Discovering Democracy Units
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Focus question 1: Who rules?

Teaching and learning activities

Activity 1: Ruler for a day (45 min) ESL Activity 1
Activity 2: Who rules elsewhere? (45 min) ESL Activity 2

Activity 1: Ruler for a day (45 min)

1a Divide students into groups of four to six and provide each group with large sheets of paper and markers.

1b To introduce the concept of absolute power, the groups are to imagine that, for a day, they have the power to rule the other students in the class. Discuss as a class:

  • What are all the things you like and dislike doing?
  • Now you have total power to make your classmates do as you tell them, what tasks would you make them do?
  • What rules of behaviour must your classmates obey?
  • Rights can protect people. What rights do you want (a) for yourselves, as rulers; (b) for the others?

1c Each group lists their answers to the above questions on the sheet of paper under the following headings: 'Tasks' and 'Rules of behaviour'.

1d Collect the sheets and redistribute each to a different group.

Alternatively, enact this system of rule for a limited time.

1e Have the groups imagine they are subject to the rules of behaviour and have to undertake the tasks on the sheet they have been given.

1f Questions for the class to discuss:

  • What do you think would be the consequences of these rules?
  • How do you feel about having to do these tasks?

Discuss the rights of the rulers and those ruled.

Activity 2: Who rules elsewhere? (45 min)

2a Elicit students' prior knowledge of rulers using a concept map. List names or titles of different rulers and decision-making places today. Group these according to the way decisions are made.

2b Students divide into groups to role-play decision-making in different situations.

2c Discuss:

  • How are decisions made in the family, in sports teams, in friendship groups, in clubs?
  • How many people are involved?
  • Is it fair/unfair?
  • What do you think of the way decisions are made in different situations?
  • Are there better ways to make decisions?

ESL activities

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