Australian Capital Territory
Should the People Rule?
Teacher used the materials for the school curriculum unit on Government. 30 lessons with a Year 8 class were used in the trial 6 lessons to Current Events and 24 for Government.
Distributed Course Outline (Attachment 1)
Negotiated classroom rules. This is currently a standard lesson in all classes at Alfred Deakin High School. I used this lesson to demonstrate how decisions can be reached through consensus. The students came up with the following list of rules:
This class is not a typical class. They listen and reflect as a matter of course and there have only been a couple of instances during the term when I have found the need to refer students to the rules. I labour this point because the materials in Discovering Democracy are readily adaptable for this type of class.
Explained Current Events and Meeting Procedure. This technique is explained in detail on the Parliamentary Education Office Web site at http://www.peo.gov.au. In 1998 I was a Parliamentary Education Office Fellow and demonstrated this teaching method to the other fellows using a mixed group of students from Alfred Deakin High School. The accompanying paper will be published on the Home Page.
The technique involves each student collecting a current event from the newspaper and writing a summary and opinion of events described in the article. Results are discussed in a weekly class meeting. I purposely allow students to select articles based o their interests. The articles are not subject specific. This means they can speak with confidence to the group. They must be able to speak without reading their notes. I read each entry in Current Events books kept by each student. Skills relating to /Discovering about Democracy through Current Events Meetings include:
Multiple Intelligences Survey. To increase student self awareness and awareness of strengths of all members of the class.
Listening skills. Students completed a self-evaluation using a set of questions and listed ways of improving listening skills.
Pre test on Government (Attachment 2)
Simulation Starting Again (Attachment 3 M Szabo, Simulation Starting Again Teaching Materials 1990)
Continued Starting Again simulation. The movie version of Lord of the Flies could be viewed, time permitting. Events in Lord of the Flies depict similar events.
Last lesson Friday. Some absent and others unable to present group solutions. Made up a political quiz on the spot to provide facts about the operation of government at local and national level. Learning factors about government is regarded as a boring activity. This quiz is similar to the pre test and contains such facts. Students like learning this type of information in this format. (Attachment 4)
A 30 minute lesson because of School Assembly. Student led assemblies at Alfred Deakin High School demonstrate and encourage Civics and Citizenship activities on a school level. For example, this year some of the items relevant to Civics and Citizenship include introducing student nominees for selection for the Board and for the Student Representative council and a demonstration of the Peer Mediation Process being introduced by the Deputy Principal to train students so they can reduce conflict in the student body.
Lesson 12 and 13
I attended the three day camp for our Year 7 students. Students worked on the topics of Federation Page 96-97 SOSE Commerce, Jacaranda 1998. And the Constitution Pages 98-99 SOSE Commerce. This work was given so that students would have background knowledge to discuss the coming referendum and the preamble to the Constitution both of which are relevant Current Events and the study of Government.
Students presented solutions to the Starting Again simulation. Peer Assessment was used. Each group assessed the performance of all the other groups. (Attachment 5). Within each group students each assessed the groupwork performance of other students in their group. (Attachment 6)
Missed for Swimming Carnival.
Handed out Assignment based on Page 15 Page 15 Discovering Democracy Lower Secondary Units (Attachment 7). I handed out a copy of a booklet containing "Should the People Rule" which students needed to read in conjunction with the assignment sheet. The assignment is open ended and assessment is based o process rather than content. The aim of this approach is to encourage the development of research skills in the library and on the net.
Students decided on individual topics and copied out poster guides from the unit into their books. (Friday second last lesson).
Current Events and further discussion of the assignment.
Activity 1: Worked activities from Discovering Democracy "What has government got to do with you?". Students participated in discussion and enjoyed this lesson.
Activity 2: Public opinion and government decisions. Students became very involved in activities in the DD activity "The government passes a law banning all American TV shows from the end of this week." At the end of this long lesson students were taken to the library to select a book on their selected person for the assignment.
Continued search for information in the library.
School Assembly. Shortened lesson discussion on assignment. Remind students of the need to share information and the need not to tell others their slogans so as not to spoil the element of surprise.
Students moved into three groups in different locations for student information sharing sessions
Brief general discussion with the class showed the students were feeling confident with their assignment topics.
Students completed a survey on their view of politicians New Perspectives in Social Education VASST 1996, page 43. I collated the findings during the lesson and used this as a basis for a class discussion of the role of the media in politics in influencing the way people perceive politicians.
A news article entitled "Jail to parliament a Long Road" (Attachment 8) was analysed to assist students in their understanding the following terms: the party system, pre selection of candidates for election, the coming NSW elections and the bicameral system in NSW and the Federal Governments. I chose this article because it was about a reformed criminal winning pre-selection for the Liberal Party to the NSW Upper House. An excellent human-interest story the article also contains interesting vocabulary such as cronyism and nepotism which the students enjoyed learning. Students were required to examine their values and consider the reasons why and why not Tony would make a good member of parliament.
School Cleanup Day. Practical Citizenship Education. Once per term each teacher takes their class to clean u the school playground. Names go into a fortnightly draw for a canteen voucher as a reward for effort.
