"If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children."

~Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Theory of Mind & the Peace Education Project

Theory of mind (ToM) is the ability to understand that others may have different beliefs, desires, and intentions than others. This ability is usually learned through interactions with family, and adults growing up, through incidental learning. At 18 months, children will look to adults for cues on how to react or think (ie: Should I be scared of that dog?). It is also through language development that children also learn the meaning behind one's actions.

According to Lundy (2002), hearing, normal developing, children are able to develop these skills by 4-5 years old, where as deaf children born to hearing parents may experience up to a 3 year delay in the development of ToM. This can be due to lack of communication between the child and adult (most often, child uses sign language while parent does not), and delay in language development. This can have a great impact on how deaf students interact with the people in their life. They may struggle with negotiating friendships, anticipating what other's think of one's actions, understanding misunderstandings, or understanding deception; all impacting how they respond with conflict.

With this in mind, the Peace Education Project aims to provide the staff at Hope for the Deaf the knowledge and skills needed to directly teach social skills so that a culture of peace may be evident among the students. This will allow the students with greater ability to interact within a hearing world, avoid violent conflict, as well as appreciate equality and human rights to promote their own status within their community.

Peace Education Project: If you would like to give donations to help provide materials and resources for the Peace Education Project this summer, please use the "Chip In" button on the side. 100% of the proceeds will go towards materials for the workshops for the teachers to use and keep for future reference.

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