About Extreme Dialogue 3
Extreme Dialogue Resources 5
Extreme Dialogue Films 7
Delivery Guidelines 8
Feedback and Evaluation 12
Additional Guidance 13
Extreme Dialogue is a unique series of short films and education resources featuring
the stories of real people impacted by violent extremism from across the ideological
spectrum. It was launched in Calgary in February 2015, and will be expanding into Europe
in 2016 with further films and resources becoming available using stories from the
UK, Germany and Hungary. All films and resources are freely available online on the
project website in English. Resources are also available in French, German and Hungarian
and the films are accessible in British Sign Language (BSL) on request. Please email
us for further information.
Funded by Public Safety Canada via the Kanishka Project and the European Commission,
Directorate-General for Home Affairs, the project has brought together the Institute
for Strategic Dialogue, film-makers Duckrabbit, and the educational charity Tim
Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Extreme Dialogue’s expansion into Europe is
supported by project partners West London Initiative in the UK, Cultures Interactive in
Germany and Political Capital in Hungary.
We realise that extremism is a highly complex subject. It gets huge attention in the
press. And we know from experience that teachers, youth workers and parents can be
nervous talking about issues as sensitive as extremism. The films and education resources
therefore provide tools for teachers, youth and community workers, and others
working with young people to open up vital discussions around extremism with
young people in a safe and structured way.
These conversations are already happening among young people, both online
and offline, but they are often peer-to-peer and take place without a responsible
or knowledgeable adult present.
It is impossible to completely shield young people from exposure to extremist
messages, images and videos, whether online or in the media.
Extreme Dialogue therefore aims to build resilience and help young people develop
critical thinking skills so that when they do encounter violent extremist propaganda
they understand the origins and intent of such content, and are better positioned to
make positive rather than destructive life-choices. It is vital that we equip them with the
skills and knowledge they need to critically assess this content for themselves, and
don’t discourage debate around controversial or sensitive issues.
Extreme Dialogue is not intended to de-radicalise someone who already holds extreme
views. We realise that short films and classroom sessions are unlikely to turn
someone already headed down this path around. The project is instead about prevention,
getting in there early before extremist messages do, in the same way that we educate
young people on other safeguarding issues such as alcohol, sex, drugs, domestic
violence or FGM. Our aim is to support you in protecting those under your duty of care
Our films and resources are geared towards teaching young people how to be
fair-minded thinkers who can process information in a flexible and impartial
way. This can protect them against the rigid, black and white narratives that
characterise the ideologies and narratives of extremist groups.
Our films and resources support young people in exploring attitudes and experiences
that are different to what they are familiar with. This builds empathy and
tolerance for different perspectives, as well as encourages the exploration of
shared values, to strengthen resilience to the pull of divisive extremist ideologies.
Creating a safe space for open conversation about difficult issues is crucial. If a
pupil feels like their curiosity about something complex is not properly fulfilled
they may go elsewhere for information which could be inaccurate or dangerous.
Extreme Dialogue enables you to create a safe and structured space for dialogue,
so that you can support students in discussing these issues.
We encourage an ‘honest realism’ approach when facilitating such dialogue on
difficult subjects. Frank discussion on current affairs, such as a recent terrorist
attack, will allow pupils to understand fact from fiction and how these events
have an impact on both themselves and the world around them.
The stories of our film subjects provide a basic knowledge of various extreme
ideologies, from the far-right to Islamism. This will give you and your pupils the
understanding needed to be aware of extremist movements and how they operate,
without needing expert knowledge of the topic.
Developing digital literacy in young people is the key to protecting them from
becoming susceptible to the kinds of social media propaganda used by extremist
groups online, including their use of conspiracy theories to consolidate their narratives.
Our exercises encourage young people to consider different types of
propaganda, so as to discern what information comes from legitimate sources.
This will allow pupils to judge what information to trust, for example in the media,
and what information to take with a pinch of salt or disregard altogether.
Following on from the focus on digital literacy techniques, our resources are
geared towards teaching pupils how to recognise and challenge the myths and
misconceptions they will come across in everyday life, including conspiracy theories
and extremist narratives. Extremist narratives may contain kernels of truth,
but it is important to point out how they manipulate these truths to create division.
This will ensure a degree of resilience towards extremist materials, as well
as a broader competency in resource literacy and knowing where to find trustworthy
In addition to building resilience against extremism in young people, Extreme
Dialogue aims to support the professional development of teachers and others
working with young people in this context. The lesson plan format of the resources
guides teachers in facilitating dialogue on difficult topics through a familiar
structure without needing expert knowledge. The goal here is to build and
enhance the confidence of those dealing with these issues in the classroom.
