Getting children to care about Syria

Clio et cetera

When faced with suffering, it is a very natural thing to respond with a range of emotions. Children might lack emotional maturity (whatever that means), but they too have emotional responses: sadness, anger, helplessness, frustration and pity.

In schools, we are faced with these responses a great deal, and indeed we might seek to inspire them. When we run an assembly on the Rwandan genocide, we do not want our pupils to treat this simply as a matter of propositional knowledge: we want them to feel something about it.

It is, then, perhaps part of our role to expose children to things that will lead to an emotional response. Yet these are the very moments in which we can lead children into a simplistic and naïve view of the world. I remember taking some children to Sachsenhausen and hearing a teacher from another school tell some of her pupils to…

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