Discovering Democracy Units
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Focus question 1: Who rules us?

Teaching and learning activities

Activity 1: What has government got to do with you? ESL Activity 1
Activity 2: Public opinion and government decisions ESL Activity 2

Activity 1: What has government got to do with you?

All around you are different forms of government. Any group of more than one person has to work out a way of making decisions, because we are all different.

1a How do you and your friends or brothers and sisters make decisions about:

For example, do you all have an equal say? Does one person have most of the ideas and lead the group by persuasion or through their enthusiasm? Does anyone boss everyone else around?

1b Which of the following ways do you think is best for making the decisions listed in 1a?

  • One person tells everyone else what to do.
  • Everybody talks about it until they all agree.
  • Each person has a vote and the group goes along with what the majority want.

1c Share your answers with other members of your class.

Activity 2: Public opinion and government decisions

By discussing the questions above you are already beginning to think about how government works. Let's go one step further by imagining this:

The government passes a law banning all American TV shows from the end of this week.

2a Write down a list of favourite or well-known TV shows which you wouldn't be allowed to see.

2b Would you agree with a decision to ban American TV shows, or would you oppose it?

2c Write down two reasons for:

2d Together with a partner who agrees with your opinion, list what you could do to try to get the decision changed or to persuade the public to support the decision.

2e Who would you need to convince in order to have the law changed (or supported). Copy the table below into your workbook and arrange the words below under the best heading. Add any other groups whose support you think would be important.
adult women
adult men
foreign tourists
Australian actors
members of the government
members of the opposition
other politicians
local councils

Who would you most need to convince? Who would you least need to convince?





2f Using a different colour for each, underline:

2g Report to the class on what you selected for 2f and why.

2h Make any changes to your work in 2e and 2f that you wish to make as a result of hearing others' views.

Australians are used to having a say like this because the type of government we have is a 'democracy'. This means that Australia is ruled by its people - who vote for politicians to govern the country on our behalf. A simpler type of democracy began over 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece.

ESL activities

Back to 'Should the People Rule? - At a glance'

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