The Best Cyprus Community

Skip to content


A novel catalyst for the Cyprus solution

Propose and discuss specific solutions to aspects of the Cyprus Problem

1. Do you think this school could exist in the current situation? 2. Do you think it could expedite a political settlement to the Cyprus problem even if that means the settlement would occur 10-15 years after the school's opening?

Poll ended at Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:43 am

1. Yes 2. Yes
10
29%
1. Yes 2. No
11
31%
1. No 2. No
11
31%
1. No 2. Yes
3
9%
 
Total votes : 35

Postby Alexis » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:56 pm

The two sides' educational leaders would negotiate the curriculum, and through a teaching method called Academic Controversy, Cyprus' recent history would not be dodged.


Hi Mills,

Was reading the article you posted from 'reportfromcyprus.com' and am interested in the above 'Academic Controversy' method. What I want to ask though is do you think it is wise to confront the Cyprus Problem with its recent history head-on in the classroom? I realise that for reconciliation this is actually of crucial importance, but for a pioneering school which is intended to get the ball rolling isn't this very ambitious? Of course the Cyprus Problem will have to be covered but I am very much of the opinion that we take this one step at a time. I think many students would find it difficult to separate the harsh realities of their recent past in which many of their families may have been involved with the study of history in a dispassionate, analytic way. I am interested to know what new concept the Academic Controversy method would bring to the bicommunal calssroom to counter this problem.
Alexis
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:36 pm
Location: UK

Postby Mills Chapman » Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:34 am

Hi Alexis,

Your question was interesting, and I thank you for patiently waiting for a response, which could be turned into a dissertation if I had both the time and the space. For the sake of the latter, I will not explain everything about the academic controversy method here since I can direct you to www.cyprussolution.org and then onto the described Yahoo account from which you can download my proposal. (I’m sorry for my website not being user-friendly at the moment; I will eventually revamp it). In the proposal, look at pages 26-37 and p. 50-51, especially p.30-35 (at the bottom of p.30) and p. 50-51. Academic controversy, cooperative learning, and conflict-resolution education are intertwined for reasons I will describe down below.

But before that, here are some links on the academic controversy method:
- http://www.co-operation.org/pages/academic.html
- http://www.ntlf.com/html/pi/9710/johnson_1.htm
- http://www.google.com/search?q=http--cl ... dcontr.pdf
- http://www.ericdigests.org/1998-1/academic.htm
- http://www.wnet.org/peaceful/stratf.html
- http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/class ... versy.html

The new concept that academic controversy brings to the bicommunal classroom is the teaching of a controversial issue where the students have to persuasively argue for each side. They don't have to research each side of the debate, but they do have to speak aloud from both viewpoints. It is a great method to use when the teacher wants to appear as objective as possible. Students aren't graded for the position that they take in their final write-up but rather for the quality of their reasoning.

Confronting the Cyprus Problem with its recent history head-on in the classroom is an extremely sensitive issue, and fortunately, I don’t think the omission of the CP from the history curriculum at this proposed school would be a fatal flaw to this whole concept. However, I think the students at this school will be more prepared to handle it than any other students; also, the teaching of the Cyprus Problem would be put off until the students are at least 14-15, which would ensure that the students are emotionally mature to a certain degree and that they have the abstract-thinking skills to integrate opposing sides of a story. This could even be delayed until they are 16, 17, or 18 – a massive difference in maturity from 14 and 15.

Lastly, before explaining why these students might be more prepared than any other ones to handle the CP’s graphic details, I want to suggest that the GC and TC educational leaders could strike a deal to not let teachers show their students any of the most graphic details. For example, they could agree that the students could hear about mass killings and rapes, but that it would do no good to show these teenagers countless photos of corpses or transcripts of rape victims recalling the ripping of clothing and heavy breathing, etc. When the GC and TC educational leaders take into account that the other side could probably produce – legitimately or illegitimately – photos matching the viciousness of their own side’s photos, they might be willing to work together to outline content in the evidence that will not be acceptable for classroom use, evidence where the psychological harm outweighs the educational gain.

