spectrum from cross-cultural peace education to the positive psychology of peace, from nonverbal peace language to transformative language teaching for peace, and from the needs of language learners to the needs of language educators. The book makes a unique and valuable contribution to the discussion of how we can live together peacefully in a changing world. 

This rich collection's biggest strength is that it provides an excellent balance between theoretical analysis on the one hand, and practical implications on the other. The rich ideas and activities that are suggested will be immensely valuable to teachers who wish to expand their repertoire of instruction through taking into serious consideration multiple aspects of peace that are not limited to the inner self but expand to cover intercultural and international aspects.

Michalinos Zembylas, Open University of Cyprus and Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

Language can incite hate, hurt and harm; it can also cultivate love, empathy and respect. This timely book shares powerful wisdom and practical strategies for how language teachers and other educators can communicate peace; contribute to building inner, interpersonal, intergroup, intercultural, international and ecological peace; weave peacebuilding into instruction and daily life; and enhance their teaching, learning and being.

Jing Lin, University of Maryland, USA

This volume constitutes an impressive effort by international scholars aligned on the vision of the ripple effect, whereby notions of peace are integrated into the teaching and learning of languages. The book deals with peace in its various manifestations and demonstrates how beyond speech and writing, nonverbal communication also has a role to play in creating an environment in which peace can flourish.

Andrew D. Cohen, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, USA

This book is most timely during the sociopolitical turmoil of a worldwide pandemic, massive refugee migrations and displacement, environmental and economic disasters, and collapse of peace efforts on the world stage. Readable and insightful, the volume offers hope and concrete peacebuilding strategies and models steps that language educators and students will embrace. This is a jewel of a book and a labor of love realized.

This is an uplifting collection for our challenging times. It brings together scholars with the courage to mobilise their longstanding scholarship in language education, diverse talents in arts and activism, and deep commitment to their communities to offer a strong vision for a peaceful, just and sustainable society. The book challenges us all to renew our resolve to use our language education inquiry and practice to contribute to his project. 

This inspiring volume transcends geographical borders as it offers the reader an international perspective on peacebuilding in language education contexts. The ideas presented in this book represent a rich resource for teacher educators interested in developing a culture of peace as it highlights the contribution of differences to peacebuilding. Through this collection ripples of peace will indeed be felt all around the world.

If ever the world needed peace it is surely now, and a book such as this is therefore certainly timely with its message of tolerance, understanding, empathy and nonviolence. Language teachers are in a unique position to promote more positive and peaceful mindsets, since we work and travel with people around the globe who may be influenced by our words and actions. 

At a time of great sociopolitical tension globally, this volume is a beacon of light for understanding and reconciliation. From practical activities to the overarching state of mind this book instills, language educators are given the tools to build peace both with and within their students. This book involves the burgeoning fields of positive psychology, peace education, and language education but does not simply follow previous footsteps; instead, it carves a unique path from which any reader could benefit. 

Is there any better way to teach peace than by normalizing it as part of everyday human experience, communication, and expression, as this book does? Peacebuilding in Language Education is a much-needed corrective to too much peace education that starts with the a priori assumption that peace is some lofty, hard-to-reach ideological good rather than the presumed norm for human community and thriving. 

The integration of discussions on peace in education is paramount to positively shaping the minds of future generations, especially in times of personal, political and social uncertainty. In this very timely book, the editors have brought together a collection of profound papers that explore ways in which language educators can weave explorations of peacebuilding into their classrooms and curricula. 

This book highlights the deep link between language education and culture, which is mostly overlooked in favour of the obvious parts of the "culture iceberg". In our highly turbulent and uncertain times, this volume constitutes a powerful statement that language educators need to raise learner awareness of the power of words. 

As can be seen, the activities [in the book] are adaptable both to in-class and online teaching and the lesson
plans alone are worth the price of the book. Overall, this is a very rich book addressing personal attitudes, theory and practice in a more open approach to language teaching and learning and a valuable addition to university, teacher training and teachers' libraries.

