Journey Into Peace:
A Bullying Prevention Program
Through Visual Art
Journey Into Peace is an empathy development/social responsibility program. Through the experience of viewing fine art and making art expressions, students are given the opportunity to explore and process key bullying prevention concepts. Expressive arts are a widely accessible means of language and culture neutral communication and learning for students, and are therefore recommended as an effective and highly equitable approach for learning.
- Equal Balance of Power
- Difference of Opinion
- Imbalance of Power
- Intent to Harm
- Distress Caused in Victim and Bystanders
- Repeated Frequent Attacks
In JOURNEY INTO PEACE,
visual art becomes a bridge to:
- Discovering Self Reliance: the biggest factor for success! Experimenting with paper sculpture we build Self-Reliance skills:
- Developing tolerance towards differences, and insight into the powerful emotions which connect us all.
- Exploring and experiencing the attitudes, resources and tools by which peace may be created within ourselves and in our community.
Exploring Strategies for Managing Difficulty
What Are Your Best Strategies?
Moving from a Difficult Place to a Better Place:
Build a Strategy Bridge
“My Strategy Bridge shows - take one step at a time. It is hard at first, but then you get to a point, where you can just slide right in!” - Grade 6 Student
“Ignore the bully. Keep your eyes on the goal and move right through.” - Grade 5 Student
“My bridge is zig-zagged, wavy and chained. It expresses 3 different ways to change your emotion. The chain represents strength, the waved line represents calmness and the zig-zag line represents independence, that you’re strong enough to ignore the bully.” - Grade 7 Student
Every Bridge tells a story: Here the bully is illness
“My Grandmother has short term memory loss and I am using 3 strategies to help cope with watching her struggle. I should accept and appreciate differences because then I won’t feel as bad and just think of it as a difference rather than a problem. I also think I should stay calm so that she won’t think that I think she isn’t capable of doing [things] herself. The last strategy—I will be kind and treat her as a normal human being.” - Grade 8 Student
This Grade 8 student envisions herself in a powerful way:
“Plan-If I have a plan, I can follow it to success.
Self Reliant- I need to be able to do it on my own, knowing it, using what I have.
Brave-If I am brave, I can get through hard times.
Risk-I can take a risk to help me reach towards my goal.
Outsmart-I can tell myself that I need to be…
Friends-My friends can always help me through hard times.
Be assertive- I need to be able to control myself and say
Faith-I need to believe in myself, or nothing will be accomplished
Confident-I need to be able to tell myself I can do this
Stay calm- I can’t make [allow] myself to be frightened…"
Journey Into Peace:
A Bullying Prevention Program
Through Visual Arts
Lesson 1: Self-Reliance: Responding To Challenge
Lesson 2: Accepting Difference/Appreciating Difference
Lesson 3: Peaceful Community
Lesson 4: Exploring Conflict And Bullying
Lesson 5: Exploring Strategies For Managing Difficulty
Lesson 6: My Role In Creating Peaceful Community
Lessons explore Paper Sculpture, Colour and Expressive Line, Fine art, thematically linked music, story telling, drama & discussion.
Daily News by Carol Knowlton-Dority
Journey Into Peace: originally designed from Grade 5 to Grade 8 students in the Toronto District School Board and Lakelands District School Board, has been adapted to support:
- high school students
- special needs students
- City of Toronto, Shelter, Housing & Support Division
- University of Toronto: Scarborough College, Department of Arts, Culture and Media, Regis College
- St. John the Divine Convent
Ontario’s school system is a microcosm of our diverse society. Day after day, children work and play along side peers from distinct cultures and unique family configurations. They are confronted with differences and persistent social challenges that most adults could not manage with grace.
- Carol Knowlton-Dority with Genevieve Chornenki,
Alternative Dispute Resolution, Ontario Bar Association
Journey Into Peace:
Reviews & Recommendations
- Read the full letter received from Gary Crawford, former Vice-Chair of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
“When Carol was here the best thing about it was she took her time with things-it was never a rush. What I have learned is that you can have as much power as you want. Now that I have power, next year bullies can’t touch me.” - Michael
“Something that I learned was that gossiping is bullying someone. That is something that I will work on.” - Sara
“I liked learning about self-reliance and I also learned to stand up for myself.”
“I really liked the whole experience, but I really liked it when we had the drama plays.”