Extreme Dialogue also aims to improve the safeguarding abilities of teachers
and others working with young people. By covering topics such as radicalisation
processes, the films and resources are intended to increase the knowledge and
confidence that teachers and others working with youth need to be able to effectively
protect those under their duty of care from harm.
EXTREME DIALOGUE RESOURCES
The educational resources each contain up to four hours of structured classroom exercises
and group activities. They are built around the films and housed in the Prezi
presentations on the “Resources” pages on www.extremedialogue.org. The presentations
are accompanied by comprehensive “resource packs” which are also available on
the project website. The Prezis and accompanying resource packs work by chronologically
providing a series of activities and group exercises, images, audio quotes and additional
interview films (for the Canadian stories) to compliment the films.
WHO IS THE RESOURCE PACK FOR?
This resource pack is aimed primarily at young people aged 14-18 years in educational
settings (both formal, such as schools, and informal, such as youth groups or community
settings). It could however also be used with audiences a little older or perhaps
even a little younger depending on their maturity levels, group size and levels of support.
“I hear, and I forget; I see, and I remember; I do, and I understand”.
Exercises and activities involve active participation and are intended to create a twoway,
exploratory environment to maximise learning from the wider group and encourage
openness, discussion and cooperation. We have avoided providing single or
limiting solutions and responses so as to encourage open expression and engagement
through participants’ contributions and responses.
“Ask don’t tell” – We want young people to come up with their own responses and encourage
them to think for themselves so that if or when they come across extremist
content or ideas they are prepared to evaluate independently and effectively. We have
found this approach to be particularly successful when working across mixed groups
and on topics that can be considered difficult to engage with.
What do the resources aim to do?
The resources aim to develop young people’s educational, psychological and social
understanding of violent extremism by:
Increasing young people’s knowledge and understanding of violent extremism
and its roots, including ideologies;
Challenging myths and misconceptions held around individuals and groups;
Increasing contact with individuals and stories ‘behind the headlines’, building
empathy and association and encouraging the exploration of shared values;
Evaluating why individuals become motivated to join extreme groups and
Analysing the consequences and effects of violent extremism;
Developing the skills to think and assess content critically both online and
Considering how young people can be involved in influencing and affecting
HOW DOES IT ACHIEVE THESE CLAIMS?
Through the following types of exercises and activities:
Questioning and explorations – to enhance participants’ own emotional literacy
and responses to content, and to share different perspectives and viewpoints.
‘Counter-narrative’ exercises – setting the record straight (e.g. ‘Daniel thought
this – the truth is…’).
Problem solving – exercises to be delivered or carried out in large or small
groups. These are included to encourage participants to think about doing things
differently, entertaining new possibilities and exploring alternatives.
Moral reasoning – scenarios and situations to encourage critical thinking and
the consideration of what makes up our own core values and shared beliefs.
Choices and consequences – the impact of actions and decisions, including
considering the impact on victims.
‘Get Involved’ – what can you do? Exercises to explore the next steps for individuals
and communities and consider practical steps to achieving positive change.
EXTREME DIALOGUE FILMS
Young people today can easily recognise spin and stage-managed content. Extreme Dialogue
therefore uses stories of real people impacted personally by violent extremism.
The integrity and authenticity of our film subjects is central to Extreme Dialogue.
People are complex and shouldn’t be presented as simply one-dimensional ‘victims’ or
‘extremists’ so the films are raw and unscripted. Film subjects are simply asked to tell
their own story in their own words.
In the same way that extremist propaganda makes an engaging, emotional appeal to
young people, the Extreme Dialogue films are intended to evoke an emotional response
and raise as many questions as they provide answers. The main films are therefore
designed to be engaging, create interest in the subject matter, and act as a
starting point for discussion. Various issues surrounding extremism (including warning
signs, recruitment, propaganda, ideological constructions, de-radicalisation, violence
and the impact of extremism on relationships, family, the community and society) are
then explored in more depth within the educational resources. There are also three additional
interview films for each Canadian film subject that provides additional depth to
For older pupils or university students the films can be used without the resources to
spark discussion or to supplement learning on the topics they cover. The films have
been used in a variety of alternative contexts, including in a day long workshop on extremism
at the Highcrest Academy, UK, as well as in PhD tutorials in Canadian universities
to supplement literature on radicalisation. The films have also been used as training
aides for education practitioners and other frontline workers, in addition to with older
students in a peer to peer context.
