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University of Winnipeg educator working on anti-extremism tool-kit

Click to play video: 'U of W team working to help teachers identify radicalization in students'
U of W team working to help teachers identify radicalization in students
A team at the University of Winnipeg is working to put together tools to help teachers identify extremism and radicalization in students. We spoke with Kawser Ahmed about his research. – Jan 5, 2022

A Winnipeg educator is putting together a tool-kit to help teachers combat student extremism.

University of Winnipeg adjunct professor Kawser Ahmed, who studies hate, extremism and radicalization, told Global News youth are more prone to extremism because of the ease of encountering conspiracy theories online.

This latest project is geared toward students in Grade 8 and up, and Ahmed said his team is developing the tool-kit to help teachers spot certain behaviours before they turn violent.

“If our teachers are aware of the languages, the literature, the signs and symbols, then they can understand what is going on with their students,” he said.

“The solutions will be developed by the educators — we’re not going to develop something and request them to implement it.

“They’re going to sit with us, they’re going to work with us, and they’re going to find plausible solutions to address extremism and radicalization and violence in their classrooms. ”

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Ahmed said the strategies are going to be developed alongside educators, parents and administrators to create the best possible tool for children.

Since the project began, Ahmed has received more than 50 emails from parents concerned about radical views their children have been exposed to.

“They have shared with me in their emails that they’re concerned their children have expressed interest in (extreme) right-wing literature, videos and texts, etc.,” he said.

“So we have that component in our project, which we call stakeholder communication, and we are reaching out to parents and school administrators.”

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