War & Peace Issues Month: How You Can Participate – SHARE HERE!

gisig-issuesmont-universal-cut-banner copy

How you can participate

October 2015 is IATEFL Global Issues SIG special event – War & Peace Issues Month! For the third year in a row, we are holding a month-long online event. This is an asynchronous event, developed with the aim of sharing ideas about teaching English with a conscience, this year through the lens of “War & Peace”.

We would like to provide a platform where we can come together as a community of educators, teaching English through inspirational communication about real issues of concern to all global citizens.

This is a huge topic, with a wide range of possible topics:

  • Migration / Displacement / Refuge
  • Race / Discrimination / Belonging
  • Global citizenship / Global community / Stories / Connections
  • Wealth /Power imbalance
  • Religious / Economic / Political ideologies
  • Volunteerism / NGOs /Activism / Diplomacy
  • Militarization / Arms industry
  • Passivism / Non-violence

Share here!

The idea behind this month is to share lessons and strategies that raise awareness in your classes and your schools about issues relating to our issues month. We deliberately chose a broad topic to allow flexibility of choice. As long as it’s about War & Peace issues (as opposed to, say, a lesson about your family tree), we’re interested.

This is where you can share your ideas, links, experiences, thoughts…

It’s simple. Just leave a comment and/or contribution below. We will be doing a weekly summary of these contributions, as well as those that come through our Facebook page or Twitter.

Here is a grab-bag of ways you – teachers, teacher trainers, writers, classes – can take part.

1 Share an activity or lesson plan

Submit an activity or lesson plan idea to the Facebook page or right here. We’ll be reporting weekly highlights of these ideas here at our blog.

2 Inspire us to inspire our learners

Post a link to a picture, video, poem, game or website that links to one of these issues. Please state briefly what you would do with it. Again you can do this right here, or on the Facebook page, Twitter or Pinterest.

3. Share your thoughts, experiences, challenges

What is your personal context, interest, concern when it comes to teaching about War & Peace? What about your students? What are their experiences, fears and passions around these issues? Share your story, as an educator, or as a global citizen.

4 Teach one of these issues and tell us about it!

Teach a lesson based on one of the resources you see shared during the month and let us all know how it went. We can all learn from each other in this way.

5 Share the knowledge

We’d love to see some short book reviews or film reviews about any of these issues that can inform us as educators. If you’ve read or seen something that inspired you about the theme of War & Peace, please let us know.

6 Do some action research

Your students could perform a survey, create materials or something else. Share the results with us here!

7 Get creative

Make a real or virtual poster to link to the issue. We’d love to gather a collection of classroom-generated poster images in order to produce a feature on this for our website. You don’t need to restrict yourself to a static image; we’d love to see your own videos too (although please be aware we can’t show videos or photos of learners without permission here).

8 Take real action

Begin a Peace-related project at your school (e.g. organize a class fund-raiser for a refugee organization or organize a class mixer/awareness-builder with groups of students who have different backgrounds or identities). Please share with us how it goes.

9 Link up with a non-profit organization

Make links between your class or school and a non-profit organization. Invite a guest speaker, do a presentation, take the class on a field trip. Again, let us know how it goes.

AND FINALLY… Please spread the word!

This event will only be successful if we spread the word about it:

  • If we all made it a point to inform our own colleagues about what we are doing during this month, we could have a lot of exciting and diverse input!
  • Post a link to your school’s website.
  • Show your support by liking our Facebook page.
  • During the whole month of October please come back regularly to this page and Facebook to see what people are saying. We’ll be tweeting about it as well.

16 Responses to War & Peace Issues Month: How You Can Participate – SHARE HERE!

  1. Margit October 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    Words as Weapons
    There is a great song by the band Nickleback called ‘This means war’. The song draws a parallel between fighting with weapons and fighting with words. It raises awareness of the fact that sometimes we can ‘go to war with words’ and just escalate tension instead of really communicating. “.. .Talk will get you nowhere, the only thing you’ve brought was psychological warfare.” After listening to the song and working with the language, students could think of situations when talk actually means ‘psychological warfare’. Here is the link to the song on youtube.

  2. Bill Templer October 13, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    Speaking of ‘psychological warfare’, a terrible impact of any war is its psychological impact on those it touches, post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers everywhere, among civilians who have experienced a nightmare of violence and the death of loved ones, destruction of their homes, uprooting, desperate migration elsewhere to find some safety.

    The 6-minute video Saving Syria’s Refugee Children — Two million children in particular traumatized by the war http://goo.gl/ZuF3HD deals with psychiatric therapy through art and other measures. This video focuses on the work of Syrian psychiatrist Mohammad Abo-Hilal, a refugee doctor working in Jordan.