Now, as for why these students might be better prepared by the age of 15 to discuss the Problem than other students in other schools: Since the age of 2 they will have participated in a conflict-resolution-education (CRE) program whose complexity will spiral upwards in a reinforcing manner. The CRE program – 30 minutes a day in September and then 30 minutes a week after that, will teach them to be adept at recognizing and listening to someone else’s upset feelings in an argument, whether it is about the last cookie at snack-time, the green crayon in art class, or a controversial point in history class. (We can discuss CRE in another exchange.)

Around the age of 8 for the students, the teachers can begin to use various cooperative learning (CL) methods, since researchers have found that children’s minds before that age aren’t usually ready to be productive in talking to and teaching classmates about the lesson material. Effective CL – whether it is in math or science class or elsewhere – reinforces the skills that were taught during the CRE lesson and also brings forth numerous cognitive benefits (higher test scores, etc.). CRE is subject content, whereas CL is a teaching method that can be used for any subject, including CRE. CL, by the way, would only be used for 35-40% of the lessons.

I mentioned in my proposal that the school would need to be strict in not accepting students in any given year who are older than 2. I said this mainly for reasons of becoming fluently bilingual or trilingual, but also, it is imperative for these students to get a good foundation of the socio-emotional skills taught in CRE class and through CL.

When the students hit the ages of 11 and 12, they can begin to use the academic controversy method, not only in history class but perhaps also in science. In history they will be studying the history of Greece and Turkey, omitting anything related to Cyprus. The next year or two they will study the history of Cyprus up until 1949, again using academic controversy for any historical disputes.

By the time they reach 14 (or 15-18 ), they will have had

a) significantly more CRE training than their peers at other schools
b) more experience with CL and thus explaining material to their classmates and listening in return
c) and repeated exposure to the academic controversy method in which they will have had to argue amicably from both viewpoints.

What will be new here will be the subject content – the history of Cyprus after 1949. They will already be familiar with it to a certain extent from everyday life and from stories that their classmates from the other community might have informally shared with them on the playground, etc. For this history class in particular, the school could assign a guidance counselor to always be there in the classroom with the teacher, and the guidance counselor on certain days could give a quick briefing to emotionally prepare the students before they were exposed to heavy-duty evidence. I think by that age the students would also be made aware by their respective communities of the historical significance of how they are learning this sensitive topic and with whom. My hope – and this could backfire – is that this outside pressure, when combined with their now well-established memories of lifelong learning at this bi-communal school, would propel them to put in greater effort in trying to make some sort of synthesis of the two opposing pools of historical evidence being presented. There might be some sense of "Let's put in extra effort on this as the island is counting on us."

Mind you, also, that since the school would only be admitting two-year-olds each year and since the students wouldn’t be discussing the CP until they are at least 14, there would be 12 years to “get the ball rolling” – as you said - from the date of the school’s opening to the date of presenting the Cyprus Problem to the students.

Alexis, if you are still interested in looking at academic controversy, try googling “creative controversy” as well. It’s the same thing but a different name. Lastly, I can probably get you the citations from educational research journals for this teaching method if you have a research library close to where you live.

I hope this helps. :)
User avatar
Mills Chapman
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:00 am
Location: USA (although, ideally it would be Aitutaki)

Postby cypezokyli » Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:11 pm

hi mills.
if i understood correctly you have changed some parts of your original proposal (billingualism , etc), that i find myself completely agreeing to it. :wink:

i also agree with the above concept of approaching history.
good work .
keep it up
cypezokyli
Regular Contributor
Regular Contributor
 
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:11 pm
Location: deutschland

Postby Mills Chapman » Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:47 pm

Hi cypezoklyi,

Thanks for your encouraging post. I have to confess that when I said bilingualism, I meant either Greek or Turkish to go along with English - and not Greek or Turkish. However, you may be seeing something (a reason) that I'm not, and I get the feeling that if we were to sit down for a conversation over coffee, etc., I would be able to see your point pretty clearly and quickly and then agree with you. I just haven't pondered this issue too deeply since you last wrote it up as I figured that the model could be adjusted to what you suggested if your fellow Cypriots agreed to it.

