Unification News for April 1997

Constructing Curriculum for World Peace

Josephine L. Hauer
April, 1997

The upcoming New Eden Academy, International seeks to be like a garden where the beauty of a world youth culture can blossom and grow strong. What we teach, where we teach and how we teach are all important elements in the nurturing of original character and genius in our students. The academic curriculum will foster academic challenge, moral and critical reflection and cultural enrichment. In thinking about the intellectual preparation of high school students, I turned to Andy Wilson's thoughtful essay entitled, "World Scripture and Education for Peace," where he aptly describes the conundrum that both modern society and modern education find themselves wrapped in:

Society devoid of religious values does not provide the nourishment that can sustain a civilization that will bring out the highest qualities in people and allow them to fulfill their purpose in life. For example, our public schools have lost their mission to provide ethics and values to young people, since the most important ground of those values religious truth--has been made off limits. . . Hence democratic societies are in crisis, without any solution in sight. (Wilson, World Scripture)

The core value perspective that will guide the development of our curriculum is Godism which can help us develop a universal perspective on religion, history, humanities and the arts. To nurture an embracing, harmonizing analytical mind is not to eschew critical or secular thought; but rather to transcend and digest it by focusing on the goal of knowledge, namely to be in service to the historical process of world peace. Up until now democratic societies have been able to accommodate religious pluralism by promoting a secular common ground which has tended to lessen the significance of religious belief and practice. Godism's view is that religions are called to fulfill a mission that is greater than what they had known in the past. Wilson writes, "The principal that love is fulfilled in the service of others should extend to religious communities: each religion should manifest love by serving other religions and working together to build a peaceful world."

What are the implications of Godism for constructing a high school core curriculum? What are the goals in terms of character development and academic preparation for life? Although these questions will inspire discussion and debate for many years, I have sought to define some educational goals of our Academic Program at New Eden Academy and they are as follows:

1.To construct a curriculum that promotes the unity of knowledge which is grounded in the transcendental truth of God, known only in part through science, philosophy and religion;

2.To construct a curriculum that recognizes the central role and value of religion in culture and history;

3.To provide a learning environment that encourages critical and moral reflection on knowledge and the sources of knowledge;

4.To promote an interdisciplinary, problem-solving approach to learning.

Educational objectives are the ways in which the goals will be realized. These too are in their developmental stages, but are as follows: 1.To promote information and technological literacy as a means to an end;

2.To offer intensive SAT, ACT preparation programs;

3.To individualize curriculum toward the students' talents by utilizing distance learning resources, internships and special tutoring;

4.To require service activity in the community and moral reflection on its value;

5.To participate as individuals and as a school in science, math, social studies, art or sports competitions;

6.To promote writing, thinking and speaking skills across the curriculum.

The core curriculum will include Korean language studies and Unification Studies and these will become our unique trademarks as a school. Unification Studies will include the study of Unification Thought, Divine Principle and the life of True Parents. These will be the main ingredients that will nourish the moral and intellectual lives of our students along with the traditional college preparatory curriculum which includes at least 4 years of English; 2 years of Science; 3 years of Mathematics and computers; 3 years of foreign language; art; music and physical education.

Of all the models of curriculum there are available I have found the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program to be of world class quality. The IB Diploma Program is a rigorous pre- university course of studies leading to examinations that meet the needs of highly motivated secondary school students. Most U.S. universities recognize the IB Diploma to be equivalent to the completion of the freshman year in college. The organization's academic program aims to awaken the intelligence of young people and teach them to relate the content of the classroom to the realities of the world outside. Strong emphasis is placed on the ideals of international understanding and world citizenship. The Academic program at New Eden Academy will be guided by the same goals and objectives as the IB program and we may eventually seek official membership in the International Baccalaureate Organization. As a membership organization, the IBO provides curriculum and assessment development, teacher training and information services to over 630 participating schools in more than 80 countries around the world. The IBO has headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and has consultative status with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

We welcome your thoughts about academics, residential life and education in general. Please fax (203.881.5528) or e-mail me with your comments at hauer@cse.bridgeport.edu. Our web page is presently under construction and will include a section for position papers written by Unification educators, parents and others so that we may all participate in this most exciting and important project of building schools for world peace.

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