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Addressing Radicalisation into the Classroom - A New Approach to Teacher and Pupil Learning


journal-of-education-and-trainingJournal abstract

This article examines one response to the UK Government’s directive that radicalisation and extremism should be tackled in all UK secondary schools. The small scale study is set in the broader literature of teaching often difficult Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) topics to young people in secondary school, and also the use of simulations as tools for learning in the classroom. It analyses the responses of teachers to being trained with, and using, ‘Zak’ a bespoke research-based simulation on the radicalisation process. An analysis of the teachers’ responses indicated recognition that the principles of adults manipulating children, whether for sexual gratification or radicalisation, are considered to be very important topics for staff working with young people in school settings to address. It was also recognised as a flexible learning tool enabling various pathways to be explored with young people in lessons, addressing the many aspects of e-safety, not just radicalisation. Additionally, the teachers remarked that the social media ‘Facebook’ format of the simulation was appreciated by the young people, and this appeal resulted in their immersion with it as a teaching aid. The comprehensive delivery of the ‘Zak’ package into schools was also significant. Staff reported that the inter-professional training delivered by specialist police trainers, and the accompanying materials, enhanced the learning and confidence of the teachers on this multi-faceted and complex topic.

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