“Dear Carol, I learned many things from you that are really helping me in life. For example we wrote strategies, I wrote stand up for yourself and I did with a bully.” - Kishoth
The students were very involved and it was evident in their work and by their enthusiasm that they were making connections between the concepts and language of visual arts. They were able, therefore, to produce meaningful expressions of their ideas. - Martin Himelson, Guidance Resource Teacher, TDSB
I would highly recommend this program as it allows students to process key concepts through engagement in visual art activities. It gives students a first-hand, affective and communal experience of the concepts concerning bullying and the attitudes, resources and tools required to build peaceful schools... Carol Knowlton-Dority, an artist and qualified teacher, is encouraging and full of energy. - Pat Broderick, Principal, TDSB
I was impressed at her ability to engage students in the art activities and more importantly, her ability to empower students to share their personal insights and feelings. She creates a warm, inviting and safe atmosphere where students can take risks through the expression of art. - Mercedes Carli, Guidance Resource Teacher TDSB
Students were also encouraged to look at positive role models such as Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa, who used courage to overcome huge obstacles in a non-violent way. The lessons taught throughout Journey Into Peace resonated with the youngsters. “There are a lot of emotions that people have when they’re being bullied, and one thing you can do is to use humour to get through it," said fifth grader Lucas Strezos. Fellow student Ori Solomon said the program helped him gain insight into the nature of bullying. “I learned that bullying is not always beating someone up, it can also be insulting people.” - Justin Skinner, North York Mirror
Wow! The “Journey Into Peace” program was real and inspirational for our students in the CISS project! The Community Initiative for Student Success (CISS) pilot project is a community-based program that addresses the recurring problems of suspensions of elementary students…The experience of visualizing and problem solving through visual art helped our students discover strategies which “bridge” the gap between their personal “difficult” place and their “peaceful” place. Even several weeks after the hands-on experience, the students continued to refer and relate to the bridge image: it was central to the students’ development as we continued in our curriculum, which focuses on the value of self-awareness and self-advocacy. The students enjoyed the “Journey Into Peace” program and were motivated to look inside themselves and have courage to engage in their own journeys. - Trina Wasilewski, Consultant, TDSB; Aldona Volunge, Principal, TDSB
The particular concept for each lesson was well developed, the instructions were clear and there was much opportunity for vocabulary development for the students. The students responded enthusiastically to the art challenges: the activities were open-ended allowed for individual expression and gave students a chance to explore ideas through problem solving.
The challenge of building the “strategy bridges” helped students to personalize and consider the best choices for managing their own difficult situations... The students enjoyed looking at the paintings: very interesting and thoughtful discussion evolved from this opportunity. To share all the ideas and artwork the students produced through the program we arranged the art pieces in the Gym. Throughout the day, each class in the school was invited to tour the work. In the evening, the students brought their families in to see their work, meet Carol and visit with their Teachers and the Principal. - Grace Lauretti-Martin Teacher, TDSB
I worked with Carol for eight weeks…as she presented Journey Into Peace with students of each grade 7 class. I was impressed with the concept of using visual art as a vehicle for anti-bullying discussions and equally impressed with the execution of the program... Carol was very well organized and extremely hard working. She co-operated with four different language arts teachers and ten classes. She created an atmosphere conducive to learning throughout the six sessions, honoured discussions and helped students produce very individual work. Students developed an understanding of personal resources and strategies for confronting difficult situations… Student evaluation of the program was very positive and they were amazed that art could be used to talk about emotion. Staff enjoyed working with Carol over the six sessions. Many commented on the depth of discussion and the new understanding that students developed… - Peggy Payne, Principal, TDSB
It was truly a dynamic experience working with artist/educator Carol Knowlton-Dority and her Journey Into Peace program. One of the strong points of the program is its ability to create reflective moments which further supports the thinking process encouraged in students in the class as a whole. When we returned to the classroom, we found occasions to draw from our common experiences in the Journey Into Peace program and relate the ideas offered in the program to every-day classroom experiences. This was especially important as we have students with special needs, which the program naturally accommodated by validating individual experiences and perceptions and thereby enriching the whole class experience.
My class really enjoyed the art challenge from Lesson 2: Accepting and Appreciating Difference, which focused on the Group of 7 paintings. I found it to be an excellent complement to our classroom study of these painters. The students worked co-operatively to create a large image. Students worked in cooperative teams to create individual sections, which fit together like a puzzle and demonstrated clearly that every part, no matter how insignificant it may appear, plays a part in creating a meaningful whole.
Lesson 4 really helped students to realize the difference between conflict and bullying. The art challenge required that the elements of conflict and bullying each be represented, as a drama, using colour and shape. The subject of conflict and bullying was discussed in the context of great leaders who changed the world (Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa); leaders who were ordinary people who made positive choices about how to respond to difficult situations. This context was assuring as well as inspiring to students.
The students enjoyed the opportunity to strategize and problem solve as they created paper sculpture bridges to show their best choices to help them manage their own journeys from a" difficult place" to a "better place".
Both students and staff enjoyed the program very much. The students’ work was displayed in their classroom and throughout the school. I would highly recommend Journey Into Peace. An excellent program!
- Kathryn Tanguay, Grade 5 Teacher
A Moment In Eternal Time by Carol Knowlton-Dority