Page 1

» The seven lessons in this blue section (identified with a square on each page) are designed with students aged 14 to18 in mind. However, they can be readily adapted for older or younger students – please see the Introduction for further details. » Sessions cover the Commonwealth (Lesson 1), Diversity (Lesson 2), Global Inequalities (Lesson 3), Education and Development (Lesson 4), Malaria (Lesson 5), Climate Change (Lesson 6) and Democracy (Lesson 7).

© Royal Commonwealth Society |


Co mm on we al th SC HO OL RE SO UR CE S » Lesson 1 » Introducing the Commonwealth Note - This lesson could be split into two for students to have more time to prepare and discuss: activities 1 and 2 in the first lesson, and activities 3 and 4 in the second lesson.

Lesson aims/key questions

Learning outcomes and key processes

Students will be able to: a » Recognise a number of member states of the Commonwealth b » Explain the historical roots of the modern Commonwealth c » Identify and categorise a number of activities of the modern Commonwealth d » Rank and evaluate different ideas about the future of the Commonwealth e » Formulate and propose new ideas for the future of the Commonwealth Key processes: Critical thinking; research; discussion and debate; communicating ideas; critically assessing your own view and others’ viewpoints; working with others to solve problems; taking an interest in global issues and current affairs.

Key words/

Commonwealth | diversity | development | democracy | empire | colony | global | Secretariat | civil society | non-governmental organisations | heritage | Queen | consensus | Secretary-General | Commonwealth Games | youth programmes

Summary of

Activity 1 (starter): Guess Who? And the History of the Commonwealth (Powerpoint presentation)

a» b»

Activity 2: Investigators and Detectives: What does the Commonwealth do? (Information Hunt)

Activity 3: Future Leaders of the Commonwealth (Card sort to categorise and diamond rank)

d» e»

Activity 4 (plenary): Commonwealth Board Race

all »

concepts / terms

activities and links to learning outcomes




Homework or extension tasks

Resources needed

1 r2

1 42

1 » What is the Commonwealth? How did it form? 2 » What does the Commonwealth do? 3 » How should we develop the Commonwealth in future?

» Activity 1 (starter) and » Activity 4 (plenary) could be transformed into a short test of students’ knowledge about the Commonwealth Countries. » Activity 2 could be a group assessment in which students decipher and categorise activities under timed conditions. » Activity 2 contains Information Sheets with a variety of complexity (1r2); questions on the Student Investigator Sheets (1r3) also increase in complexity. » Activity 3 contains cards with a variety of complexity (1r4), some of which students may investigate further if they wish to challenge themselves, or if they do not have time they might discard the cards they have difficulty understanding. You could ask students to: » Write three paragraphs explaining what they understand by each of following terms, which form the core themes of the Commonwealth: diversity, development and democracy. » Research and write a report on the difference between making political decisions and agreements through consensus and through some alternatives such as majority voting, veto powers, top-down ‘leader decides’ and executive boards or committees. » You could set students the task of extending » Activity 3 into a detailed proposal to send to Commonwealth Leaders, for example in the form of a letter addressed to the Royal Commonwealth Society. » Activity 1 (starter): Commonwealth Introduction Powerpoint (1r1) » Activity 2: Commonwealth Activity Information Sheets (1r2) (one set to each group of 4-6 students), Student Investigator Sheets (1r3) (one each (printed on small paper), one per team (printed on big paper) or write the questions on the board) » Activity 3: Future Leaders Card Sort (1r4) (need to cut out the cards or give students scissors to cut them out) (one set for each group of 4-6 students) » Activity 4: Board (wide enough for two people to write on it at the same time) and two Board Pens

LESSON 1 PAGE 1 OF 3 © Royal Commonwealth Society |

Co mm on we al th SC HO OL RE SO UR CE S » Lesson 1 » Introducing the Commonwealth

» Suggested time allowance for activities

» Activity 1 (starter): Guess Who? and The History of the Commonwealth


Show the Commonwealth Introduction Powerpoint (1r1), pausing between slides. Ask students to identify the countries and then guess the connection between them using the hints. Each answer is on the next slide but you can take these out if students might see the answers too early. If you wanted this task to be a little more competitive you could divide the class into teams and score them on correct answers.

