Nonviolent Teaching: Creating a Safe Haven for Students

Nonviolent Teaching: Creating a Safe Haven for Students

Simon George Taukeni (University of Fort Hare, South Africa & University of Namibia, Namibia) and Matshidiso J. Taole (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2209-6.ch007
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Abstract

Students need to feel safe and secure in school so that they can perform to their full potential. Therefore, a safe school is an essential element in any learner's progress and functioning. To achieve student healthy development and their capacity to learn, peaceful circumstances must be ensured in the education environment. Thus, violence prevention and nonviolent teaching strategies have become essential focus areas for ongoing research. This chapter focuses on nonviolent teaching techniques that could be used in schools to ensure a positive school climate. The objective is to expand and deepen existing theory on multicultural nonviolent teaching techniques in schools, institutions of high learning, and centers of teacher development and training, in order to better understand nonviolence concepts, related techniques and their applications to achieve desired peaceful outcomes. The chapter further highlights potential forms of school violence, effects on the students and suggests techniques of dealing with the violence.
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Introduction

If the world is to achieve the Education for All goals, attention must be given to violence in learning contexts (UNESCO, 2013). All children deserve a school environment that is safe and nurturing – one that will allow them to grow, thrive, and maximize their full potential. Violence that students experience in their schools, that is physical, psychological and sexual, is depriving them their basic human rights, namely education, and the full benefits of education. The idea of safe havens for students begins with ensuring that violence is rooted out in all schools. Therefore, it is imperative that students are taught positive and nonviolent ways of dealing with problems they face on a daily basis. Conflict will always be part of our lives, but what we do with it is crucial. Creating a safe haven for students is characterized by mutual respect for fundamental human rights and dignity so that effective teaching and learning can take place.

A school should be a place where students are protected from harm and danger. Schools are supposed to be safe havens where all students have equal access to educational opportunities and receive equal treatment (Taole, 2013). However, there is a growing concern among researchers and public in general (Jenken 1993) about the safety of students at school. Violence in schools is on the rise, students and staff are more at risk today than ever before, of being physically or verbally assaulted while at school. A body of research suggests that schools are highly volatile places because violence has become part of everyday school life (Defour 2005; De Wet 2005; Prinsloo 2006; Zulu, Urbani & Van der Merwe 2004). Due to the increase of urban population as well as other factors, violence in the streets and at all levels of school has multiplied (Melgosa, 2011).

A study conducted by Brockenbrough, Cornell and Loper (2002) on victims of school violence found that being both a victim of school violence and having aggressive attitudes, as compared to their non-victimized, aggressive peers, place students at the most risk. Aggressive attitude victims were involved with more high-risk behaviors than their peers, and reported the highest incidences of weapon possession, drug and alcohol use, gang membership, and physical fights at school (Brockenbrough, Cornell & Loper, 2002). In order to change the situation, concerted and collaborative efforts need to be taken to ensure that students are safe in the school environment and school environment becomes a safe haven for students. Nonviolence is rooted in teamwork, unity, peace and cooperation between students to students, students to teachers and teachers to teachers.

The main objective of this chapter is to expand and deepen existing theory on multicultural nonviolent teaching techniques in schools, institutions of higher learning, and centers of teacher development and training, in order to make school environment become a safe and peaceful havens for all students. It focuses on nonviolent teaching techniques that could be used in schools to ensure a positive school climate. The chapter further highlights potential types of school violence and effects on the students.

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