I'll have to go back and re-read what you wrote about this issue. Have a good day. - Mills
User avatar
Mills Chapman
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:00 am
Location: USA (although, ideally it would be Aitutaki)

Postby cypezokyli » Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:50 pm

Mills Chapman wrote:Hi cypezoklyi,

Thanks for your encouraging post. I have to confess that when I said bilingualism, I meant either Greek or Turkish to go along with English - and not Greek or Turkish. However, you may be seeing something (a reason) that I'm not, and I get the feeling that if we were to sit down for a conversation over coffee, etc., I would be able to see your point pretty clearly and quickly and then agree with you. I just haven't pondered this issue too deeply since you last wrote it up as I figured that the model could be adjusted to what you suggested if your fellow Cypriots agreed to it.

I'll have to go back and re-read what you wrote about this issue. Have a good day. - Mills


hi mills.
we had somehow a discussion here and there.
you can find what i wrote some pages back (i think arounf p.7 ).

i could also remind you this part of our discussion :



hi mills .
thanks for the responce mills.
heres some short answers

Quote:

In the younger ages, I would want the students to learn Greek, Turkish, and English, but

A) I don't know for how long that can be done without sacrificing time for math, art, and other courses that belong in an elite schoo
l;


thats the advantage offered when one starts from kindergarden. as far as i know , the ages where children are able to learn languages with even anyone teaching them the rules of grammar are between 2-6. the bet here is that they become billingual during the kindergarden - with some trained teachers ofcource.
i believe it is possible wihtout "wasting" too much time

there are billingual schools out there. it is possible.

Quote:
B) the students would probably be picking up another foreign language around the age of 12 (such as French, Spanish, German, Italian, or Chinese), and I don't know if four would be too many for most students (probably not if the first three are started at a very early age)


this brings us back to the question of "where do we want to go"
and especially "what is the target of this school" ?.

and i guess our target is different :wink:
it seems to me , that you are "satisfied" simply by the co-existance of students. that should do the work, it will teach them to accept each other and concequently lead to peace - when and if they become the leaders

for me i believe that if we do this job we should do it "right" and "complete" . and when i say "this job" i mean: a peaceful cyprus. i am becoming more and more persuaded that billingualism is an important prerequisite for peace, helping to understand each other (language is culture and vice-versa) BUT even more to move towards the ultimate goal of constracting a new identity (the cypriot) where language would not be a factor of differentiating with "the other".

imo, the absence of a common identity is what caused the problem in the first place , and billingualism would do way more towards that direction than communicating in english

english is ofcource important since it has become the lingua franca. and i agree that it should be taught in this school. but imo , for a cypriot it is more important to be learn his countrys languages than learning french or chinese.

Quote:
C) I'm concerned about far-right/extremely conservative parents who wouldn't want their child to have to learn the language of the other community. What's most important is to get these kids into the classroom together, and if teaching the other's language is going to motivate some parents to send their child to another school, I would like to skip that; I really want to cater to the wants of the far-right parents on each side since they are the ones who will most negatively influence their children otherwise. I can see the economic argument for asking Turkish Cypriot kids to learn Greek (job opportunities in the Republic of Cyprus, etc), but I struggle to see the importance of requiring Greek Cypriot kids to learn Turkish; I worry that it would turn off some parents' interest.


imo , the far right parents will not come anyway.
the far right will in any case avoid their kid having relations with the other.
a far right parent wouldnt also accept a more neutral side of history.

imo , it is parents who have an idealism that will send their children.
so just out of idealism , they would like their kids to learn greek/turkish.

perhaps you need a servey to identify the "market" for this school (i hate putting economic terms in the discussion but... )
will it really attract more parents if you sacrifice billingualism ?