    Ask students:
    • What do you know about Syria?
    • Why have so many Syrians and their children fled to Jordan?
    • What happened to Ali Samara’s daughter (we see her picture)? What about her
    sister?
    • Psychiatrist Abo-Hilal has started a mental health organization called BRIGHT
    FUTURE. What does it do in Jordan?
    • What does ‘traumatized’ mean?
    • Do your learners know any people who have suffered from a ‘trauma’ in their
    family or their neighborhood, their school?
    • What happens to children suffering from what is called post-traumatic stress
    disorder (PTSD)?
    • What do we learn about Ahmed, who is being treated at BRIGHT FUTURE?
    • Dr. Abo-Hilal also has his own nightmare. What is it?
    • What is ‘art therapy’?
    • Ask students about what they can see in the drawings of children shown in the
    video.
    • How many children has Abo-Hilal’s project helped?
    • He says at the end of the video he hopes his work can be a model for initiatives
    elsewhere. He says: “We didn’t accept the status of victim.” What does he
    mean?

    Many other questions are possible.

    • Bill Templer October 23, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

      Regarding refugees, there is of course both ethnic and class differentiation in the mass exodus fleeing the Syrian internecine war.

      The very bottom of the social and the ethnic pyramid across Syria is reserved for the Dom, the ethnic relatives of the European Roma, who have lived for centuries as a subaltern, extremely marginalized community, victims of racism and social exclusion in much of West Asia (Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and elsewhere).

      Here an article on the problems of Syrian Dom refugees in Turkey: http://www.globalpost.com/article/6672318/2015/10/20/sad-story-syrias-most-marginalized-refugees The mainstream media pay them precious little attention.

  3. Bill Templer October 13, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    One big question is: who profits from arms manufacture, armaments big business? It is a staggeringly huge ‘market’ and we see it everywhere across the warscapes we are bombarded with by the media in this society of the spectacle of violence.

    The cost of weaponry being used, destroyed, bought, sold and stolen in Syria is truly astronomical. What corporations and circles, what families and individuals, are raking in the profits from all that murderous hardware?

    The military-industrial-political complex around the globe has reached a point of gargantuan expansion and influence. Who gets rich as the bombs explode? In most cases, these corporations manufacture products that self-destruct. The firecracker is a kind of symbol that students will understand. Its use-value is its detonation, its self-negation.

    Military aircraft are extremely expensive to buy and maintain. To what end and who wants to sell ever more? The U.S. maintains some 1,400 military bases of all shapes and sizes overseas. What do they cost the American taxpayer to stock and maintain, and again — who actually pockets the money?

    These are questions we need some solid simple lesson plans on. Ask students what they think some weapons cost? Few probably have any idea. Yet defense is a megabusiness. For example, an advanced fighter like the F-35 Lightning II costs nearly $160 million per plane, watch this video: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/16/politics/f-35-jsf-operational-costs/

    Students at intermediate level could form small groups to concentrate on some weapons systems, their cost and who develops and sells this hugely profitable and often-short-lived product.

    Here an hour-long video with Noam Chomsky on the broader topic of the MIC, military-industrial complex. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYRCqy_2-_8

    Noam gave a long talk late Sept. 2015 at The New School in NYC on Power and Ideology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_X5czMVKT8 Aljazeera aired an excellent video ‘d discussion with and about Noam Chomsky 13 Oct. 2015 called ‘Noam Chomsky: Knowledge and Power.’ It should be available more broadly online in a few days.

  4. Bill Templer October 15, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    Here a link to the Chomsky talk and commentary on Chomsky by friends and associates, like Norman Finkelstein, aired on Aljazeera:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2015/10/noam-chomsky-knowledge-power-151014111029879.html

    • Bill Templer October 29, 2015 at 9:34 am #

      One big question is: who profits from arms manufacture, armaments big business? It is a staggeringly huge ‘market’ and we see it everywhere across the warscapes we are bombarded with by the media in this society of the spectacle of violence.

      The cost of weaponry being used, destroyed, bought, sold and stolen in Syria is truly astronomical. What corporations and circles, what families and individuals, are raking in the profits from all that murderous hardware?

      The military-industrial-political complex around the globe has reached a point of gargantuan expansion and influence. Who gets rich as the bombs explode? In most cases, these corporations manufacture products that self-destruct. The firecracker is a kind of symbol that students will understand. Its use-value is its detonation, its self-negation.

      Military aircraft are extremely expensive to buy and maintain. To what end and who wants to sell ever more? The U.S. maintains some 1,400 military bases of all shapes and sizes overseas. What do they cost the American taxpayer to stock and maintain, and again — who actually pockets the money?

