Published in July 2018.
This module is a resource for lecturers
Exercises and case studies
This section contains suggestions for in-class or pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.
The exercises in this section are most appropriate for classes of up to 50 students, where students can be easily organized into small groups in which they discuss cases or conduct activities before group representatives provide feedback to the entire class. Although it is possible to have the same small group structure in large classes comprising a few hundred students, it is more challenging and the lecturer might wish to adapt the facilitation techniques to ensure sufficient time for group discussions as well as providing feedback to the entire class. The easiest way to deal with the requirement for small group discussion in a large class is to ask students to discuss the issues with the four or five students sitting close to them. Given time limitations, not all groups will be able to provide feedback in each exercise. It is recommended that the lecturer makes random selections and tries to ensure that all groups get the opportunity to provide feedback at least once during the session. If time permits, the lecturer could facilitate a discussion in plenary after each group has provided feedback.
All exercises in this section are appropriate for both graduate and undergraduate students. However, as students' prior knowledge and exposure to these issues varies widely, decisions about appropriateness of exercises should be based on their educational and social context.
Exercise 1: An introduction to preventing violent extremism
Watch the first video and at least one of the other videos.
- OSCE, " We Can Prevent, We Can Counter" (23 June 2016).
- Council of Europe, " Podcast: Professor Tahir Abbas - The making of a Jihadi terrorist" (1 July 2015).
- Council of Europe, " Interview with Vivian Geiran; Guidelines to prevent radicalisation in prisons" (12 February 2016).
Then put the class, depending on numbers, into smaller groups to discuss some of the issues raised:
- Compare and contrast the different narratives in at least two of the videos.
- What issues really stuck out for students?
- Based on the topics discussed, which approach(es) do students believe to be the most effective in dealing with the spread of violent extremism?
Exercise 2: Gallery walk (see Teaching Guide)
Create, e.g., 3 - 5 stances (depending upon class size), each with one of the primary drivers of extremism around which the United Nations Secretary-General's VE Agenda 2015 is framed:
(1) Lack of socioeconomic opportunities
(2) Marginalization and discrimination
(3) Poor governance, violations of human rights and the rule of law
(4) Prolonged and unresolved conflicts
(5) Prison radicalization
Ask each stance to examine two questions from the perspective of the particular driver it identifies (e.g., lack of socioeconomic opportunities):
- Identify some specific examples of factors relevant to this driver of violent extremism.
- What are some of the principal ways in which this driver of violent extremism may be countered?
Case study 1: Returning foreign terrorist fighter
A female national from your country was known to have travelled to the conflict zones. Intelligence gained from her social media accounts and Internet footprint reveal that she is married to a terrorist fighter, but there is no evidence suggesting she has been directly involved in terrorist activities or fighting of any kind. Interviews with close family have cleared them of any involvement and the general view from them was of 'shock and dismay' that an intelligent, well-intentioned and warm young woman with a bright future could take such a path.
Less than one year ago, the girl gave birth to the couples' first child, and she is currently three months pregnant with the second child. The husband posted pictures on a social media channel entitled "new cub of the armed struggle" with their new born son next to an automatic weapon.
Recently, it was confirmed that the woman's husband, and father to the two children had been killed in fighting. The woman has since re-established contact with her family and has said that she wants to "come home" and that she was "trapped before" and that she "couldn't escape, was so scared but there was no way out". She stated that she saw women who had tried to escape being killed. She expressed that she is willing to talk to authorities.
The questions below are provided as a guide to assist in designing and/or implementing PVE/CVE strategies and plans when considering the appropriate response to the above scenario:
- What is the status of the two children in terms of their nationality?
- What options are there for their return?
- If she returns, how will you know?
- Will this differ depending on her mode of transport?
- What will happen immediately when she arrives?
- Will the young child be taken into protective custody?
- What offences might the woman have committed?
- What resourcing or support will need to be put in place?
- Who needs to know immediately of her return? Who else must eventually know?
Case study 2
A girl who became radicalized via online contact with a terrorist recruiter is stopped by authorities at a border near a zone of known terrorist activity, and is returned to her country of origin. Some of the 'push' factors included abusive family members to whom she did not wish to return.
- How should authorities approach the girls return to her country of origin?
- What type of measures should be put in place to support her and her family (e.g. finding alternative accommodation, special arrangements enabling communication and in-person meetings with close family and friends, keeping arrangements secret from the abusive family members)
- What factors should authorities take into consideration in making decisions in this situation?
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