Did you know that 21 September is International Peace Day? Here, Lindsay Clandfield suggests how to broach this global issue in a teen-friendly way.

Teachers like having classes with teens on serious global issues like 'peace'. Sorry, I should say that teachers like the idea of having classes with teens on serious global issues like 'peace'. We think it’s important. Unfortunately, our students aren’t always of the same opinion. I’ve often felt that achieving world peace would actually be easier than getting some of my past classes to talk about it. But we mustn’t give up hope, and with September 21 being International Peace Day it’s a good excuse to give it another try. Here are some ideas.

A good start could be to write on the board Peace is... and Wars start because... Tell students to complete the sentences in as many ways as they can in five minutes. Compare afterwards and write these on the board. Use this to start a discussion.

You could do some research into recent peace slogans (a web search yielded Make Love not War; Peace on Earth; All Wars are Criminal; War is Over (If You Want It); Let’s Try Preemptive Peace). Give these to students and use them as a springboard to create a peace poster project. Students can make posters incorporating the slogans, creating their own slogans or poems.

It’s also a great opportunity to bring out your favourite 'peace' songs and do a song activity with the class. Almost every teacher I know has done John Lennon's Imagine with their students. How about getting your students to write their own peace 'anthem'? Give them the following frame to complete:

Everybody’s talking about (think of six -isms that are common in today’s society, e.g. capitalism, consumerism, terrorism...),
This-ism, That-ism, ism, ism, ism,
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
Everybody’s talking about (think of names of eight words ending in -ation or -ution, e.g. revolution, evolution, nations…)
All we are saying is give peace a chance.

You and your class will have written a 21st century mini version of the John Lennon song, Give Peace a Chance. Play the original for them to compare it with, and, if you are feeling very adventurous, sing it with them.