      These are questions we need some solid simple lesson plans on. Ask students what they think some weapons cost? Few probably have any idea. Yet defense is a megabusiness. For example, an advanced fighter like the F-35 Lightning II costs nearly $160 million per plane, watch this video: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/16/politics/f-35-jsf-operational-costs/

      Students at intermediate level could form small groups to concentrate on some weapons systems, their cost and who develops and sells this hugely profitable and often-short-lived product.

      Here an hour-long video with Noam Chomsky on the broader topic of the MIC, military-industrial complex. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYRCqy_2-_8

      Noam gave a long talk late Sept. 2015 at The New School in NYC on Power and Ideology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_X5czMVKT8 Aljazeera aired an excellent video ‘d discussion with and about Noam Chomsky 13 Oct. 2015 called ‘Noam Chomsky: Knowledge and Power.’ It should be available more broadly online in a few days.

  5. Sylvia Ozbalt October 15, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    This is a Maya Angelou poem about our shared humanity and infinite diversity. It has accompanied many of my classes. Thrown together from all over the world, my students relate to this positive, simple yet powerful message as they look around at classmates, new friends, who sometimes come from regions in political, economic or ideological conflict with their own. I see a lot of hope for the world in each single person’s breakthrough, big or small (“Sylvia, I always thought people from X country were X-like, but now that I’ve met X, I see he and I have a lot in common!”).

    Language activities: vocabulary building, listening (see YouTube link to Angelou’s reading), pronunciation / presentation / performance, writing (students can add lines, create a new poem, write an essay based on the poem’s themes), discussion (e.g. global understanding / tolerance / war / peace)…

    Human Family

    by Maya Angelou

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F_aHt34a-g

    I note the obvious differences
    in the human family.
    Some of us are serious,
    some thrive on comedy.

    Some declare their lives are lived
    as true profundity,
    and others claim they really live
    the real reality.

    The variety of our skin tones
    can confuse, bemuse, delight,
    brown and pink and beige and purple,
    tan and blue and white.

    I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
    and stopped in every land,
    I’ve seen the wonders of the world
    not yet one common man.

    I know ten thousand women
    called Jane and Mary Jane,
    but I’ve not seen any two
    who really were the same.

    Mirror twins are different
    although their features jibe,
    and lovers think quite different thoughts
    while lying side by side.

    We love and lose in China,
    we weep on England’s moors,
    and laugh and moan in Guinea,
    and thrive on Spanish shores.

    We seek success in Finland,
    are born and die in Maine.
    In minor ways we differ,
    in major we’re the same.

    I note the obvious differences
    between each sort and type,
    but we are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

    We are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

    We are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

  6. Bill Templer October 18, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    Racism toward the Other is learned from a very early age where I am. It’s nurtured by cultures of fear that are reproduced in family discourse, in the media, at school. The message of simple humanity in Maya’s poem would go unheeded, or given empty lip service.
    How we ‘are unalike’ is what nourishes the gut identity of many, we are not ‘them’. I hear this constantly. That culture of animus, a deep dark water, runs through the psychological depths of many societies. In my experience it’s not about people from ‘X country’ but ‘others’ in your own city and neighborhood. How to change that after it congeals into deep-set attitude is the conundrum of bias we face.

  7. Bill Templer October 20, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    The struggle against military occupation and what civilian populations endure under it is also a dimension of war & peace.. Khadoury University in the Occupied West Bank is a focal point for attacks on students and their teachers at a large Palestinian technical university. Most students anywhere have never experienced armed attacks by soldiers firing teargas on their campus. Here a report on dozens of students injured Oct 19 in an assault by the Israeli army on Khadoury U and students protesting there. http://www.imemc.org/article/73462 There is a large Israeli military base very close to the campus, on land of the University seized by the Israeli government. Students are also protesting that.

    The ongoing protests across the West Bank, Jerusalem and inside Israel are being organized largely by high school and university students, their long pent-up anger and frustration against the conditions of Occupation they live and learn under now exploding. A good question to explore with students is why now? and why specifically such protest by this young generation, most born after 1995? This article ‘Intifada or not, something powerful is going on’ can be read with students at B1 level and above: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/10/palestine-intifada-powerful-151016094419464.html

    A KEY PRACTICAL QUESTION: How could students in Europe and North America help their fellow students at Khadoury U and other West Bank universities, or the Islamic University of Gaza, which was bombed by the Israeli air force 14 months ago? YOUR STUDENTS COULD BRAINSTORM SOME POSSIBLE PROJECTS.

  8. Bill Templer October 20, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    The carnage that doctors must deal with at a hospital in a violent conflict zone is described here at Ramallah Hospital on the West Bank by journalist Ms. Mel Frykberg: http://goo.gl/9jTlho These doctors are stressed to the breaking point, dealing with terrible wounds. What do students find striking about the casualties being treated by Dr. al-Teel and his fellow doctors? Are injured university students or young teenagers being being brought to the hospital?

