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Beyond Prevent: helping students to think critically is a better way to discourage extremism

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 January 2018

Mike Diboll and Reza Gholami, 
The government’s counter-extremism Prevent strategy has come under serious criticism. Commentators say it risks intensifying the very extremism it is intended to “prevent”. Mounting evidence suggests that it is at best ineffective, at worst counter-productive. Surely, it is time seriously to re-think what effective educational responses to the rising tide of contemporary extremisms should be like.
Research confirming the validity of these criticisms comes from many sources. For example, a report from (more…)

Priorities for a new Government: advice from our academics part 5 – Muslims, education and citizenship; teacher retention

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 June 2017

The IOE blog has asked colleagues from across the Institute what’s at the top of their wish list. Their replies have appeared over the past few weeks.
Muslims, education and citizenship
Given the present turbulent and divisive environment, how should a new Government approach British Muslims? I believe the new government should approach British Muslims first as citizens of this country and then engage with their concerns in terms of religion, class, gender and other identities.
It is true that being a Muslim means at least some attachment, theological or cultural, to Islam. However, the degree of attachment varies enormously from person to person – ranging from those for whom it determines every aspect of life to those for whom it is one among many loyalties and identity-markers.
There is no all-encompassing ‘Muslim community’, with a shared way of looking at the (more…)

Muslim education: should teachers be storm troopers or facilitators of debate and intercultural understanding?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital28 April 2015

Farah Ahmed
Delegates to this year’s NUT conference raised concerns about the new requirement for teachers to ‘counter extremism’ and ‘actively promote British Values’. This policy was characterised as requiring teachers to act as ‘storm troopers’ – expected to spy on young people and report them to the authorities, or face emergency inspections from Ofsted if schools have failed to ‘safeguard’ pupils from extremist influences. The Independent reports one case where “A female pupil asked her teacher whether she should go on a demonstration to protest about the Israeli bombing of Gaza. Under the Prevent guidelines to combat extremism, her teacher feared he should have reported her to the police.”
Unsurprisingly, many teachers report that this is stifling debate in schools and that children and young people are afraid to express opinions. This is certainly true in my experience as a Muslim educator. Increasingly, I hear young people talking about (more…)