Dynamic Duo Brings Experience To Classroom Learning
Wendy Jason and Jiva Manske are Justice and Peace Studies adjunct professors who are changing the ways learning happens in the classroom. Using unique methods such as group learning and writing exchange programs, Wendy and Jiva believe that they are creating a classroom experience that “breaks out of the generic, one-size-fits-all pedagogical box, and really creates a learning community that extends beyond the classroom.” Wendy and Jiva, as they like to be called, teach an Introduction to Engaging and Transforming Conflict course (JUPS 271) together on Monday evenings. When asked about teaching together, Wendy talked about how “a big part of the justice and peace paradigm is working in partnership, and so we feel like it is important to model that in our teaching.”
Teaching as a unit is just one of the many strategies that Wendy and Jiva bring from their extensive backgrounds in the field of Justice and Peace. Jiva has used his education in Peace and Conflict Studies to travel all around the world to places such as US, Costa Rica, Romania, Afghanistan, and Iran to work with communities and youth groups. Wendy, too, has used her education in Peace and Conflict Studies to devote ten years to working with communities in Jamaica to develop sustainable healthcare, water, and economic systems with the Blue Mountain Project. Wendy and Jiva have also worked together prior to Georgetown, facilitating workshops and training programs on conflict transformation, communication, and nonviolence for those directly affected by the US criminal justice system - including inmates, jail and prison administrators, guards, and family members of incarcerated people.
In the classroom, Wendy and Jiva use their worldly experience to teach arts-based approaches to conflict transformation and help students build practical skills for engaging conflict in their own communities. One of their means of teaching these skills is the “Just Write” program; each week, Wendy and Jiva give their students a writing prompt that is also given to inmates who are participating in a writing program within a New Mexico incarceration facility. Both groups share their writing amongst themselves, and also through the website. Excitedly, Jiva is quick to talk about the results of the program saying, “We are getting some really good feedback - from our class, and from the guys - and all of the writers seem to be finding this experience of sharing their stories really meaningful.” The inspiration for class participation in the “Just Write” program is said to have come from “Wendy's desire to directly incorporate the voices and experiences of incarcerated people into the class.”
The list of methods go on and on for Wendy and Jiva who have successfully incorporated everything from roleplaying to informal debates in the classroom experience. As time moves on, Wendy and Jiva are sure to introduce even more unique and effective ways to teach their students about Conflict Transformation. Their contributions to the study and the world of Justice and Peace Studies thus far have been amazing, and the Georgetown University Program on Justice and Peace Studies is pleased that these two amazing individuals as members of our community.
For more information about the "Just Write" program, visit its website.
- Rashawn Davis, Class of 2014
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