    Some of our students dream of becoming doctors: can they imagine working in such circumstances, where some doctors, like their patients, are suffering from PTSD? This is a conflict between a heavily equipped occupying army and a civilian population. What ‘weapons’ do the civilians have? Do students know the Biblical tale of David and Goliath? Is it applicable here?

  9. Bill Templer October 27, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    Brutal IDF attack on innocent Palestinian caught on video:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/…/israeli-soldiers-beating-arresti…

    In this surprising workplace video from 6 October, just released, students can see how heavily armed Israeli soldiers beat an innocent young Palestinian bystander standing in the doorway of his workplace in a conflict zone on the West Bank, without even asking him a question. This video circulated by the Israeli human rights action group B’Tselem (‘In His Image’) has shocked many, even inside the ‘ethically cleansed’ and politically anesthetized Israeli population.

    Ask students how they would feel, subjected to such violence. How would such excesses by their own army be viewed by the population in their own country? Should these soldiers be punished? Do any of your students plan to become soldiers? What human rights NGOs exist where you are teaching? What kinds of ‘incidents’ and issues do they deal with?

    The young Palestinian interviewed says that Israeli soldiers view Palestinians as ‘something less than human’. Have students read the poem by Maya Angelou below and discuss it related to this ‘incident’.

    Jewish sages such as Martin Buber argued from the 1920s on that it would be eventually catastrophic to create a ‘Jewish’ colonial-settler state in the heart of the country of another people, against their will. Down to his death in 1965 Buber pressed for a binational radically democratic and socialist commonwealth of Jews and Palestinians.

  10. Bill Templer October 27, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Here from the Palestinian-American novelist Susan Abulhawa, a strong statement on the decades-long conflict in Palestine: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/occupied-words-israel-colonial-narrative-151026115848584.html

    “Occupied words: On Israel’s colonial narrative” Ms.Abulhawa deconstructs Israel’s “insidious language of power”.Students can work out her main points and key arguments. Many Palestinians would agree with her take at this critical juncture.

    • Bill Templer October 27, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

      Embedded in the Abuhalwa piece is this film BORN IN ’48, by Ayed Nabaa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_rUa26HSDk

      It contrasts in a memorable cinematographic contrast of two worlds, the stories of several women, Israeli and Palestinians, born in 1948 at the time of the creation of Israel. Quite an extraordinary film, contrasting the self-images and biographies and personal narratives of women born on ‘two sides’ of what for the Israeli women is the birth of their state, the story of their families — and for the Palestinians the ‘Nakba’, the ‘Catastrophe’, the great loss, their families dispersed, their sons in prison. It is a beautiful film also in its imagery and in the fact that only two in some ways very close languages are heard, Ivrit and Arabic, with constant subtitles. This is really at a profound and distinctly feminine level, the ‘two stories’.

      Students can watch the film and contrast the very different lives that have emerged, and in the view of the filmmaker, the remarkable blindness of the Israeli women to lives of their Palestinian peers, born that very same so fateful year.

  11. Neil McBeath October 28, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    I have left this late, but those who have contributed to this discussion might care to look at a paper I published some years ago.

    It is called English for Military Purposes in the Age of information technology, and it is available on the web.

    The paper raises a number of issues like, for example, the inconvenient fact that the Armed services tend to be those called on to clean up the mess after natural disasters such as the 2004 Boxing day Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and Cyclone Gonu in Oman.

    What nobody has mentioned, moreover, is the absolute joy that students from the Armed Forces can be when you are teaching them, and the satisfaction that a motivated teacher can get from seeing young men straight out of school becoming responsible adults and valued members of their society.

    I served as a mercenary Education Officer in the Royal Air Force of Oman fro m 1981-2005. I made friendships that endure to this day, despite the fact that many of my early students ended up outranking me, and others developed in ways that I would not have thought possible.

  12. Bill Templer October 29, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    Here an extraordinary article about young refugee children fleeing violence and war, arriving totally alone in Germany. Migrant children, arriving alone and frightened http://goo.gl/I26VcQ

    Students can discuss what they think it would be like if they were suddenly all alone, wandering in a forest trying to get to Western Europe or some other ‘safe place’ — or arriving as a migrant all alone, separated from family and friends, in a country whose language they don’t speak. Has the Afghan boy Reza whose ordeal is described managed to adjust? Where are his mother and father now? In such a situation, knowing basic English as a refugee from a war zone would initially come in very handy.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. War & Peace Issues Month 2015 | Global Issues SIG - October 1, 2015

    […] event will be run via our website, a special dedicated Facebook page, Pinterest and other platforms. Please check back with us […]

Leave a Reply