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Cotton Wool Society?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by lowercase, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Personally, I would have loved doing this for an assignment. It would be highly interesting, make me think laterally and logically and it's completely different.

    Obviously, it's a touchy subject.... Would you be opposed to doing this assignment as a learning process or would you be happy to do so?


  2. When terrorist hysteria was at its peak, I often pondered something similar as I went about my daily business ie. if I were a terrorist how would I cause as much disruption as possible with the least effort?

    I won't share my answers.
  3. No, please don't share your answers on here. Basically just if you would be opposed to this or agree with this teaching method?
  4. with all the drop kicks society seems to now be plagued with, i don't think it's a great idea.....for a well balanced individual i don't see a problem with it, it's like violence in computer games/tv/novels, i don't believe it effects them, problem to me is there seems like there like there is a growing groups of nutters that then go and make it a reality or can't tell the difference between the to...

    But i do agree i think it's a novel way to try and engage students in current affairs
  5. I think it was a good idea in theory but perhaps a little flawed in the application.

    As a student, would I have done the assignment? Yes probably.
  6. Personally I think it's a good assignment. Uncomfortable topics make for excellent learning.

    At the start of the first Gulf War I was doing a part-time History Politics degree at Monash. At the time we were doing a subject called "Societies in Transition" looking at conflicts and their causes. Saddam had just invaded Kuwait so it became an interesting topic.

    The lecturer was ex military (and certainly had intelligence connections as well).

    One thing we did was a very interesting role play - it was a relatively small class and everyone got assigned a character - US President, Saddam, Khomeni, US and Australian PMs etc. and were told to research and come back with the optimum course of action for that character.

    Given the wide range of students (all mature age) and their political views it was interesting that the war played out pretty much as we wrote it. People were very uncomfortable about it - especially since the assignment of roles was done directly contrary to peoples politics.

    In this case in WA though it was a bad idea since there was a family who had connections to someone lost in the Bali bombings - for that reason, and only for that reason, it was probably a little insensitive.
  7. Agreed. I can understand why people didn't like it, but in my opinion that's due more to.... bah, can't quite think of the right words. Along the lines of insecurities. Sort of.

    The government (most governments, world-wide, even) probably pays people to do that sort of thing, so that they can figure out ways to deal the situations if they arise. So there's nothing inherently wrong in theorising on what would be the most effective way to carry out an attack, its just a psychologically challenging thought exercise.

    The hippy in me is very supportive of the idea :p.
  8. My view aligns almost perfectly with TonyE's.

    I agree that the Bali connection made it dubious for this particular class, but, in principle, I do not believe that subjects should be avoided, just because they are uncomfortable. It's role play, not incitement.
  9. Hit the nail on the head.
  10. I agree wiv wot TonyE and PatB sez.
  11. This is exactly what an anthropologist is expected to do...

    I'm doing a terrorism unit this semester at uni and a large part of the course is focused on looking at motives and justifications.

    This might be in ill taste but I have to agree with the teachers motivations for this assignment.
  12. "I have no interest in knowing how a terrorist is feeling when they're killing thousands of innocent people," ...the most terrrifying aspect of that article.
  13. I agree, it's certainly appropriate for someone studying this at Uni or during their training in the ADF.

    However, I have grave concerns about this for high school students.

    If I was a Yr10 student and asked to do this, I most definitely wouldn't. As the parent of a Yr9 student I would be horrified if my son was asked to role play or write an assignment of this nature.

    Why? Because my eldest son is in the Army and will be deployed to Afganistan when he finishes his training. I don't really need his little brother thinking about the different ways he might be killed.
  14. I kind of disagree with you b12mick. I think if kids these days are having sex before they're 14, smoking, doing drugs, have access to the internet and serious news stories - they should be able to do an assignment like this. It gives them more responsibility, more creative thinking and allows them to see other aspects of the world, different view points etc.
  15. This crossed my mind too. Better that the exercise takes place in the (hopefully) controlled situation of the classroom than between vulnerable teenagers and Dog alone knows what nutter on the internet, to take a potentially extreme case.

    That said, I do sympathise with Mick's situation, but I'm reluctant to condone avoiding subjects for the majority for the sake of the feelings of a minority. How to balance the interests of all, though, is a problem which has taxed more poweful intellects than mine.

    Yes, now you mention it, that is a bit worrying. Then again, I believed all sorts of rubbish when I was 15 too, so I can't be too judgemental.
  16. What the f**k does have sex, drugs and internet access have to do with planning a terrorist attack? Last time I checked having underage sex didn't actually kill anyone, taking drugs didn't lead to hundreds of innocent bystanders dying.

    Please explain to me how it teaches them responsibility. It doesn't, it does how ever teach them how to plan a terrorist attack.

    There are better ways to teach someone about other aspects of the world and other peoples view without having them effectively planning a terrorist attack.

    Another question, have these kids had a psychological profile done before they research planning a terrorist attack? The rate of teenage depression and mental illness is on the rise, this is all some kids would need to act out for real.

    Please, don't get me wrong, I agree that terrorism needs to be discussed. The reasons as to why it happens etc etc. But to actually have the kids plan an attack, sorry that is a step too far.
  17. I think it's probably seemed a good idea, and as far as I'm concerned it is. But it was never going to fly in the general population...

    b12 you said that
    so what makes that small segment of the population different?

    Don't the general population need to understand these things? My eldest is 15 and I think kids here defiantly need to learn where these people are coming from.

    Interestingly the Islamist's seem to have changed the target with terrorism the IRA etc were never really interested in killing large numbers of people just causing as much disturbance as possible with fewest casualties...
  18. What makes them different is that a University student is studying as part of a larger but related subject and the ADF do it to enable them to anticipate an attack and how to counter an attack. Plus the fact University students are supposed to be mature adults not immature teenagers.

    You seemed to have missed the part where I agreed that terrorism should be discussed in high school, I don't have a problem with that. I do have a problem with them actually planning a terrorist attack.

    Or do you think it's alright for your child to study how to do this? How about, as an extension to this assigment we get them to plan a home invasion, or a sexual assault? Would you be comfortable with that?
  19. A home invasion, or sexual assault are very different actions and their motives come from a very different place to the reasons behind terrorism...

    When I was at college one of the things I learnt with affected/stuck with me was a discussion in Social Studies about the design changes napalm went though in order to make it the effective weapon it became, and that some seemingly normal bloke had to come up with a way to make what is a terrible weapon more effective.

    Educations aim is to educate and if it's only done at a higher education level, the frankly abysmal level of understanding of these issues shown by the general public is only going to continue...
  20. When you were at college I assume you weren't a 15yr old kid?

    Wasn't the teachers reason for having the students plan an attack to get them to understand the motives? If so, what better way to get a kid to understand the motives of a criminal than to plan a criminal act?

    I'll say it again. I have no problem with kids learning about terrorism. The cause and effect, the history, the motiviations. You do not have to have them actually plan an attack to do this.