resources: remembrance

August 2017

With Remembrance Day coming up this coming Autumn term, we've been thinking about ways to introduce more schools to the white poppy's message of a commitment to peace.

ForcesWatch last year wrote a resource for teachers called 'Rethinking Remembrance Day in Schools', which explores how remembrance can be used to encourage critical thinking and foster a culture of peace, rather than sanitising, simplifying or even glorifying war. We received very positive feedback from teachers on this resource, and we would like to reach more with it this year.

With this new project, the Peace Pledge Union and ForcesWatch will work with local groups around the UK to provide schools with a White Poppies for Schools Pack. The pack includes 100 White Poppies in a display box, alongside an information pack with 10 White Poppy information leaflets and ten Rethinking Remembrance Day resources.

The Information Pack would be ideal for a teacher to leave in the staff room and announce in a staff meeting, and perhaps place a few of the White Poppy information leaflets on noticeboards or near the white poppies.

As small organisations we are unable to give these packs to schools for free - and many schools will not be able to purchase them themselves. So we're reaching out to local organisations or groups committed to peace, and campaigning against militarism and war, to purchase the packs and gift them to a nearby school.

With the presence of the military in public spaces increasing and a high level of popularity for the armed forces, it is not always easy to respond to challenging questions that people pose in when faced with concerns expressed about militarism. Here we explore some responses to questions about how much the armed forces should be involved in our everyday lives, how they relate to young people, and the effectiveness and consequences of military action.

This paper, published by ForcesWatch in 2016, explores ways in which teaching remembrance in schools can be used as a way of encouraging critical thinking about what and how we remember, and how this can be used to foster a culture of peace.

It discusses the importance of encouraging emotional engagement in the consequences of war and of avoiding euphemistic language that overly sanitises and simplifies its causes and consequences. The paper looks at educational opportunities in exploring the meaning of the white poppy as an alternative to the red poppy and alternatives to violent responses to conflict.

The paper includes some ideas for how to teach remembrance and provides links to education resources and background reading for use around remembrance and wider education for and about peace.

November 2016

The Peacemakers organisation, who provide peace education for schools, has produced a useful short summary of the basics of teaching controversial issues with a list of other resources on the subject.

More guidance and resources can be found at The Citizenship Foundation.

November 2015

A Remembrance Day assembly for use in schools from the Peace Education Network. The resource also comes as part of the Teach Peace education pack.

remembrance
2014

This educational resource investigates the diverse experiences of Australian school communities during the Great War. Each investigation uses primary and secondary sources to look at what students were learning about the British Empire, its Allies and enemies, the consequences on daily life at school, the values taught, the patriotic activities undertaken, the reasons why some students and teachers enlisted and responses to the loss or wounding of people from school communities.

Each investigation has ‘tuning in’ and ‘going further’ learning activities. Additional sources on the CD-ROM are also provided. 

November 2014

by David Aldridge, Principal Lecturer, Philosophy of Education, Oxford Brookes University

Abstract

Each year a national day of commemoration of the war dead is celebrated on 11th November in the United Kingdom. Despite public controversy about the nature and purpose of remembrance, there has been no significant discussion of the role schools should play in this event. In this centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War, with the government planning to send groups from every secondary school in Britain to tour the battlefields of the western front over the next four years, the question of how war should be remembered in schools is more pressing than ever.

In this bold and rigorous pamphlet, David Aldridge takes a hard look at the reasons usually advanced for involving children and young people in commemorating the war dead, and finds many of them wanting. He critically examines the high profile in schools of charities, like the Royal British Legion, with vested interests in certain kinds of commemoration. And he argues forcefully for a justification of remembrance in schools that requires a major rethink of established rituals and practices.

This is a compelling treatment of a topic high on the agenda of teachers and education policy-makers and will be an invaluable resource for anyone involved in planning centenary commemorative events for children and young people.

2012

by Ted Harrison

Reaktion Books

Every nation has its own way of remembering those killed in conflict. Each November Remembrance follows a seemingly unchanging pattern. Millions of people wear poppies, and at war memorials around the world a period of silence is observed. Today young people are taught that through Remembrance we thank those who have given their lives to defend liberty and freedom. But when poppy wearing began after the First World War it had rather a different purpose. The flowers of Flanders Field were worn in grief and as an expression of hope that war would never happen again.

white poppiesA range of materials, history and reflections about the white poppy and what is symbolises - remembering the dead and hope for a culture of peace. From the Peace Pledge Union.

2009

In this report, the think-tank Ekklesia, argue that Remembrance Day needs to be re-imagined to make it more inclusive, more truthful and more meaningful for future generations, says this report. This would include an honest acknowledgement that some did “die in vain”, an end to “selective remembrance”, a positive stress on peacemaking, and making Armistice Day a bank holiday.

The report follows the death of the 'last Tommy', Harry Patch from World War 1, who sadly described current patterns of Remembrance Day as “just show business”.