Training, Language and Culture, Volume 4 Issue 4, 2020

This volume is a tremendous read which offers a refreshing, creative, eye-opening perspective on what we as teachers can do in the L2/foreign language classroom to contribute responsibly to the world around us, even beyond our immediate zones of action. It also appeals to us as individual human beings. The moving stories of Ghanaian and South Sudanese children that conclude the volume validate the need for volumes of this kind. Give peace education a chance.

ELT Journal, 2021

Rebecca L. Oxford is a University of Maryland Professor Emerita and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher who now works with doctoral students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. 

María Matilde Olivero is a second language teacher educator and researcher at Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, Argentina.

Melinda Harrison is a lecturer at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama, USA and is working on a PhD in Educational Studies in Diverse Populations at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Tammy Gregersen is a Professor of TESOL at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Foreword. Gregory Hadley

Introduction. Melinda Harrison

Section I Language Education Responds to the Call for Peace

Chapter 1. Rebecca L. Oxford, Tammy Gregersen, Melinda Harrison and M. Matilde Olivero: The Call for Peace in Language Education: This Book's Purpose, Themes and Peace Approach

Chapter 2. Christina Gkonou, M. Matilde Olivero and Rebecca L. Oxford: Empowering Language Teachers to be Influential Peacebuilders: Knowledge, Competencies and Activities

Chapter 3. Tammy Gregersen and Peter D. MacIntyre: The Nonverbal Channels of Peacebuilding: What Teachers, Trainers and Facilitators Need to Know

Section II Applying Peacebuilding for Inner, Interpersonal and Intergroup Peace

Chapter 4. María Celina Barbeito and Adelina Sánchez Centeno: Inner Peace and Emotion Regulation During Oral Production in ESL/EFL Teacher Education

Chapter 5. Carmen M. Amerstorfer: How Increased Self-regulation, Learner Autonomy and Learner Cooperation Raise Self-esteem and Consequently Inner Peace and Interpersonal Peace: Insights from an Innovative School Context

Chapter 6. Ana María F. Barcelos: Revolutionary Love and Peace in the Construction of an English Teacher's Professional Identity

Chapter 7. Josephine Prado, Gönül Uguralp-Cannon, John Marc Green, Melinda Harrison and Laurie Franz Smith: Seeking Connection through Difference: Finding the Nexus of Transformative Learning, Peacebuilding and Language Teaching

Section III Applying Peacebuilding for Intercultural and International Peace

Chapter 8: James E. Bernhardt, Christine M. Campbell and Betty Lou Leaver: Can Foreign Languages Be Taught for Peace at U.S. Government Institutes? 

Chapter 9. Michael Wei and Yalun Zhou: International Faculty and International Students in Universities: Their Roles in Fostering Peace across Languages and Cultures

Chapter 10. Laura Mahalingappa, Terri L. Rodriguez and Nihat Polat: Promoting Peace through Social Justice Pedagogies for Students from Immigrant Muslim Communities: Using Critical Language Awareness in Second Language Classrooms

Section IV Applying Peacebuilding through Positive Psychology, Peace Linguistics and Peace Language

Chapter 11. Tammy Gregersen and Peter D. MacIntyre: Acting Locally to Integrate Positive Psychology and Peace: Practical Applications for Language Teaching and Learning

Chapter 12. Rebecca L. Oxford: From Hate Speech to Empathy: Lessons for Language Educators and Society

Chapter 13. Andy Curtis and Rebecca L. Oxford: Applying Peace Linguistics: What Peacebuilders Can Learn from the Languages of Hurt, Hate and Harm

Chapter 14. Rebecca L. Oxford and Andy Curtis: Exploring Peace Language: Hope, Help and Harmony

Section V Moving Further with Peacebuilding

Chapter 15. M. Matilde Olivero, Melinda Harrison and Rebecca L. Oxford: Peacebuilding through Classroom Activities: Inner, Interpersonal, Intergroup, Intercultural, International and Ecological Peace

Chapter 16. M. Matilde Olivero, Tammy Gregersen, Melinda Harrison and Rebecca L. Oxford: Conclusion: Integrating Peace Concepts, Personal Insights and Future Peace Directions


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