If you watched the news any time over the last ten years you would have heard of the War on Terror, or terrorism. Many government and countries around the world are taking steps to either stop the spread of terror or to limit their impact. It is a difficult balance to provide the most security for a country versus the need for citizens to have a private life and to be left alone.
Some have started to be concerned about the growth of the state in fighting terrorism around the world and at home. This is mainly started with the passing of laws and rules that allow the state to have increased powers to investigate the lives of ordinary people. Critics say that once this line has been crossed there is no limit to what the government would want to do next. The ultimate end to this is the creation of a Big Brother state which has total control over your life. Nothing will remain private.
Others are confident that the state is responsible and is able to roll back (reverse) those powers at a future date as and when the threat disappears. Only time will tell if this will be the case.
Level: Advanced B2/C1
Running time: 60 – 90 minutes
- Please note that this topic is largely sensitive and should only be attempted with older students
- introduce the topic by asking students to list the most to least costly programmes the government spends money on. The list can or should include; healthcare, education and etc. Eventually, they will refer to the army and from there expand upon by asking about security.
- Next, ask students how they feel about the relationship between security vs privacy. Would they be willing to lose their total privacy so that they can obtain total security? Place them in groups and ask them to elaborate on their ideas and provide examples where it would or would not be ideal.
- Print the worksheet and provide a set per group. Cut them up so that each student has at least one opinion given to them.
- In groups ask them to compare their own opinion with those on the worksheet.
- As a class, discuss ideas and encourage students to debate with each other.
- For the end the class you may watch the video which is given at the end of this page.
Download the PDF Vox Pop plan: Fighting Terrorism Vox Pop ESLTalkingPoints PDF
If you are having trouble using this lesson plan, get more ideas on How to teach using online comments and vox pop replies
Video from CBS 60 minutes which talks about the work NYPD is doing to protect the city.