Resource Delivery Guidelines
Each complete resource contains up to 3.5-4.5 hours of content, activities and exercises.
It is recommended that all sessions and sections of the Prezis and resource
packs are undertaken with groups in full in order to maximise the learning possibilities
We do however recognise that this may not always be appropriate in certain contexts or
with certain groups or even possible where there are constraints on time. The resources
have therefore been designed in self-contained modules to enable flexible
but safe navigation through them. This provides facilitators with the option of teaching
a module a week over the course of a fixed term if this fits better with the curriculum in
a school environment. However, please do not cut and paste resources or create separate
versions. The resources have been created by educational specialists with safety in
mind and changing them creates the danger of a lack of context.
Similarly the timings given for each activity or exercise are intended as guidelines only
and some facilitators may wish to shorten or extend the open discussions or other as-
pects of the activities and exercises depending on the context, group or time constraints.
Extreme Dialogue’s resources are used in a variety of curriculum friendly contexts.
Our pilot project in the Foundations for the Future Charter Academy in Calgary used
Daniel’s Story across the course of a term, with an hour per week in the social studies
lessons of grades 9-12. Cranford Community College, London, is currently using both
stories in their year 10 PSHE classes for an hour every week. The films and resources
are ultimately structured to provide flexibility that enables facilitators to adjust their delivery
in line with their needs.
Film Delivery Guidelines
The facilitator should have assessed the suitability of the film(s) by viewing
them in advance, and should be familiar with the content.
The Extreme Dialogue films should always be properly introduced with either
the safety slides in the Prezis or a similar briefing. Providing a trigger warning is
crucial in case there might be parallels between the life experiences of any pupils
and the content of the films.
Do not describe or outline the content of each story in detail beforehand. Instead
allow the film subjects to tell their own stories.
Allow some time immediately after the film finishes for students or participants
to absorb the story and reflect on it (approximately 30 seconds or until
they begin to talk amongst themselves).
Do not show individual clips or parts of films. The full 5-10 minute versions of
the films should always be shown in their entirety on first viewing to provide sufficient
The versions of the films in the Prezis have had any expletives removed. However
there are uncensored versions on YouTube should a facilitator decide (depending
on the particular group and the age of participants) to use them.
The Canadian interview films have distinct shorter segments signposted on
YouTube in each video description. These segments can be used independently
to highlight a particular issue (warning signs, recruitment, propaganda, ideologi-
cal constructions, impact on relationships and family, de-radicalisation, and violence)
but again these should be introduced using the framework provided for
that film in the resource packs.
Session Delivery Guidelines
The facilitator should have reviewed and be familiar with all aspects of the films,
presentations and resource packs that they plan to use prior to delivering the session.
Any extra materials required should be prepared in advance and AV equipment
and technology should be tested to ensure smooth delivery of the session. This is especially
important for shorter sessions where any lost time will impact upon the effective
and safe delivery of the films and resources. If you do experience any technical difficulties
with the films or resources then do not hesitate to contact us.
Consideration should be given to the best way to organise the space in which the session
will take place if the layout is flexible. Depending on the format of the session and
the planned activities and exercises, different layouts may prove more effective than
others (theatre style, small clusters of tables and chairs, circular or semi-circular
It is important to spend some time initially establishing with the group what they are
about to embark upon in terms of the learning journey, regardless of the length of
the session. This can take the form of briefly speaking to the group to explain what it is
that they are about to view and which issues will be discussed in broad terms.
It is also useful to establish an agreement or set of rules and expectations around
participation if the session is not taking place in a regular setting, group or context. For
an established group, this may not be necessary as patterns for learning may already be
well established and work well. For other groups, stressing the importance of listening
to others can be helpful in promoting confidence and encouraging participation in discussions
on a topic that some may find difficult.
Due to the nature of the topics covered by the Extreme Dialogue resources some difficult
questions may arise during discussions with participants. Facilitators should not
shut down such questions but enquire as to where the question comes from in a nonjudgemental
fashion. Facilitators do not need in-depth, expert knowledge on extremism
or related issues to be able to answer these questions. If you are unsure as to how to
respond immediately it is perfectly acceptable to tell the participant that you will find
out and get back to them later, or perhaps open up a class discussion and offer to look
into it as a group. Encourage openness and nurture curiosity. Where necessary try to set
the record straight on the facts surrounding controversial issues, but allow group discussion
to unfold organically.
