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> Resources > CCU - Community Cohesion Materials > CCU - Secondary English > CCU - Secondary English - Resource 3

Resource 3

Community cohesion and the prevention of violent extremism
A resource for teachers to use in the classroom

Resource title
'I have a dream' speech by Martin Luther King
Source: - video, audio and text
The 'I have a dream' speech by Martin Luther King is one of the most famous of the twentieth century - its transcript and video footage are available on numerous websites and there is a mass of supporting material.

The speech can be studied at a number of levels and teachers can select whether:
  • to examine its language and rhetorical structure in detail
  • to concentrate on its emotional power and impact
  • to select some of the key lines and concentrate on its poetry and sound
Teachers can focus on how the speech appeals to both a call for action and recognition of the political complexity of social injustice. The dialogue also raises a range of issues connected to extremism:
  • the power of leaders and how they incite extremism or peaceful protest. Teachers could include discussion of other leaders such as Malcolm X, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela etc.
  • how the media represent minority groups and their leaders
  • how a speech can impact on an audience
  • how a civil rights movement can achieve justice over time
This resource can be used both as a starting point for teachers to initiate discussion, or for more in depth and successive activities that students can actively participate in. Examples include:
  1. Students choose six lines from the speech and make them into a poem called 'I have a dream'. (This requires close reading of the whole speech and attempts to capture its underlying message).
  2. After viewing the speech and discussing it, students act out a role play in pairs where one is a journalist and the other is King, in which they discuss his philosophy of peaceful protest.
  3. Students use the internet and other sources to research his life and death and write an obituary summing up his achievements.
  4. Students write (and perform) their own 'I have a Dream' speech about their own wishes for peace and social justice.
  5. Students select one other key advocate for social justice and prepare a short PowerPoint about his/her contribution to present to the class (e.g. Ghandi, Mandela, Jesse Jackson)
Links across other subjects within resource
History, Citizenship, Drama, ICT
Additional support
You Tube (NB when using resources on YouTube, teachers should exercise care and discretion and wherever possible check the accuracy of the material against other sources).

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