Up and down the country on the 30th June street parties, picnics and military tattoos are taking place for Armed Forces Day. Despite the rhetoric of tradition, the day is relatively new to Britain's military history, with the first occurrence taking place in 2009, replacing Veterans' Day, which ran from 2006-2009.
Some see the institution of another national occasion relating to the Armed Forces (i.e. in addition to Remembrance Day) as indicative of a growing culture of militarisation across the country. After consultation with parents, teachers and students who are concerned with the unquestioning attitude of acceptance towards the military and their activities in the public sphere, ForcesWatch has produced the following lesson plans and activities for those working in schools and other youth organisations to use, free of charge, with their students or group members. This is a direct response to the materials produced by the Armed Forces for teachers.
The Armed Forces Day Debate (KS3 & KS4)
- to explore issues surrounding militarisation through a debate format
- to develop debating skills – including those of research and presentation
- to engage with and deconstruct (at least) two different, opposing sources allowing students to develop their own opinion on the issue
How much do you know about the army? (KS3 & KS4)
- to gain an outline understanding of life as a soldier, including the pros and cons
- to understand and speak about ethical issues involved in recruiting young people from age 16 into the armed forces
- to be able to deconstruct a TV advertisement
- to bring critical awareness to an important social issue
A different kind of heroism: Conscientious Objectors past and present (KS4 & KS5)
- to understand and assess the reasons why men refused to fight during the First World War and how people reacted to conscientious objection
- to put conscientious objection in a modern context and understand the issues confronting those in the Armed Forces at present
- to understand the ethical dilemmas of those in the Armed Forces, and the similarities and differences between then and now