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

from harm.


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.


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 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.


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

commit violence;

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




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.


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

their stories.

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

arrangements etc.).

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

the session.

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 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 | | PO Box 7814 | London, UK |+44 203 463 1944


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