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Focus question 4: In what ways can popular movements achieve change?

Teaching and learning activities

Activity 1: Strategies (30 min) ESL Activity 1
Activity 2: Choosing the best 'people power' strategy (30 min) ESL Activity 2
Activity 3: Consequences (60 min) ESL Activity 3
Assessment ESL Assessment
Activity 4: The power of 'people power' (15 min) ESL Activity 4
Further activities  



Display the final focus question and People Power Cards 1 and 2, which illustrate some strategies used in the 'people power' campaigns.

Activity 1: Strategies (30 min)

1a Ask students to recall, with the aid of the 'Action' column of the matrix, particular actions or strategies of the three popular movements. Record suggestions on the board. Handout 16

1b Deepen students' understanding of the range of citizens' action strategies using the terms and definitions on Handout 16. This exercise could be organised as a pairing up activity, giving half the students a slip of paper printed with the name of one of the strategies, and the others a paper printed with a definition of a strategy; each student is to find their 'other half'.

1c Invite students to read out their matching strategy-definition.

Alternatively, students could match strategy names and definitions using the Handout.

1d Ask students if they can identify an illustration of their strategy on People Power Cards 1 and 2 and explain why they made their choices.

1e Invite students to suggest other non-violent 'people power' strategies.

Activity 2: Choosing the best 'people power' strategy (30 min)

Handout 17 2a Focus attention on the pros and cons of various 'people power' strategies. Organise five groups of students. Distribute a scenario cut from Handout 17 to each group.

  • Ask each group to think about and discuss 'people power' strategies (those used in the three campaigns and any others they can think of) appropriate for a 'people power' campaign for their scenario.

This activity could be conducted as a role-play.

2b Invite groups to report, explaining why they have chosen a particular strategy or strategies, and outlining possible disadvantages of the strategy in the given situation.

Activity 3: Consequences (60 min)

3a Focus attention on the link between citizens' actions and social change in rights movements. Direct students towards the role of 'people power' - the mobilising of public support to change attitudes and practices. Ask:

Students can adopt a format for their report-written, oral and/or graphic - appropriate to their communication skills.

3b Direct students to complete the following activity in their journals.

Select one 'people power' movement, and prepare a report which:

  • explains why the campaign began (include the injustice that the campaigners targeted, and what values were important to them)
  • describes how campaigners used 'people power' to achieve civil rights
  • includes at least two important consequences of the campaign
  • gives their opinions of the people who took part in the campaign.


Assess the reports in 3b using the following criteria. The student can:

  • give reasons why this movement for rights arose
  • describe strategies that contributed to the success of the movement
  • list some important consequences of the movement
  • present an opinion about the campaigners supported by reason.

Activity 4: The power of 'people power' (15 min)

Not all examples of popular movements have achieved positive outcomes.

Discuss the potential for popular movements to work against civil rights, for instance, the Nazi movement in the 1930s. The media may provide more recent examples.

Some of these 'movers and shakers' are included in the biographies section of the Stories of Democracy CD ROM.

Further activities

  1. Conduct a class forum that applies the goals and strategies of 'people power' to current and future rights issues. Discuss what issues might become important, and how 'people power' movements might be conducted in the future. (Consider developments in technology such as email.)
  2. Students could investigate other Australians whose actions have resulted in civil rights or other valuable social change, and create posters for a 'Citizens' Hall of Fame'. Possible contenders are Caroline Chisholm, Peter Lalor, Vida Goldstein, Jessie Street, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Vincent Lingiari, Eddie Mabo, Bob Brown, Ian Kiernan and Fred Hollows.
Stories of Democracy

ESL activities

Back to 'People Power - At a glance'

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