(my opinion is no , but i cannot back it up empirically. perhaps we could ask alex , he is more expert on the field of serveys and the way of thinking of the average cypriot)

as for the economic incentive. in the Republic of Cyprus there already a number of jobs where "knowledge of turkish would be considered an advantage".
dont forget erdogan and karamanlis are planning to boost the economic cooperation in 5B $ per year. if not in cyprus, our mamas will need us Wink
cypezokyli
Regular Contributor
Regular Contributor
 
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:11 pm
Location: deutschland

Postby Klik » Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:52 pm

Mr Chapman, your ideas are quite nice, but could only work if it was based on a non-conflict zone. eg, it can work in a country like Spain with so many dialects and disputes between themselves etc for various reasons. Cyprus unfortunately cannot be saved by this.

I can see that your intention is for the current "leaders" to send their children at this school, and the new Cyprus "leaders" would have attended that school. Well, it just won't happen. Only a few would have sent their children there, and I'm 99% certain that if anyone of those students after graduating and going to university and tried to win any kind of election, they'd lose, just because they were alumni of that certain school.
In Cyprus, most people won't accept some easy things, they don't like modernisation that much. But this can be turned around, considering that the youth generation of our time has grown up in a modernised environment. But still, there's a low chance of succeeding your goal.
None of the Cypriots will ever accept learning Turkish. About Turkish history, it depends on the person. I wouldn't care myself learning about their history, but I know the basics and important things to know.

On paper, it seems like a golden idea, that would work anywhere. Even if this is managed at Israel(a totally different issue), in Cyprus, you'll never manage it.

P.S: When did you attend Stanford University? My father is an '81 alumni, and I've visited Stanford this summer and met some of the teachers there...
Klik
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:01 pm

Postby zan » Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:58 pm

Hi Mills,

Probably a silly question because I have not read the whole thread but, how do you propose to shield these children from the data and pictures on the internet.
User avatar
zan
Leading Contributor
Leading Contributor
 
Posts: 16213
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:55 pm

Postby Mills Chapman » Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:02 am

Hi Zan,

I'll respond to the others' messages in just a moment. As for yours, I'm assuming that you are refering to data and pictures about the Cyprus Problem (CP) and not something such as pornography. At any rate, the school - just like any school - will not have any say as to what the students can see on their home computers. At school, any pictures deemed to be harmful such as pornography can be blocked with CyperPatrol/NetNanny software; that's easy.

Regarding the pictures and data of the CP at school, it's all negotiable, but I would think that they would not be blocked, unless they showed something such as a corpse that the school's leaders deemed to include within the reach of CyperPatrol. The only time that teachers would explicitly bring forth pictures and data about the CP would be in the history class that discusses the CP. There again, like I said in my last message, each side's leaders could meet and see if they want to outline together any harmful content whose potential emotional damage to the students would outweigh any educational gains- such as photos of mass graves with the corpses still in them.

I hope that answers your question.
User avatar
Mills Chapman
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:00 am
Location: USA (although, ideally it would be Aitutaki)

Postby Mills Chapman » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:02 am

Klik and cypezokyli,

Thanks for your posts. I’m going to have break up this response into at least two parts. Cypezokyli, I found our previous discussion on this; thanks for quoting it.

Klik, please call me Mills. I received my graduate degree from Stanford in 2004 (Int'l Educational Administration), but I may still need to get a PhD. I'm stalling on that decision until I deal with a few other things in my life. Stanford has a very beautiful campus; I just wish it wasn't so expensive to live there.

The ultimate goal of this school is to help generate a political solution to the Cyprus Problem, but not necessarily peace in Cyprus. “Peace” is unfortunately vague and hard to define; the passing of a proposed political agreement between two opposing communities is not. If an agreement is reached, I will lose interest in trying to start this school on Cyprus; I will look elsewhere, perhaps to the Korean DMZ ( www.koreasolution.org ). My one unique contribution to humanity will no longer be applicable to the Cyprus situation – that being the belief that a school such as the one I envision can be the missing piece to getting the two sides of a conflict to a previously unattainable lasting peace agreement.

