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Newsthink

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Sharing opinions, analysing world events, and developing a critical understanding of the media are all things students get better at with regular practice.

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In the latest edition

 

Safety pin

A safety pinCan a safety pin help combat racist behaviour?

Invite anyone who knows more about the #SafetyPin campaign to summarise what it is about.

It was a social media idea to protest against hate crime and racist incidents.

Supporters wear a safety pin on their clothes to protest against insults and threats against migrants to the UK.

They show themselves publicly as someone that victims of racist abuse can turn to for support.

Invite first reactions. Who thinks that this is a good way to confront intolerance? Is it likely to be of practical help, or is it mostly symbolic?

Liverpool-born Krishnan Guru-Murthy, presenter of Channel 4 news, is opposed to the idea. One reason he gives is that “most people are not violent, abusive racists so you don't need to tell me you are normal - I assume that already.”

He also says he doesn’t want his kids to be conditioned to fear those who don't wear a symbol. Are young people sympathetic to this reasoning?

Explore more with our stigma and migration resource.

 

Toy or threat

A phone case shaped like a hand gunIt is possible to buy a phone case shaped like a hand gun.

Invite young people to share their initial thoughts.

Discuss what other people, especially those responsible for security, might think of a product like this.

Who thinks it would obviously be a jokey toy device? Can anyone see what might possibly go wrong?

Essex police this month tweeted that someone had been spotted at Stansted airport with such a product.

They included a photo of the case sticking out of someone’s jeans back pocket and the words, “You have a split second decision to make ... #WhatWouldYouDo.

Discuss this. If a police officer is not sure whether something is a toy or a potentially lethal threat, what might they do?

Talk about the special precautions needed in high security places such as airports. Ask young people to think about how they might behave differently in an airport to stay safe.

Identify actions that are normally no big deal, but that can cause a serious incident, such as leaving a rucksack on the floor while you go to the toilet. High alert means being aware of suspicious behaviour and also not creating it. What would help you personally to stay alert?

 

Choking theory and practice

Henry HeimlichA woman in a retirement home is choking at the dinner table. 

A fellow resident sitting next to her sees the urgency. She cannot breathe. Without help she might die. The man is 96 years old. Will he know what to do?

Before finding out, ask young people what they think the man should do.

What is the recommended action for dislodging food that is stuck in the throat?

A pat on the back for anyone who said back slapping. Hitting someone firmly on their back between the shoulder blades should dislodge the object. But that’s not what the man did.

The man used abdominal thrusts to expel a piece of meat caught in the 87-year-old woman’s throat. She began to breathe. Abdominal thrusts are also called the Heimlich manoeuvre, named after the chest doctor who invented them in the 1970s.

As it happened, this man was the very same Henry Heimlich. Although he’s demonstrated them many times, this was the first time he’d used the thrusts in real life.

Talk about lessons to be learned from this extraordinary story. Which matters most, knowing the theory and practising, real life experience or a combination?

Watch our choking video.

 

Previous editions

Yemen and famine

People lining up for food in Yemen© Info

Wars are caused by people. Famine is a natural disaster. Are those statements accurate? What if a war causes a famine? Could that happen?

Experts say the conflict in Yemen may push people into famine. The country is very poor. Around 90 per cent of its food comes from abroad. But blockades or direct damage have closed airports, ports and land routes. Food is very scarce.

Discuss the spirit and determination needed to keep positive in adversity. One humanitarian worker said that sometimes, when there is no shelling, life seems almost normal. Yet many people have moved from their homes, live with no electricity or water, and struggle to find food.

Discuss different ways that young children, parents and older people might be affected? What do the group think teenagers might miss most? Discuss how widely known the war in Yemen is. What would the group like to know more about? What would they like to ask someone affected by the conflict?


Home or hospital

Woman in wheelchair in hospital© Info

Imagine being in a hospital bed sharing a room with strangers. You’re staring at the ceiling, hearing the sounds, smelling the smells, noticing the ward routines happening around you. You are not feeling well or might even be in pain.

Now imagine being in hospital, but not being ill. Medically, you’re fit. But you can’t go home because there is nobody there to help or assist you. How might that feel? What phrase or expression might best capture the frustration, worry or anxiety?

