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ERIC Number: EJ931767
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Lives beyond Suffering: The Child Soldiers of African Wars
Glasgow, Jacqueline N.; Baer, Allison L.
English Journal, v100 n6 p68-77 Jul 2011
Sierra Leone is only one of the more than 50 armed conflicts currently going on around the world. It is estimated that 20 million children were either refugees or displaced internally, and some 300,000 children under the age of 18 were used in hostilities at any given time as government or rebel soldiers, with about one-third reportedly fighting in Africa (Machel). While "the recruitment of children under age 15 for military purposes is a war crime under a statute of the International Criminal Court," the United Nations contends that there are still as many as 16 armies that currently recruit children. The facts facing these children are horrific. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, orphaned and refugee children are frequently taken, some are forced into atrocious acts of violence against their own family to ensure that they cannot go home, many are given drugs to make them more willing warriors, and "some government forces capture and torture children suspected of supporting opposition groups." What is to be the response of English educators to these events? Looking at teaching through the lens of "radical pedagogy," the authors contend that they must teach about the plight of these children because it is their responsibility to challenge the status quo and expand students' experiences by engaging them in learning that helps develop their critical consciousness. The authors discuss teaching literacy as a means of transformation, and they use "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" to engage students in the radical pedagogy of change. An annotated list of other works on victims of African wars is offered. (Contains 7 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Africa; Sierra Leone