Home   Education Programme Home

Preparing for Peace

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



Session Three: The Institution of War

 Learning Outcomes

        To identify and discuss the alternatives to war

        To identify and discuss the language of war and the institution of war

        To demonstrate an understanding of the terms Nationalism, Patriotism and Pacifism.

        To identify and discuss the ways we can educate for peace and prepare for peace.



See Fact Sheet 3

The roles that people play within wars are outlined, and the impact and aftermath of war upon communities. The alternatives to war are discussed as is the language and institutional element of war. The possibilities of peace education are raised and the ways in which countries culturally support peace or war highlighted.


 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 the process for preparing for peace or abolition of war, three goals are outlined. In small groups identify these goals and discuss whether or not these will be effective.

        In pairs discuss the ways in which military language has 'invaded' our language. Write down a list of the phrases we use that are militaristic in origin. Discuss the euphemisms used for the horrors of war.

        Divide the group into two and prepare a simple debate around the proposal:

"Violence on television, computer war games and children's toy soldiers and board games encourages children to trivialise the impact of war and encourages more violence". One group can propose the argument and the other oppose it.

        A formal debate (as in the previous exercise) only allows for two particular perspectives. However, in life there are usually many more. It might be fun to generate as many viewpoints as possible and explore the grey areas of the debate. Each person can be asked to present his or her own viewpoint.

        Should we prepare and educate for peace and if so how? Discuss either in groups or pairs.

        Reflect upon what you understand by propaganda, nationalism, patriotism and pacifism. Reflect upon the times in your life when you have experienced any of these feelings and discuss in what setting they occurred.

Fact sheet 3

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