The Powerpoint (1r1) then goes on to describe a brief history of the Commonwealth. Tell students that they should imagine they are a group of investigators or detectives trying to find out what the Commonwealth is and what it does. Therefore during the historical part of the Powerpoint they will need to take some notes so they understand a little about the origins of the Commonwealth. Students for whom note-taking is difficult could write key words as memory prompts. » You could have individual students read out the Powerpoint slides or you could read them and clarify any challenging elements with a short class discussion.

1 r1

» Activity 2: Investigators and Detectives: What does the Commonwealth do?


Divide students into teams of four to six. Give out a set of Commonwealth Activity Information Sheets (1r2) to each group – this will work best if they are printed onto big sheets of paper. You could also put them up as posters around the classroom. Write the questions on the board from the Student Investigator Sheets (1r3) or give out copies to students. As above, ask students to think of themselves as investigators or detectives who have been tasked to find out what the modern Commonwealth does.

They must read the Information Sheets (1r2) between them and find the answers to the questions (1r3). If students have access to the internet they could also investigate the websites identified on each Information Sheet (1r2). After 10 minutes, ask students to choose a team member to report back to the class on what they found out: for example, you could ask each team in turn to report back on a different question from the question sheet. One student could be offered the role of Manager of the Detective Agency, keeping everyone on task.

1 r2 1 r3

LESSON 1 PAGE 2 OF 3 © Royal Commonwealth Society |

1 43

Co mm on we al th SC HO OL RE SO UR CE S » Lesson 1 » Suggested time allowance for activities

» Activity 3: Future Leaders of the Commonwealth


Ask students to think of themselves as potential future leaders of the Commonwealth. They have been presented with a number of possible ideas for the future of the Commonwealth and have to choose the best ideas and formulate a proposal towards a stronger Commonwealth and a better world.

Give out the Future Leaders Card Sort (1r4) (either already cut up or with scissors for students to do so) and ask them to do the following (you could leave out (a) if time is limited): a » Categorise the ten cards into the following core themes of the Commonwealth: diversity, development, democracy. Are any of them difficult to categorise? Which category has more cards? [NB there are no right or wrong answers for this task: it’s to get students thinking about the meanings of the three core areas] b » Discard the three cards you think are least important and then add two ideas of your own on the blank cards. c » Rank the nine cards into a diamond shape according to how good you think the ideas are. This could perhaps be based on how much you think they would help the Commonwealth develop (how idealistic they are); or on whether you think the ideas would feasibly work in practice (how realistic they are). [NB see right for an illustration of a diamond ranking]

Best 2nd 3rd

2nd 3rd


3rd 4th


d » Identify the top three cards in your ranking. If you have time, write these out into a half-page proposal for the future of the Commonwealth, expanding on each idea and explaining how they might fit together to work towards a better world. If you are proud of your proposal see if you can share it with the class, explaining your choices and any new ideas you may have put forward. After giving the students ten minutes or so to categorise and rank the ideas, come up with their own suggestions and then write their proposals, ask the class for volunteers to read out or summarise their choices and / or proposals. See if the class can come to a consensus about their top three ideas.

1 r4

» Activity 4: Commonwealth Board Race A board race is where students line up in two teams in front of the board.


The first student in each team needs a board pen.

When you say ‘go!’» these two students run up to their side of the board, write down a word or phrase connected to the Commonwealth and then pass the pen to the next person in line and go to the back of the queue. The next person then runs to the board and writes another word or phrase connected to the Commonwealth (words and phrases cannot be repeated) and runs to the back, passing the pen on to the next person. When you say ‘stop!’» they have to stop running to the board: any answers written after that should be excluded from the count. Go through both the team entries and strike out any repetitions or words / phrases unconnected with the Commonwealth, or any written after you said ‘stop!’. Then count up the number of correct entries and the team with the highest number wins!

View p3-20

CommonGround guide

1 44

LESSON 1 PAGE 3 OF 3 © Royal Commonwealth Society |

1r1 Co mm on we alt h Int ro du ct ion Pow er poi nt » Resource » Please view powerpoint presentation supplied on resource disk

» Guess Who powerpoint presentation RESOURCE 1r1 PAGE 1 OF1 © Royal Commonwealth Society |

1 r2 45

Co mm on we al th SC HO OL RE SO UR CE S » Lesson 1r2 » Commonwealth Activity Information Sheets

What is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is group of 54 countries who work together for their common good, promoting ideas such as diversity, development and democracy.