Suggestions have been made in the resource packs around participants working individually,
in pairs or in small groups. As with the timings of exercises, it is possible to either
increase or reduce the size of groups for exercises and activities to best suit the
situation. Facilitators should feel free to exercise their own judgement depending on
what they feel is appropriate for the group while ensuring that safety is paramount for
There are notes within the resource packs to give clarity over the learning outcomes and
provide notes for the facilitator. These are not however exhaustive and are designed to
allow the facilitator a certain amount of freedom and flexibility. There are however clear
safety considerations with the Extreme Dialogue films and resources. These are not
the types of topics that are always familiar to participants and could evoke emotional
responses. It is important that the facilitator considers this in the planning and delivery
of any session, encourages curiosity from participants, and draws the session to a close
with a safe conclusion. If there is a particular student or participant that, through
their own personal experiences, may be more likely to find the content upsetting
then the facilitator may wish to discuss this with them privately before delivering
Furthermore, due to the nature of the content it is important that the facilitator remains
available during and after the session by visiting small groups during exercises
and activities, and is on hand for a one-to-one chat during or after the session (both
immediately and long-term) for any students wishing to further discuss any of the issues
raised. If this is not possible then let the group know who else they can approach
for support, such as other teachers, community workers, or school liaison officers.
It may also be a good idea for facilitators to reach out to the parents of the group before
the start of the sessions due to the nature of the topics covered by Extreme Dialogue.
This can take the form of a letter sent home to parents that briefly updates them
on what the group will be learning and offers parents contact with the facilitator should
they have any questions or concerns.
FEEDBACK AND EVALUATION
Feedback and evaluation at the end of a session is crucial as it can help to determine
how to modify future sessions or how to follow up with the current group. The Extreme
Dialogue resource packs and Prezis can be amended, developed, and improved
on an on-going basis by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and Foundation for
Peace depending on feedback received from facilitators and groups. If there are exercises
or activities that work particularly well or are difficult to deliver it is important that
we are aware of this. Similarly we are in the process of creating further films and resources,
both in Canada and Europe, and any feedback received will inform their development.
There are a variety of Extreme Dialogue feedback forms (see appendices) tailored to
different types of sessions and audiences which contain a combination of open-ended
questions and a tick-box style evaluation:
Student Feedback (see Appendices A and B) – two relatively straightforward
forms. The first is intended to provide an indication of what knowledge the group
already has of the topics covered by Extreme Dialogue, if any. The second is intended
to provide an overview of students’ enjoyment of the session and
whether they feel the learning objectives have been achieved. This before and
after format allows us to complete a longitudinal evaluation on the changing attitudes
and skills of the group.
Session Leader Feedback (see Appendices C and D) – as with the student feedback,
there are two straightforward before and after forms aimed at facilitators
delivering the Extreme Dialogue films and resources to students. They are intended
to inform the on-going development of the resource packs, presentations
and training programme, and will be used to identify areas where practitioners
may have struggled or faced difficult questions.
In some contexts the feedback forms may not be considered feasible or appropriate,
in which case informal, verbal feedback can be canvassed from those
present (both young people and teachers, youth workers and other
practitioners). These should be open-ended rather than leading questions and
can be based loosely on the feedback forms.
For further support with the feedback and evaluation process, or if you are interested
in taking part in an Extreme Dialogue project pilot, please contact us on
The following information is intended to provide further guidance and advice for
practitioners on safeguarding against extremism, facilitating discussion on sensitive
issues and developing critical thinking and other skills that build resilience to
extremism in young people:
• Alison Jamieson and Jane Flint (2015) Radicalisation and terrorism: A teacher’s
handbook for addressing extremism
• David Kerr and Joe Bonnell (2011) Teaching approaches that build resilience to
extremism among young people
• David Wright (2015) Extreme Measures
• Department for Schools, Children and Families (2008) Learning together to be
• Hanif Qadir (2015) Advice on tackling radicalisation
• Joe Bonnell et al. (2011) Teaching approaches that help to build resilience to extremism
among young people
• Lucie Parker (2016) How to build students’ resilience to extremism
• Ofcom (2014) Children’s online behaviour: Issues of risk and trust
• Online extremism and radicalisation (2016) Better internet for kids
• Radicalisation research
• UNESCO (2016) A teacher’s guide on the prevention of violent extremism
Extreme Dialogue | www.extremedialogue.org | PO Box 7814 | London, UK |+44 203 463 1944