CHILD SOLDIERS When you think of war, what images come to mind? Perhaps you see rows of uniformed soldiers marching in step, or tanks and armoured vehicles travelling in convoy. The reality, however, is that the majority of wars today are intrastate conflicts fought with small arms. And the disturbing news, as reported in the “Child Soldiers Global Report 2008,” is that wherever such conflicts take place, many of those fighting are children. Yet how often, when you think of war, do you picture a child brandishing an AK-47 assault rifle or a rocket-powered grenade launcher?
You are a freelance journalist who is preparing an article on child soldiers. You need to conduct a survey among professional military people to find out their attitudes towards the issue. You will use the information for the article you are going write.
Before you can write the article and express your own and the opinion of the professional military people you interviewed, you need to know facts and real life stories of the child soldiers.
To complete this assignment, you will need to produce the following pieces of work:
The results of a survey of your class’s opinions about child soldiers.
Summary of the key facts you found about child soldiers’ background (your research)
List of quotes of former child soldiers to use for the article.
1. Survey: talk to at least 5 people in your class about the following…
Central to the question and practice of child soldiers is the question of the child. What is “a child”? What does “childhood” mean? Is the concept of childhood a cultural concept, or is it a universal, timeless fact? And what does it have to do with age?
How are children different from adults and where do we draw a line, if there even is one? Why is it wrong to use child soldiers? Why is it wrong for children to be involved in armed conflicts? Why should a ban on the use of child soldiers be embedded in international law?
If a decisive battle were coming and there were a serious shortage of men, would you consider training children for combat if the future of your country depended on the outcome of that battle?
Do you believe that children are affected by war more than adults? (Give examples, explain.)
Think of 3 more questions to ask from the interviewees that would show their opinion and attitudes towards child soldiers. 2. Research
Before you can write an article about child soldiers, you need to gather some data about them. Look for articles that can help you…this not a cut and paste situation!
Search a variety of websites before you choose the quotes of child soldiers. (Look for headings such as My life as a child soldier, This is my story, Child soldiers)
4. Writing the article
It is time to start writing the article. You need to integrate into this piece of writing your own opinion, the opinion of the military professionals you interviewed, quotes of real child soldiers and the information you gathered about them.
It is now time to evaluate your work on this project. You should write a short composition describing what you learned about the topic from your peers and your research. Were you surprised, or did it confirm your previous understanding of the subject.