'Men and Women in Political Life' contains vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to some students. To assist their learning, ensure that each student maintains a personal glossary of terms, and adds new words as they arise. (The word 'glossary' may be the first on the list.) Students should define terms in their own words rather than use dictionary definitions. The personal glossaries are needed for the assessment task at the end of the unit. The key terms above may be a useful guide to the words the students should have listed by the end of the unit.
The biographies included in the unit are necessarily brief, but opportunities are provided for further research. The Parliament@Work website and Stories of Democracy CD ROM should be available to students. The Stories of Democracy CD ROM also contains a game in which students match historical figures with their achievements. The game could be played after students have studied some of the biographies in this unit.
The Discovering Democracy Secondary Video also accompanies the unit and contains brief interviews with four politically active Australians. Kate Lundy and Michael Ronaldson work inside the parliamentary system while Heather Mitchell and Michael Krockenberger work outside it. The video is required viewing for the assessment task at the end of the unit, but you may also choose to show excerpts at other appropriate times. If you take the latter course, you may also choose to encourage students to begin note-taking from the video, in preparation for the final assessment task.
Focus question 1
The success of Activity 1 depends on students selecting a range of 'political' and 'non-political' articles. If a suitable range is not emerging, you may want to provide some guidance. If you feel that students' reading levels will make it difficult for them to scan the newspapers, you may want to pre-select a range of suitable articles.
In Activity 2, the distinction is made between 'political' and 'non-political' people and activities. This is, of course, a broad and somewhat artificial categorisation and it is recognised that most human activity can be said to have a 'political' aspect. Some students may think that activities are 'political' only if they are associated with a political party and, in that case, you may need to provide more direction. The class should arrive at a working definition along the lines of the following:
Political activity occurs when people attempt to influence the way society is organised or governed or to stop other people from making changes.
Activity 3 is intended to assist students to see that being politically active is not the same as being famous and vice versa. It also allows students to see that some politically active people are members of political parties and some are not. In Activity 4, you may want to assist students to choose suitable articles for analysis.
The first part of Activity 6 is a research activity which could be set as homework. In the second part, ensure that students do not choose to research one of the people featured later in the unit.
Focus question 2
Activities 1 and 3 provide students with some frameworks for looking at the biographical material.
Activity 4 may require further research about important issues to women today.
Focus question 3
In Activity 1, students are not expected to have a detailed knowledge of the situation described. They are asked, rather, to think in broad terms about the issues raised. Similarly, in the letter-writing exercise, Activity 2, students can be asked to concentrate on the issues rather than necessarily to attempt to copy Jessie Street's writing style.
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