There are many nuanced definitions of non-violence but most seem to agree that non-violent action is not just about doing anything without using violence. Non-violent action has the aim of undermining violence whether it is physical, structural or institutional. Non-violent action is a way to achieve positive change without using violence. The main part of this lesson is a discussion activity which encourages learners to decide where they would put an action on a spectrum from violent to non-violent. Many of the examples are contentious and the learners need to listen to each other and will potentially change their minds when they hear good reasons. Through this activity the learners will hopefully start to understand some of the complexities around the concepts of violence and non-violence.
“Looking at principles of non-violent protest and deciding which ones we like and which we would question (orange for challenge, yellow for agree and annotations) gave the children a chance to critically analyse some complex ideas and to start to think about how their own values affect their reaction.”