11.1 The students’ viewing of the GOT 2 DVD and the subsequent discussion of issues such as propaganda, violent and non-violent extremism and freedom of speech appear to have created a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the concepts of extremism. At the same time the programme has given students a new confidence in dealing with extremism and considering how they might counter potential approaches from extremists.
11.2 The discussion of the main messages stemming from the DVD gave students the
opportunity to argue and explore issues and hence broaden and deepen their understanding of their rights and responsibilities and the consequences of their actions in a democratic society.
11.3 The debates and the discussions in the classrooms of the five institutions in which the students viewed the DVD appear to have changed the culture of social interaction between the students themselves and between the students and their teachers. New perspectives have been brought to bear and new frameworks have been established in which to consider and understand these complex and difficult issues. Moreover, signposts have been erected and markers put down in terms of what is appropriate behaviour and action for students, teachers, parents and community leaders.
11.4 The following responses from students provide some graphic insights into their perception of how the GOT 2 experience has shaped and modified their attitudes and
‘I think I will be more wary about people with extreme views and who make jokes about extremism and terrorism.’
‘I’d approach protests I may come across in a more open mind. I’ve also come to appreciate that extremists don’t necessarily become so by themselves, and extremism isn’t lifelong.’
‘I don’t think my actions and behaviour will change, but what has changed is my
understanding of extremism.’
‘I can now try and help people if I know they are getting involved in extremism
‘I think my behaviour will improve and it has changed my way of viewing people.’
‘It has helped me to understand the extent and effects of discrimination and extremism, they lead to oppression and so on. It is something that needs to be addressed.’
‘The DVD reminded me not to be naïve as often people do not have good intentions even if they appear to be helping me.’
‘I am able to view both sides of extremism and realise there is no need for it. But I
also understand why it goes on.’
11.5 The comments, perspectives, insights and analysis of the students in the two focus
groups and the responses to the questionnaire bear witness to the educational journey the students have experienced in challenging extremism. The impact of the GOT 2 DVD and subsequent discussions on the vast majority of students appears to have been quite profound; the comments below illustrate some of the key impacts:
‘Biggest impact it had on me was the amount of lives which can be changed in one action. Forever.’
‘The lack of guilt and remorse that some extremists feel about the consequences their actions have on people.’
‘How easily young people can turn to extremism, and the drastic effect this has on their life. Also the ease in which dangerous extremist organisations can slip under the radar, even unnoticed by close friends.’
‘How extremism is sometimes for a good cause.’
‘The fact that people are persuaded into joining these groups.’
‘The quote the Muslim said in the Mosque, “They are not a true Muslim if they use violence”. It made me think that the media dramatise the Muslims in terrorism and that not all Muslims are bad.’
‘Learning about groomers – that there are people trying to get you to join extremist groups.’
SECTION C: MAIN FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Overall impact of the programme
13.1 It is clear that the experience of the GOT 2 project was successful in raising the awareness and understanding of the students and had a considerable effect on their
thinking. In particular:
The GOT 2 DVD gave the students a clearer and deeper understanding of extremism and clarified that there were a range of extremist platforms or causes, about most of which they previously had varying degrees of familiarity.
The DVD and the subsequent discussions gave the students an insight into how easily people tend to stereotype particular groups.
The programme helped students gain a better understanding of the impact that propaganda can have on individuals (and groups) and how difficult some individuals find it to resist propaganda and grooming.
The majority of students involved in the five institutions realised that the right to free speech was a qualified right in contemporary society.
The programme gave the students an appreciation that there can be violent and non-violent ways of promoting a cause, campaign or programme.
The DVD was valuable and exposed students for the first time to difficult issues such as the broad spectrum of extremism, the meaning and impact of propaganda, the right of free speech, and violent and non-violent promotion of causes.
The programme as a whole resulted in the students realising that they needed to take all aspects of an issue or argument into account and think matters through clearly for themselves before coming to a conclusion.
The programme had therefore given them more resilience in terms of being able to withstand pressure to become involved in extremist activities.
14.1 The GOT 2 programme (the DVD and the programme manual) should be endorsed
by the Cardiff Local Authority and strongly recommended for dissemination to all
secondary schools and 16–19 colleges in Cardiff.
14.2 If the programme is to be disseminated to other secondary schools and to colleges in
Cardiff, consideration needs to be given to recasting the three model lessons into five
or six lessons. Consideration should also be given to whether some of the additional
curriculum materials generated by those in the evaluation study might be incorporated into the programme.
14.3 When schools are delivering the programme, they should consider carefully how it
can be integrated into existing areas of the curriculum, for example through PSE or
aspects of the Welsh Baccalaureate, rather than introducing it as a stand-alone programme.
14.4 All staff to be used in delivering the programme should be carefully trained before
they start to deliver it to students in schools and colleges. The pilot study has put
down a marker that 1.5 to 2 days of training would be appropriate.
14.5 Careful consideration should be given to the staff to be used to deliver the programme; given the sensitivity of the issues being covered, the staff need to be confident and comfortable in leading a discussion of the issues with the students. Moreover, it is essential that the students see that a senior member of staff within the school/college is leading the delivery of the programme, thus ensuring that the students understand that it is dealing with an issue which is taken seriously by the school/college.
14.6 A brief should be prepared for the Minister of Education and Skills in Wales outlining
the benefits for young people from being involved in the GOT 2 programme, with the
recommendation that all secondary schools in Wales should be invited to join the GOT 2 project with the provision that they would use the GOT 2 DVD and the programme manual and that all teachers identified to teach the programme would be trained by experienced GOT trainers.