UNESCO’s Teacher Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism just released, provides practical tips to educators seeking guidance on how to discuss the subject in classrooms.
The Guide was developed within the framework of UNESCO’s work on Global Citizenship Education and in response to the request of UNESCO’s Member States for assistance in strengthening their education sector responses to violent extremism. It seeks to help teachers to create a classroom climate that is inclusive, and conducive to respectful dialogue, open discussion and critical thinking. The publication also recommends resources to develop a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of violent extremism and responds to frequently asked questions.
Whether discussions on violent extremism are pre-planned or not, a well-managed conversation on the subject should seek to reinforce skills that enable learners to participate more generally in civic life as informed global citizens. This implies ensuring that the information exchanged during the discussion, as well as the way the debate is handled, develop skills, attitudes and behaviours that foster mutual respect, critical thinking and a sense of belonging to a common humanity.
The Guide will be complemented by a second guidance document, to be released in September 2016, targeting policy-makers within ministries of education. This tool will provide a set of resources that can help reinforce national capacities to address the drivers of violent extremism through holistic and pragmatic education sector-wide responses.
The publication was peer reviewed by a host of international experts in the field of education, as well as Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) schools and students of the Teachers College of Columbia University.
The Guide will be translated initially into French and then other languages. It will also be used as a basis for capacity building workshops on the prevention of violent extremism through education.
This Guide constitutes UNESCO’s first contribution to the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, announced in January 2016.