It will also be the goal of this school to shape and edit itself into a school where the far-right leaders of each side would want to send their children. Yes, that will be darn near impossible, but not impossible. Countless revisions to the school’s model will be required, and a lot of empathic listening will be required of the school’s developers to incorporate the wishes of each side’s far-right leaders and parents. They are human beings, and human beings, when feeling trusting of others and understood to the level of mundane details, have the capacity to slightly change their position, in this case their willingness to send their child to a school with the child of their historical enemy. This has never been done anywhere in history, but that does not mean it is impossible. Do I sound like a Utopian and a total dreamer? Absolutely, but that’s the price that the visionary has to pay, and the visionary will only succeed if he can make his vision sound rational and pragmatic to others, which is what I am trying to do here.

Klik wrote: your ideas are quite nice, but could only work if it was based on a non-conflict zone.


I don't understand this point. Yes, the issue of the children's safety would have to be covered, both in the school's grounds and outside of it, but I don't see why this school can't work where there is a relatively non-violent conflict. Nicosia isn't like Baghdad or Darfur.

Klik wrote: I can see that your intention is for the current "leaders" to send their children at this school, and the new Cyprus "leaders" would have attended that school.


While my intention is for the current leaders' children to go there, it won’t be required of the new Cypriot leaders to have attended this school. The school’s goal, in more specific terms than what I described above, is to add to that mass of Cypriots - from families from all degrees of the political spectrum - who identify more with their Cypriot-ness than with their Greek or Turkish ethnicity. The school’s addition to the existing mass will partly be alumni of the school and partly the children’s parents or other family members, whose own attitudes will probably shift from seeing these children having a successful schooling experience each day with children of the other ethnicity.

Klik, I do see your point about hardened Cypriots never electing to government anyone who has graduated from this school, and while that is a possibility, I don’t think it is necessarily a certainty, not if this school is on or above the academic level of The English School. It's my belief that every person's political beliefs have a sell-out price when the quality of their own child's education is involved. If interested in pursuing a government job, each alumnus or alumna will have to work that much harder than their competitors to prove their political worth to the public.

The continued goal of the school is that members of this now-widened critical mass will either add directly or indirectly to the brainstorming sessions of the top-level negotiators when they are trying to find the elusive political solution to the Cyprus Problem – directly as a governmental official sitting at the negotiating table during the brainstorming session or indirectly as a powerful grassroots organization that designs possible solutions that please the majority in both the TC and GC communities.

[End of part one]
User avatar
Mills Chapman
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:00 am
Location: USA (although, ideally it would be Aitutaki)

Postby Mills Chapman » Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:10 am

[part two];

Cypezokyli wrote, “since you are directed for the elites , perhaps we should ask is the elites are in general moderates or are they far right ? it could be that the far right is affected by income and educational level.... or not. if extreme right is correlated with low income and low level of education, then perhaps you are making offers to people who are not even your target group /market.”

Cypezokyli, the political orientation of the political elites doesn’t matter. If they have the power to make key decisions, I want to get their children or grandchildren at all costs to the school’s donors. The target group market are those families – regardless of political orientation – who have a two-year-old that is among the most politically influential two-year-olds in Cyprus for that year, based on a family member’s job in government. However, once we have determined that a two-year-old is one of the most politically influential ones, which is the group that we want to target for matriculation, the families that will most likely reject our offer are those within this pool who are right-wing. This sub-set of families are the ones I will want to especially convince. There may be some years in which there are no far-right parents at all from this group, simply because the families of the far-right politicians don’t happen to have any two-year-olds that year.

The families whose children only receive a spot through the lottery - which is how half of the school’s student body will be selected - will naturally be less politically influential or else their child would have qualified as being one of the most politically influential two-year-olds for that given year. If one of these families doesn’t want to send their child to the school, I’ll be curious to hear their reasoning but I will be less willing to go far out of my way to get them to change their mind – simply because they have less political clout than those described in the last paragraph.

[end of part two - more to come]
User avatar
Mills Chapman
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:00 am
Location: USA (although, ideally it would be Aitutaki)

PreviousNext

Return to Cyprus Problem Solution Proposals

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest