Ted's teaching tips

4th May 2001 at 01:00
In one way this is a grim picture, a sad example of the way that war and conflict can mutilate people's lives. It is also a wonderfully vivid and hopeful illustration of how love can conquer all, even severe disability.


Think of particular films about war: how is conflict portrayed (often glamorous and heroic, clean-cut heroes triumph over evil; sometimes grim and unpleasant)? What do you think war is really like? Why do wars take place (disputes over territory; aggressive or violent leaders; increasing wealth by stealing from others; religious or ideological quarrels)? Can you think of wars that took place a long time ago (for instance, biblical times) and within the memory of people you know (Second World War, Falklands). Look back at conflicts you have studied: why did they take place and could they have been avoided? What might have happened if there had been no war?


What is prosthetics (the replacement of a limb or organ with an artificial part)? Can you think of examples (heart valves, artificial limbs, false teeth)? How do artificial limbs work (construction mimics the actual limb, using plastic and metal, with joints and hinges)? Is it entirely mechanical (may sometimes even be joined to the muscle and operated by it)? What is the future likely to hold (even more realistic-looking and efficient spare parts, using modern materials; increasing use of transplants to give someone an arm, leg or other body part from a person who has died)?


This topic needs skilful andling, especially if there are disabled children in the school or class. Think of examples of how people overcome disability (athletics and sporting events for the disabled; people who are blind using dogs and helpers to be mobile and take part in everyday activities)? Does society have a positive or negative attitude to disability (positive: providing help, not patronising the disabled; negative: underestimating what people can do, mocking, bullying, or belittling them)? Do you think your own attitude to the disabled is positive or negative?


Tell the story of the adult and child in the picture, and how they have a strong bond of affection, despite their terrible experiences. Write an account of someone you admire who has overcome adversity.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter university


Should we be prepared to die for Queen and country?


War may be awful, but failure to defend yourself is worse. Some terrible tyrants would have ruled us if brave people had not fought them. A sacrifice sometimes has to be made for the greater good. The casualties can be supported and helped, but the victims of evil are left helpless.


The taking of life is wrong. Countries often declare war when diplomatic solutions might still be possible. Wars rarely solve problems and often make them worse, so the same conflicts can go on for hundreds of years. The bitterness of war cannot easily be forgotten, as loved ones are killed or crippled by it.

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