7. Opinions we don’t like

Lesson powerpoint here

Lesson objectives:

  1. For pupils have time thinking about their own emotional reactions to opinions that some think offensive.
  2. For pupils to consider ways in which we can respond to opinions which differ from our own or which may result in offence.


  1. Identifying truth and offence.
  • Play the video of Katie Hopkins talking on This Morning about children’s names. Ask the class to track their own emotional reactions to her comments using a mood map.
  • Ask pupils to identify how we decide that we disagree with Katie Hopkins’ arguments, or even find them offensive. (Their own emotional reactions (as well as the mood map, think about the 6 moral foundations: care, fairness, loyalty, respect, sanctity, liberty); the emotional reactions of the presenters and the other guest; the actual structure of her arguments).
  • Suggest to the pupils that Hopkins might just be describing a truth that is difficult to hear. Ask them how they know when someone is saying something which is true (bearing in mind that populist politicians like Farage and Trump gain appeal for being seen to say what others refuse to). The following hints are on the slides:
    • It fits in with what I already think;
    • It makes me feel good;
    • It relates to a concept like justice or beauty;
    • It is based on evidence or reasoning;
    • It challenges assumptions;
    • It makes me feel uncomfortable;
    • It would make the world better if everyone followed it;
    • It would bring good consequences for the oppressed and marginalized;
    • It suits the speaker’s own interests and desires.
  1. Political correctness?
  • Play pupils the Has Political Correctness Gone Mad? clip, presented by veteran civil rights campaigner, Trevor Phillips.
  • Ask pupils to identify any suggestions in the clip for responding to people whose opinions and views we don’t agree with, or find offensive.
  • Ask pupils to discuss how we should respond to people whose opinions and arguments we find offensive (e.g. Milo Yiannopolous who was banned for life from Twitter in 2016 for his role in the online abuse of an actor in Ghostbusters). Encourage one of the pupils to chair the discussion.