Thousands of people, most of them elderly, are in this situation every year. If you were visiting someone waiting to be discharged from hospital, how might you help them feel a bit better? Many patients are concerned about returning home. They are not sure how they will manage. Would you listen to their worries, try to be positive and give advice? How easy would you find it to empathise?

Research suggests that if older people are inactive they can lose muscle strength, experience a reduction in their mobility and even their mental wellbeing. Discuss how this might affect their daily activities. Think about bathing, dressing, preparing food, cleaning, moving around and going to the toilet. Which would have the biggest impact on someone’s ability to look after themselves at home? What support do you think might be available to them?


Trapped by tides

Lifeboat launch© Info

A group of 34 teenagers and two adults had to be rescued from rocky cliffs in Dover when they were trapped by rising tides. The operation included a rescue helicopter and three lifeboats. How do you think the young people felt immediately afterwards?

How do we learn from experiences? How easy is it to identify mistakes and reduce the chance of them happening again?

Share experiences of being lost or in a situation where you needed help. Talk about the point at which you realise you don’t know where you are. Is it sudden, or a slow realisation? How would you respond? Some people increase speed and take shortcuts, some sit down and think. Identify the pros and cons. What else might you do?

The Coastguard Agency said the group were advised to use the lights from their phones to aid the search for them. Discuss other uses of a mobile phone in an emergency. Can young people easily access the torch function on their phone? Could they tap out the SOS signal on it? Is there an automatic emergency text function? How might young people use it?


Dignified burial

A community provides dignified burials for people who were killed by soldiers in 1982

Small wooden coffins shouldered by individuals are carried in procession down a mountainside in Quiquil, Guatemala. From first glance at the photograph, it might appear to show a recent natural disaster. But it isn’t.

Discuss with young people what might be happening. Then explain that the villagers are reburying family members who died during armed conflict decades ago. Their remains were recently discovered in unmarked mass graves.

Why are people desperately anxious to know what happened to their missing relatives? What words might describe the uncertainty, the strain of waiting for news that never comes?

Have young people any examples from their own experience of times when waiting was worse than knowing? How did they manage their emotions?

Around 80 people died when Quiquil was attacked on 28 June 1982. It took 33 years before the villagers could provide them a dignified burial. What might have been the mood on that day? How might it feel to now be able to bury their relatives with dignity?

Discuss how people can support each other, even through very long and difficult times.


Volcano eruption

Volcano Mount Ruapehu

Tourists and hikers have been advised not to visit Mount Ruapehu, the New Zealand mountain made famous in the movies of the Lord of the Rings.

Is this because: 

  1. they’re filming a sequel
  2. too many Hobbit fans are wearing away the mountain 
  3. it may be about to erupt?

Full marks to those who answered c). Mount Ruapehu is an active volcano that last erupted in 2007. Experts say temperatures have risen dramatically, and the eruption alert has been raised. If you were planning a trip there, how would you respond? Where would you look for further information?

Molten lava is the best-known hazard from volcanoes. Can young people name others? Rock falls or landslides are very destructive across large distances. Volcanic gases can spread harmful chemicals. How can a visitor assess the risks?

What can young people remember, or research, about the main impact of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Iceland in 2010? What was the response? What was the impact on people? How was the situation managed?


Suspect package alert

Exit sign

You go to the toilets in the stadium before a big sporting event. In one of the cubicles, there’s an unusual package. That’s odd, you think. But what do you do?

One option is to do nothing, leave it to someone else. Or you could tell someone—your friends, or just anyone around who seems sympathetic. Or you could tell someone in authority. Who, and where would you find them? Why might it be important to tell someone?

Discuss what happened at Old Trafford during the end-of-season football game between Manchester United and Bournemouth. A suspect package was reported. As a result, 70,000 fans were excavated from the ground and the match postponed. Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion.

Discuss the emotions of others involved that day. As well as the people who reported the package, think of the officials who took the decision to evacuate, the staff who organised the evacuation and the experts who made the device safe. What would help them stay calm and focused — their personality and the way they manage situations or any training they may have had? What strategies could young people use to stay calm in a stressful situation? How would they support or reassure one another?



After an earthquake

A sign reading 'Please help us!' is displayed while children play outside their makeshift tents in rice fields in the Philippines

Children play, hours after a destructive earthquake. What do students want to know?

Read the activities >

Build resilience

School students taking part in a workshop

Students and teachers together reflect, explore and experiment with responses to some form of crisis.

Try the quick activities >

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