As a middle school teacher, I often witness students attempting to solve their disagreements and/or dissatisfaction with school’s policies through violent means. Students are not aware of alternative means of solving their problems. They seem to think that violence is the only solution. I feel that if students are taught that there are other means of obtaining favorable settlements, there would be less acts of violence in the school.
I selected the topic “Non-violent Through the Ages” because employing non-violent acts to accomplish a goal has been in existence for a long period of time. I selected the three individuals, Dr. Martin Luther King, Henry David Thoreau, and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, because they dealt directly with nonviolent means to accomplish favorable settlements either through writing or demonstrations.
The major concepts of this unit will include Dr. Martin Luther King’s views on non-violence that were influenced by examples set by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. This unit will emphasize how civil disobedience has long been exercised in protest of unjust laws.
This unit will focus on the beliefs of Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. Henry David Thoreau was an American writer who is remembered for his attacks on the social institutions he considered immoral and for his faith in the religious significance of nature. His essay “Civil Disobedience” is his most famous social protest. In “Civil Disobedience”, he stated that people should refuse to obey any government rules they believe are unjust. He practiced the doctrine of passive resistance.
Mohandas K. Gandhi helped free India from British control by a unique method of non-violence resistance. His life was guided by a search for truth. Gandhi developed a method of direct social action based upon principles of courage, non-violence and truth, which he called satyagraha.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a black American Baptist minister who was the main leader of the civil rights movement in the United States during 1950’s and 1960’s. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for leading non-violent civil rights demonstrations. In spite of King’s stress on non-violence he often became the target of violence.
This unit will emphasize how non-violent methods proved to be a strong factor in obtaining favorable settlements. Nonviolent methods also taught people the importance of working together for a common cause.
This unit is divided into four sections. Within each section, a biographical sketch and beliefs of Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. will be presented. This unit is designed for middle school students with average to below average abilities. This unit will be taught for a period of four weeks.
This unit will be taught in October with the attempt of curbing student’s violent behaviors early in the school year. The lessons will be presented as follows:
1—Henry David Thoreau—
Learning about his life, his writing and his beliefs.
2—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Learning about his life and beliefs.
3—Martin Luther King, Jr.—
Learning about his life and his beliefs.
4—Review of the unit