How does the Commonwealth work? ►Every two years, Commonwealth leaders (for example, Prime Ministers and Presidents or their representatives) meet to discuss issues affecting both the Commonwealth itself, and the wider world. ► The meeting is called a CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) and it is hosted by a different Commonwealth country each time. ► The decisions made shape Commonwealth plans for the next two or three years. ► Decisions are normally reached by consensus (with the agreement of all) and, at the end of the meeting, a series of statements are issued on behalf of all leaders. ► All states have the same opportunity to speak, so a small island state such as St Lucia or Tonga can voice their opinion in the same way as a large country like Canada or India. ► Many other meetings take place between Commonwealth government ministers at different times. These focus on particular issues, such as education, health, and economic development.

The Commonwealth Secretariat

• It is the job of the Commonwealth Secretariat to take forward plans developed at Commonwealth meetings. • The Commonwealth Secretariat is rather like the civil service of the Commonwealth. This means it organises all the major Commonwealth meetings; it gives advice and support to member states; and runs programmes to help Commonwealth countries. • Commonwealth Secretariat programmes range from training midwives in Malawi to helping conserve rainforests in Guyana. • The Secretariat is based in London at Marlborough House. • The present Head of the Commonwealth is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. However, the Commonwealth Secretariat is led by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who must ensure that decisions agreed at Commonwealth meetings are properly carried out. • The Secretary-General must be impartial (not favouring one country above another), putting the needs and interests of the Commonwealth as a whole before those of individual member states. The holder of the post is chosen by all the Commonwealth Heads of Government for one or two four-year terms. • Secretary-Generals have come from all over the world, including India, Canada, Guyana, Nigeria and New Zealand. • The Secretariat also coordinates the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) which is responsible for suspending members if they violate the principles of the Commonwealth. The group is made up of a rotating group of Foreign Ministers from nine Commonwealth states. • An important part of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s work focuses on young people, who make up over half of the Commonwealth’s population. The Commonwealth Youth Programme has offices in Guyana, the Solomon Islands, Zambia and India, as well as in London

1 r2 46

RESOURCE 1r2 PAGE 1 OF 3 © Royal Commonwealth Society |

rce 1r2

Commonwealth Activity Information Sheets » Resou » Commonwealth Activity Information Sheets continued...



15 December 2010



t was a day for ceremony and celebration in Chandigarh, India, on 15 December, as the Commonwealth’s newly-elected youth leadership took their oaths in an hour-long Installation Ceremony presided over by the Commonwealth Secretariat Deputy Secretary-General. The eight new youth representatives read their code of conduct in the presence of their peers, Commonwealth Youth Programme Staff and the media. Together they pledged to work according to the principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, leadership, professionalism and political neutrality. The Deputy Secretary-General told them: “We hope you will make a critical difference in youth leadership and advocacy in the Commonwealth.”

Rebecca Solomon from Vanuatu (left) and Deputy Secretary -General Masire-Mwamba (right)

The Deputy Secretary-General then initiated the traditional candle lighting ceremony, signifying hope. The Commonwealth’s Youth Caucus seeks to promote meaningful engagement of young people in the planning and decision-making process of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP). The five-day conference is being hosted by the CYP Asia Office based in Chandigarh, India. The theme for the meeting is ‘Our Year, Our Voice’.

TH E 54 Co mm on we al th me mb er s CO UN TR IES ar e.. . ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA






















































RESOURCE 1r2 PAGE 2 OF3 © Royal Commonwealth Society |

1 r2 47

Co mm on we al th SC HO OL RE SO UR CE S » Lesson 1r2 » The Commonwealth Family The Commonwealth has a wide network of organisations that work in the 54 member countries, in order to promote shared goals and values. They work at local, national, regional or international levels and play crucial roles in policy, political or social aspects of Commonwealth life. Here are a few examples: Commonwealth Foundation

This organisation helps civil society (trade unions, NGOs, professional associations and other similar not for profit organisations) express their voice to governments around the Commonwealth in the promotion of democracy, development and diversity. It runs the Commonwealth People’s Forum, which is a meeting held once every two years just before the CHOGM to bring key issues facing people around the Commonwealth to the attention of the member countries’ Heads of State. The issues are presented to Heads in a joint statement on behalf of all participating organisations. The Commonwealth Foundation also runs a number of prizes to promote diversity and cultural understanding. These include the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Commonwealth Short Story Awards and Commonwealth Connects, an international exchange programme for artists and crafts people. The Foundation also supports civil society through the provision of small grants, totalling over £1 million a year. Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP)

