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‘I knew what was going on the news, but I didn’t know how to understand it’: is the Prevent policy helping students learn about terrorism?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 September 2020

SEVENHEADS / Pixabay

Alex Elwick, Hans Svennevig and Lee Jerome.

When it comes to understanding and learning about terrorism and extremism, what young people say they want and many of the educational resources they are provided with do not match up.

Our contribution to a recently published book shows that young people generally support the values of democracy and reject the use of political violence, but they want their teachers to help them to develop their critical media and political literacy. Despite what students have told us, we found that leading government endorsed education resources currently fall short of such aims. The Educate Against Hate website has been developed by the Department for Education and the Home Office ‘to provide practical advice, support and resources to protect children from extremism and radicalisation.’

Our review of the site suggests that counter-narratives within these resources tend to be simplistic and lack criticality or nuanced engagement with a range of perspectives, e.g. a PowerPoint slide with the guidance “don’t be racist”. This criticality stood out as one of the key requests of young people in our research – they trusted teachers to tell them the truth and introduce them to (more…)

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…)