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Preparing for Peace

The website of the Westmorland General Meeting 'Preparing for Peace' initiative



Session One: Why are people willing to go to War?

 Learning Outcomes

        To identify the key issues as to why people go to war.

        To demonstrate an understanding of the distinctions between aggressiveness and aggressive action, 'pro-social' and 'anti-social' behaviour.

        To identify and discuss the contributors to, and factors in, human behaviour.


See Fact Sheet 1

The distinction between individual aggressiveness that can develop into aggressive behaviour, and the corporate act of war and communal aggression is discussed. The factors that lead one person to being more aggressive than another are also explored.

 Teaching and Learning Strategies

All teachers have to explore and develop their own strategies for teaching and learning. It is however, suggested that most sessions should include

        a theoretical element,

        a practical, active element

        a reflective and evaluative element

 Suggested Activities and Exercises

        In pairs discuss and write down what motivates you? Think of all the things that inspire you to 'get up and go' and also discuss the factors that de-motivate you.

        List your five key goals for the next five years of your life. Would you be prepared to fight for any of these goals?

        Understanding your own feelings of aggression is essential to any understanding of conflict and war. Either alone or in pairs discuss what makes you feel aggression and reflect upon the psychological and physiological changes that happen.

        According to Hinde, it is "only rarely that aggressiveness is the sole basis for aggressive actions" if this is the case, list the other factors that contribute to aggressive actions.

        Exercises to highlight the relationship between individual motivation and group motivation in relation to a goal. Simple games such as chain tag or two teams crossing an imaginary line.

        List the ways in which we are both 'pro-social' and 'anti-social' in our everyday lives.

 Fact sheet 1

 Scheme of work 1 Why are people willing to go to war?