An example illustrating problem - and value oriented teaching

Vilgot Oscarsson, lecturer at Institute of Didactics, Gothenburg University, Sweden


Aim of the workshop: to analyse and discuss conflict resolution strategies at individual - group - society / global levels.

As the first step in the workshop the participants discussed the following situation and gave their opinions about the two questions:

Eva loves Gunnar. She is on one side of a river with Kalle and Sven. Gunnar is on the other side of the river with Bengt. Eva wants to meet Gunnar but she needs help from one person to be able to cross the river.

Eva asks Kalle if he wants to help her. "No, says he. I don't care about other people. I have enough taking care of my own problems."

But Sven promises to help Eva if she makes love with him. Eva agrees and then she can cross the river with the help of Sven.

When Eva and Gunnar meet she tells Gunnar what happened. Gunnar gets furious and repudiates Eva, saying he doesn't want to live with such a woman.

Eva gets extremely unhappy and tells Bengt the whole story. Bengt gets very upset on behalf of Eva and beats Gunnar up for being cruel to Eva.


First you must make up your own decision about which of the involved persons has acted most morally right and who has acted least morally right.

Then you join your group, which has to take a common group decision about the two questions.

Then I present a list of the conflict resolution methods used in the example, i e

- to withdraw, "not my business"

- violence

- threat

- blackmailing

- repudiation

- supression

- exploitation

- opression

- punishment

- reward

We discussed and I presented what kind of questions we can use in our teaching out of this example, i e

at individual and group levels

- Which methods do you use in your personal relations with others?

- What kind of conflict resolution principles are used in the different groups you are involved in, i e in your family? At your working place?

at society / global level

- What kind of conflict resolution methods are used in your society, i e in the political system? At the labour market?

- Which conflict resolution strategies are used between countries in conflict? (find examples in current conflicts around the world).

- What conflict resolution strategies should the United Nations use to promote peace and human rights?

Example of questions at the value - action level

- How to solve conflicts in your "ideal society"?

- What can you do yourself and do with others to attain those goals? In the short run? In the long run?


Finally I presented this model for the participants:

Internationalized education should in other words rest upon a balanced perspective which emphasizes the interdependency of questions held within this overall framework. But teaching about international relations must also begin in the "here and now". That is within the pupils´ sphere of experience and their relationship to the immediate environment. Only thereafter is the perspective broadened to encompass first national, then European, then international and finally global issues.

This principle can be illustrated as follows:

A model for local-global perspectivization






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