Conflict is universal. We encounter it in our daily lives with friends, family-members, classmates and co-workers; in our communities between different interest and identity groups; and at the global level between state or non-state actors. Good leadership is essential at any and all of these levels to ensure that conflicts are dealt with constructively rather than destructively, to ensure that the potential for social change and positive transformation that exists in conflict is realized, rather than lost in the infliction of physical violence or other forms of harm. This course will explore the phenomenon of conflict--at the interpersonal, intergroup, and international levels--and will focus on various nonviolent strategies for managing, resolving, and transforming it.
Students will be encouraged to think creatively and critically about conflict, to understand conflict from multiple points of view, and to reflect on the role of leadership in conflict, both as a party to a conflict and as an intervener in a conflict. They will also have the opportunity to develop their own conflict management skills; including active listening, creative problem-solving, negotiation, mediation, dialogue facilitation, and public speaking. Course assignments and activities will include nightly reading, in-class interactive group work and presentations, role-plays, simulations, films, and short written assignments. The final project will provide students with the opportunity to develop an Action Plan that applies their learning to an issue of importance in their home community.
This course is part of the Leadership Institute, a two-week academic program that helps students cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. This unique program consists of three integrated elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Our students are thoughtful and compassionate youth who are interested in social issues and creating positive change. Participants can look forward to full days in a community of engaged and curious learners.
Prerequisites: This course content is relevant and applicable for all students and does not require prior experience or knowledge.
Caitlin Bradford Murphy is a social studies teacher at Hudson High School in Hudson, MA where she has taught for the past eighteen years. In teaching courses such as Ethics, Contemporary Legal Issues and Conflict Resolution, she uses a hands-on approach that allows her students to analyze present day issues and apply concepts to the real world. Caitlin’s goal in her teachings is to inspire young people to identify injustices in their communities and the world and to actively engage in social change work to effectively address those injustices. Prior to her career in teaching, Caitlin spent six years as a community organizer and advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She holds a M.Ed. from Cambridge College and a B.A. in Sociology and Gender Studies from the University of New Hampshire. Caitlin was a teaching fellow with the Choices Education Program at the Watson International Institute at Brown and was the recipient of the 2016 Massachusetts Council for Social Studies William Spratt Award for Excellence in Teaching High School Social Studies. Caitlin grew up in rural New Hampshire and continues to feel most at home in the woods. Her free time is spent enjoying her two sons.