Year 6 Exhibition | The British School Manila

What can we learn from World War 2 that is relevant to the lives and future lives of our Year 6 students? It happened over 70 years ago; dates, facts, events and timelines are all very well and provide knowledge and context to base the children’s learning in, but they don’t always offer transfer - linking learning to our own lives and learning to be a better global citizen.

Therefore our Year 6 WW2 Exhibition was not a presentation of facts and figures, but an exploration of our essential question: ‘Is the influence of propaganda more powerful than an individual person’s beliefs and morals?’ 

Prior to the exhibition, the children were taught (very convincingly by the Year 6 teachers) about Szebistan - a country that was completely destroyed during World War 2. The people who lived there were ‘scientifically inferior humans’, ‘naturally aggressive’ and ‘offered nothing to humanity’. The children were asked to reflect on this event and discuss how they would feel if someone from Szebistan joined their class. Most were pleased that the people had been killed and horrified at the thought of one of these people being part of their community. Of course Szebistan is fictional - it was an imaginary country taught to demonstrate the power of propaganda and misinformation in shaping people’s perspectives which still happens to this very day. The children were shocked when they were told the truth and with the realisation that they had accepted the wiping out of an entire group of people through misinformation they had been given.

During our exhibition the children presented their reflections about that lesson as well as a museum exhibit of the types and purposes of propaganda used in World War 2. They finished by relating what they had learnt from World War 2 to modern day propaganda from recent political campaigns.

Nowadays, it is very hard not to be influenced by misinformation and to know what information to trust. The Year 6 students can’t solve this problem, but they can do the first steps: to recognise that misinformation and propaganda are out there, to check it as best as they can and to stand up if they think something is morally wrong. This is what we hope children have transferred from studying World War 2 to their future lives.


The British School Manila