Friday, February 20, 2009

Today's School Role Play: Let's All Be Suicide Bombers

Yes, I know this my second Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells post in a row, but I'm in that kind of mood today. Did you see the front page article from the Telegraph this morning on the teaching kit which encourages school kids to 'think like suicide bombers'? Proof, if it were ever needed that parts of the educational establishment have gone completely barking mad.
Children are being encouraged to imagine they are suicide bombers plotting the July 7 attacks as part of the Government's strategy to combat violent extremism.The exercise is part of a teaching pack aimed at secondary school pupils that has been adopted by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. It requires children to prepare a presentation on the July 7 atrocity – in which 52 innocent people died – "from the perspective of the bombers". They are asked to summarise the reasons why they thought the bombers wanted to carry out their attacks and even suggest some more. It has been produced by Calderdale council in Halifax, West Yorks, which borders the area where two of the July 7 bombers lived, and has been adopted by schools and even police forces across the country. The pack, which is called "Things do Change", is intended as a way of addressing issues such as terrorism and suicide bombing through the national curriculum.

The pack was made available through a Government-­sponsored website called www.teachernet.gov.uk A section entitled "Community Cohesion" requires pupils to "prepare a brief presentation on the 7/7 bombings from the perspective of the bombers".

After watching a DVD from the pack, which costs £200, the class is supposed to be split into four, with one group asked to adopt the perspective of the bombers. Sail Suleman, the author of the pack, told the Times Educational Supplement : "We're looking at why people become extreme. Why do young people go out and do what the bombers did? Was it pressure from individuals they were hanging out with? Hopefully, we'll encourage pupils to stay away from those individuals."

Other groups are asked to imagine the bombings from the perspectives of Muslims in Britain, non-Muslim Asians and British people in general. The teaching pack is already being used in Islamic schools and mosques in West Yorkshire, as well as in local authority-run schools.

A number of other authorities, including Birmingham, Sandwell in the West Midlands and Lancashire, have begun using it in schools and several police forces, including the Metropolitan, West Yorkshire, Thames Valley and Greater Manchester, have adopted it.


Now I can almost forgive it being used by one local authority and put it down to an unfortunate lapse of judgement. But what the hell are the police doing using it, let alone Islamic schools?

Apparently it was withdrawn from the Teachernet website yesterday. I'd love to know how it got there in the first place. Didn't someone, somewhere along the line question whether this was appropriate? Clearly not.

18 comments:

Richard said...

I find it astonishing the pack costs £200. As well as being a rather disturbing exercise, it's a waste of money.

jdc said...

I have my own Tunbridge Wells tendencies, but I'm not sure I see the problem with this.

We wrote countless history essays when I was at school on why the Germans elected Hitler, or why they went to war, or what have you.

Nobody suggested the school was trying to teach us to be Nazis.

davidc said...

is it part of a 'social inclusion' initiative ?

Dave H said...

I've never understood this: when female suicide bombers ascend to paradise do they get 72 virgins too?

We've not had any of them yet (in this country). Could this be because the promise of so many sweaty-handed fumbling adolescents is acting as a deterrence?

Boo said...

72 virgins? Those female suicide bombers are right sluts.
Nothing wrong with the male suicide bombers wanting 72 though. Thats aceptable

ppe said...

I like reading Iain Dale, not the Daley Mail. Less of this please. Why shouldn't children try and understand why terrorism happens? Can it be interpreted or explained without reference to the terrorists' perspective?

Iain Dale said...

I'd have thought that was bleedin' obvious. A little less understanding and a little more condemnation is called for. If I had kids I would not want them "empathising" with terrorists.

Oh, and it was the Daily Telegraph.

jdc said...

I don't believe we were ever asked to "empathise with Nazis", we were asked to consider and analyse their motives. That necessarily means looking at someone's perspective, it didn't mean we all set out with murderous intent for the Jewish quarter.

A. P. Douglas said...

Without particularly referring to July 7th as they may offend its victims, I don't see a problem with this.

What the terrorists did and continue to do is an awful, cowardly thing. I think everyone, save for a few extremist Muslims and deluded "liberals", sees their acts as a bad thing.

But we shouldn't just condemn them. We need to look at WHY they did these things. Like the poster above about the Nazis, people need to see where they are coming from and then come to their own conclusions. We need to adress the problem head-on instead of taking the Bush and his "axis of evil" approach.

Bill Quango MP said...

JDC
Were you asked to consider and analyse the motives of the IRA?

Today class, the girls are going to be Bobby Sands and Martin Cahill and the boys are going to be Ross Mcwerters and Lord Mountbattens.

Its too soon for 7/7 or 9/11.
Just about ready for Munich.

Alcuin said...

I do not think this is like writing essays on why the Germans went to war. Their reasons were based on the collapse of their Banks and the unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles, and as such we should try to understand them. But the motivation of the 7/7 bombers was theological hatred. Trying to get into the head of such people is dangerous even for well balanced adults, but for children it is like showing them the Texas Chainsaw Massacre - a deranged and brutal window into a part of our psyche that is best left for the direst emergencies.

We are too remote in time and space from the horrors of war to understand what those who fought went through. Add the prevailing moral relativism of our decadent elite and the cultural cringe it has induced and this sort of behaviour is what you get.

jdc said...

"Were you asked to consider and analyse the motives of the IRA?"

Yes, but not until A-Level.

JPT said...

Testing the water I think.

David Morris said...

How about some of these fuquit teachers getting their pupils into groups and discussing how they might go out and get jobs when they grow up, instead of sitting on their lazy arses claiming benefits and hoping someone from somewhere else in the world might come and do the jobs that are beneath them?

Nah, sorry I'll get me coat.

Tom said...

72 virgins? Sounds more like hell than paradise to me!

dmc said...

Yeah,just think of all that nagging for eternity when the novelty has worn off. .

Yak40 said...

It's demonstrative of the same mentality that led a Swedish gov't minister last year to say, when asked why the extremists were always appeased, that if Swedes were nice to them now then they'd reciprocate when they were in charge.

Roger Thornhill said...

"Why do young people go out and do what the bombers did?"

Because some bearded goat sitting miles from any danger duped them.

That will be £200.


Seriously, the issue is if child did say such a thing in the group - that the bombers had been misled or read some book, would the "teacher" mark them up or down depending on their own bias?

This is the problem with such things - kids should learn the facts, but all this empathy while the contention is still in play? Very wrong. It offers unlimited scope for manipulation, group-think, indoctrination, indirect Maoist denouncing.


An UTTER waste of £200.