Cover image: Critical thinking through creative learning

Critical thinking through creative learning

Owen Everett, Peace Education Officer at CND, outlines how their Peace Education programme empowers young people to think critically about nuclear weapons, peace and security issues. Was President Truman justified in ordering the atomic-bombing of Japan? What would you do if you were a world leader during a nuclear weapons crisis? What are pressure groups, and what would yours focus on? Peace EducationCND Peace Education – the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s education programme – engages thousands of school students across England with such questions each year. We offer free, cross-curricular workshops and an assembly, catering to Years 3 to 13. We also have five free teaching packs, thousands of which are downloaded or requested as hard copies annually. We aim to empower students with knowledge on the hugely important and controversial issues of nuclear weapons and peace, so they can make up their own mind. Our work is particularly relevant now, given the tensions between many of the countries with nuclear weapons. We encourage critical thinking, through creative and collaborative learning methods such as role-play, group presentations, debates, and origami. Our workshops include:
  • The Bomb Factor: Inspired by the X-Factor, small groups create pro- or anti-nuclear weapons sketches/poems/songs/raps/presentations and perform them to a panel of student judges. See it in action here.
  • Truman On Trial: A mock criminal trial in which students take on the roles of barristers, witnesses and jurors to decide whether the atomic-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified.
  • War Game: Students put themselves in the shoes of world leaders during a nuclear weapons crisis. The education pack it comes from received a fantastic review in Teach Secondary magazine.
Our sessions and teaching packs are very relevant to the curriculum and exam syllabi of numerous subjects, including: English, RE, History, Citizenship and Physics, as well as helping to meet SMSC and Prevent requirements. We can tailor the sessions to different ability levels. We also offer free CPD training sessions to new and established teachers alike, on how best to explore controversial issues in the classroom. Highly regarded CND Peace Education is charitably-funded by the Nuclear Education Trust, and is impartial; we simply build their knowledge and encourage discussion and debate. The vast majority of students, their teachers, and trainee teachers rate our sessions as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ good, and say they’d like us to deliver another. Recent feedback includes:
Fun, interesting and engaging. The best kind of session. Year 10 student, Hamble School (Southampton) I enjoyed it lots… It couldn’t be any better - Year 9 student, Rainhill High School (Merseyside) There was a buzz about the ‘Bomb Factor... Staff and students were impressed by the informative but balanced views’ - RE teacher, Sturminster Newton High School (Dorset) Very informative and impartial… perfect - PGCE English teacher, Goldsmiths University
So far, three of our packs have ‘TES Picks’ status, two have been awarded the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) Quality Mark, and one was a finalist in the Education Resources Awards 2018. Book us for your school, and get our resources! Book us for a free student or CPD session at your school, browse/download our free teaching packs, or find out more, here.