The “Radicalisation in Australia” teacher’s guide

With the Radicalisation in Australia booklet set to be wheeled out in our schools, TBS has procured the teacher’s guide that accompanies it.

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

The Radicalisation in Australia Teacher’s Guide offers resources for Australian educators to integrate awareness into primary school curricula. The guide includes applied learning activities, with post-activity questions, designed to foster student understanding of the important themes and issues that will make this booklet an essential part of Australian history in the future.

Teachers will find the booklet broken into helpful lesson plans in order to maximise the material.

 

Lesson Plan One: Violent extremism

Read from the booklet:

Australia has enjoyed a peaceful history, relatively free from violent extremism. Though the threat to the Australian community from violent extremist behaviour is small, it still exists.

Actions of violent extremists threaten Australia’s core values and principles, including human rights, the rule of law, democracy, equal opportunity and freedom. The Australian Government rejects all forms of violent extremism and promotes a harmonious and inclusive society.

Written texts are often inaccessible to students. For many, the historical contexts are foreign to them, the complex language hinders fluent learning. Unless the students participate in extremism (albeit in a supervised, controlled environment) they will be unable to fully grasp the concepts touched on in this booklet.

Activity: The Violent Extremist in the middle.

Firstly, get the students to state what extremist groups they’ve heard of. Chart the answers on a writing material of your choosing, but make sure the text is large enough for all the students to clearly see it. (Note: if questions are asked who specific groups are, please instruct them on the history and crimes of the groups.) Once a list is totalled upon the board, pick the most popular choice and give the label to one student in the class.

The format of the activity will be a familiar one to the students. A staring competition, mixed with Tip.

The aim of the game is to ignore the Extremist. The aim for the Extremist is to gain attention.

Scatter the children around an area you can supervise, instructing them to never look the Extremist in the eye. If a student looks the Extremist in the eye, they now join the ranks of the Extremist and can now try and “recruit” other students.

The goal of the Extremist is to recruit as many followers as possible. He/She can do this by progressively becoming more animated and raising their voice. To keep it relevant, supply the Extremist the motto or the teachings of the chosen extremist group.

Close the activity with the students writing or discussing which words made them feel most strongly. Help students to continually ask themselves: “How did I feel during that game, and how did the Extremist make me feel?”

 

Lesson Plant Two: Radicalisation

Read from the booklet:

Radicalisation happens when a person’s thinking and behaviour become significantly different from how most of the members of their society and community view social issues and participate politically. As a person radicalises they may begin to seek to change significantly the nature of society and government. However, if someone decides that using fear, terror or violence is justified to achieve ideological, political or social change – this is violent extremism.

Those who radicalise and display threatening behaviour, incite hatred or promote the use of violence for their cause require some form of intervention. This may come from family, religious or community leaders or law enforcement.

Radicalisation has no root cause. There are many factors leading to the path of violent extremism. The best approach for tackling the warning signs is a communal one.

Activity: Radical Behaviour Care Group.

Due to the nature of these warning signs, this activity is impossible to complete in one sitting. This activity is designed to encompass the entirety of the school term. Select, entirely at random, a handful of students to become the Care Group. The Care Group will be identified by a unique badge until the end of the activity. The aim of the Care Group is to look after their fellow classmates, safeguarding them from extremist thoughts. (These include violence, violent thoughts, certain reading material, destruction of property, unexplained absences, introversion, poor attitude, disagreeable personality etc.) To necessitate this, the Care Group will have complete access to the property of the students they suspect who have fallen prey to violent extremism.

If the Care Group is particularly anguished about the path taken by a specific student, that student will then be given recourse in front of the school community, to explain the situation.

Read from the booklet:

Communities play a vital role in assisting people to move away from violent extremism and intervening to stop acts of violence before they are committed.

 

Lesson Plan Three: Early identification

Read from the booklet:

Early intervention is best. However, before you try to intervene, try to fully understand a person’s situation and motivation. A significant event, or a build-up of incidents, can trigger and/or accelerate the radicalisation process. If issues can be dealt with before they become large problems, this may prevent a person from radicalising further.

 

Activity: 1-minute writing exercise

This activity is based on speed. The goal is to prompt students to write a response to an open question. The open question, which should be fielded anywhere between once and thrice a day is “Who in the world do you most admire?”.

The activities give students the opportunity to put forward their own thoughts, which be collected by the teacher to gain direct feedback. Advantages include developing students’ abilities to think holistically and critically whilst improving their writing skills.

If an answer given by a student strays into extremist territory, that student will then be required to re-sit the exercise until an acceptable answer is given.

 

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