This organisation runs an international programme under which Commonwealth member governments offer scholarships and fellowships (funding) for citizens of other Commonwealth countries to study and work at their universities. Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)

This organisation is responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Games is a multi-sports event which is held once every four years for members of the Commonwealth. It is often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’. The CGF also runs the Commonwealth Youth Games which are held every four years and are open to competitors between 14 and 18. The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) and

The RCS is the oldest and largest civil society organisation in the Commonwealth Family. It is a charity that aims to promote understanding of international issues and the Commonwealth. The RCS helps to coordinate a celebration for Commonwealth Day, which is on the second Monday of March each year, and each year has a different theme. It also runs a wide range of programmes for young people around the world. Here is just one example… CASE STUDY » Competitions for Young People Around the Commonwealth Essay Competition: Every year, the Commonwealth Essay Competition inspires thousands of young writers from all over the world. This international student writing contest has been running for over 100 years - the world’s oldest and largest - and is a highly regarded and popular international education project. Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or under, the Essay Competition offers young people the opportunity to make their voice heard on a global platform, encouraging students to engage with issues which are important to them. Photographic and Vision Awards: The Commonwealth Vision Awards promote excellence in filmmaking and photography. Open to anyone in the Commonwealth under the age of 30 with a keen interest in visual media and with some excellent prizes on offer. Find out more at

View p18-20 CommonGround guide

1 r2 48

RESOURCE 1r2 PAGE 3 OF 3 © Royal Commonwealth Society |

St ud en t Inv est iga to r Sh ee ts » Resource 1r3 » Commonwealth Detectives

Who is the He ad Commonweal of the th? Draw a quick picture of this person if you can!

ked es and you have been tas You are a team of detectiv onwealth does. to find out what the Comm team members’ skills to your » Make sure you use all you can! fill in as many boxes as When is Commonwealth Day? What is CHOGM? at? the Commonwealth Secretari Where is the headquarters of h People’s Forum?

What is the Commonwealt


wealth Games How often are the Common Games held? and the Youth Commonwealth mes What are the three core the ich wh , alth we on of the Comm all start with D? rt in the Royal At what ages can you take pa etitions for Young People? mp Co Commonwealth Society’s Commonwealth? tes violate the principles of the sta er mb me if ns pe hap at Wh pledge to follow? mmonwealth Youth Leaders Which principles do the Co

What does the CSFP do?

alth How does the Commonwe s? ion make decis

nd interesting Commonwealth have you fou Which other facts about the or surprising?

s Student Investigator 1r3

Commonwealth Detective

RESOURCE 1r3 PAGE 1 OF 1 © Royal Commonwealth Society |

1 r3 49


1 r4 The Commonwealth tries to do too much with limited resources. It should focus on a small number of goals.

The people of every Commonwealth country need to be more involved in the work of the Commonwealth (more work should be done at the grass-roots level).

+ Add an idea of your own

The Commonwealth needs more funding and more staff. It also needs to spend its money wisely and efficiently.

+ Add an idea of your own

The Commonwealth should do more to make sure things stay calm and safe whenever countries are experiencing civil unrest or instability.

Communication between different Commonwealth organisations needs to be improved.

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth needs to be better known.

You have been presented with a number of possible ideas for the future of the Commonwealth and have to choose the best ideas and formulate a proposal towards a stronger Commonwealth and a better world.

» Think of yourself as a potential future leader of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Secretariat should move from the UK to a different Commonwealth country. This will let people know that Britain is no longer in charge and is just another member.

The Commonwealth needs its own radio station to share with the world its talents and diversity and any useful news.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings should set clear targets for all members and check Commonwealth countries are keeping their promises.

HM Queen Elizabeth II should stop being the Head of Commonwealth and the job should go to someone from outside the UK.

Fu tu re Lea de rs Ca rd So rt » Resource 1r4


© Royal Commonwealth Society |

the Royal Commonwealth Society Lesson 1 Resources 1- 4 Blue  

the Royal Commonwealth Society Lesson 1 Resources 1- 4 Blue

the Royal Commonwealth Society Lesson 1 Resources 1- 4 Blue  

the Royal Commonwealth Society Lesson 1 Resources 1- 4 Blue