Collection of Assignments and test. There was a lot of excellent work and most students handed in their work on time. I hung the posters up during the lesson while students completed their test (Attachment 9). One test question required students to observe all the slogans on the posters and to evaluate the effectiveness of the slogan.
The test was based on a news article entitled "Genes Blue" which is an article about Australias first consensus conference. (p40 Sydney Morning Herald 13/3/99). I had seen the advertisement in the Canberra Times inviting the public to apply to attend this conference on the 10th to 12th March, 1999. I considered applying to attend the conference until I noted it was on 3 school days. I selected this article because we had discussed the different methods of group decision making through consensus and voting in lesson 19. This article connected the theory of decision making in the lessons to the practice of decision making in Current Events lessons. When it is impossible to get consensus in a heated discussion a vote becomes the decision making instrument. Students learn about agreeing to disagree. This is what the Australian people do at every election and it is what the Houses of Parliament do every time there is a division in the House or the Senate.
I hung the posters in the three groups. The monarch posters were beautiful with interesting diagrams of family trees and majestic portraits of monarchs. The tyranny posters formed an interesting contrast. They were bold with strong colours and a lot of black headings and subheadings. The photographs of the tyrants showed men controlling everyone I sight. The democracy posters were informative with interesting slogans such as "Power to the People".
I discussed the assessment criteria sheets with the class and explained how I had allocated marks.
Will be a current events lesson. I will also return their tests.
Lessons 29 and 30
Student s will present their posters to the class explaining their views about democracy, monarchy and tyranny.
At the start of term 2 I will have silent reading of "Who Rules?" I will ask students to note each time they learn something new. After that I will do a course evaluation with student sand modify the course according to their suggestions.
As our school was lucky enough to receive a 1999 Discovering Democracy grant, funds were available to photocopy class sets of individual work units to use with students. Because the units are interconnected and the work within each unit is sequential teachers require class sets of work units. It would have been difficult to make a start on this unit of work without such a class set.
I believe this case study will help teachers because it demonstrates how sections of Discovering Democracy can be used in existing units of work. It also demonstrates that Discovering Democracy material work well with gifted and talented students. My case study is evidence of that.
If I used this material again I would continue the Current Events component and I would select suitable materials from Discovering Democracy to complement political events of the day.
I did not make use of the CDROMs. I hope by the next time I teach this unit I will have the knowledge and computing resources to make use of it.
I did not use the Guide to Government and Law in Australia because I did not have time to look at it. Alfred Deakin High School has purchased a class set of the Guide. Next time I teach this unit I will have students read pages 3 to 33 on "Who Rules?" I will do this at the start of the unit. I would like a set of multiple choice questions based on the text to be used as a comprehensive check.
Alfred Deakin High School
Studies of Society and Environment
Year 8 Unit and Assessment Outline
Government and Commerce
Need for organisation
Types of government
Functions of government
Levels of government
Producers and consumers in society
Setting up a business
Budgeting and accounting
The share market
The end of semester mark will be obtained using the following assessment items
SIMULATION: "Staring Again"
Contact Alice Hayes, Alfred Deakin High School for further details.
ATTACHMENTS 5 AND 6
PEER ASSESSMENT FOR COOPERATIVE GROUPWORK
For Simulation Starting Again
Peer Assessment for Groups
While you re listening to the presentations assess each group according to the following criteria and record your response using grades in the spaces provided.
A means excellent, outstanding
B means very good, a high standard
C means a good standard
D means a fair standard
E means failure to complete
1 2 3a 3b 3c 3d 3e 3f 4 5 6 Final Grade
PEER ASSESSEMENT for individuals within each group:
Rate each member of your group according to the guide below
A always works hard, is easy to get along with, is full of good ideas, allows and encourages other people to contribute and listens to their ideas, is able to motivate others.
B works hard most of the time, is easy to get along with most of the time, encourages others to contribute, comes up with very good ideas.
C works hard more than half of the time, makes some constructive and useful suggestions, encourages others sometimes
D doesnt do much work, interrupts with irrelevant ideas, makes few constructive suggestions, doesnt listen to others very much
E rarely does nay work, is difficult to get along with, never tries to come up with good ideas, wastes time, never listens to or encourages others.
Name Rating Scale
______________________________________ A B C D E
YEAR 8 GOVERNMENT ASSIGNMENT
Using one of the three guides in Discovering Democracy page 15, 16 make a poster to illustrate one of the following forms of government.
Refer to booklet Should the People Rule and follow the instructions on page 15 re
10 marks for research preparation and planning
10 marks for effective demonstration of learning
A SEPARATE ASSESSMENT SHEET
Prepare a short talk following instructions on page 16.
News article by Paul Sheehan from the Sydney Morning Herald page 9, 13/3/99
NSW Parliament, Liberal, armed robber, liberal pre-selection, Upper House, coalition, accomplice, paroled, cronyism, nepotism.
What is your opinion of members of Parliament?
Where does this opinion come from?
Write a brief list of the main events in Tonys life.
List reasons why Tony should not become an MP.
List reasons why Tony would make a good MP.
Would you vote for Tony? Explain why.
SOSE TEST TERM 1
Instructions: Read the news article entitled Genes blue from page 40 Sydney Morning Herald 13/3/99. A two minute discussion for purposes of clarification will follow the reading. Write answers in complete sentences.