Co mm on we al th SC HO OL RE SO UR CE S » Lesson 3 » Democracy and 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
1 » What does it mean for a country to be democratic? 2 » What does the Commonwealth do to promote democracy? 3 » What can I do to make a difference? Students will be able to: a » Define at least two key terms associated with democracy. b » Explain what is meant by Election Observation Missions. c » Identify at least one activity they themselves could take part in to help take action around issues of diversity, development or democracy. Key processes: Research; understanding rights and responsibilities; feeling empowered to make a difference; active involvement in the community (local and global); an interest in global issues and current affairs.
concepts / terms
Commonwealth | Democracy | Commonwealth | election | government | media | citizen action | peaceful communities | election observation missions | civil society | having a voice.
Activity 1 (starter): Democracy Dominoes (Defining Key Terms)
Activity 2: Election Observation Missions (COGs): Detective Agency (research task)
Activity 3: Messages from Commonwealth Leaders (Preparing to take action)
Activity 4 (plenary): What could I do to make a difference? (Postcard pledge)
activities and links to learning outcomes
Homework or extension tasks
» Activity 1 (starter) could be a group assessment (seeing which groups finish their dominoes chain first) or an individual peer- or teacher-assessment (students write out the entire paragraph). » Activity 2 could be a group assessment in which marks are given to students for their research skills, or the Detective Sheets could be collected and marked individually (or peer assessed in class) if given out to every student. » Activity 4 could be finished for homework then collected in and individually assessed. » Activity 1 (starter): This task can be designed as a task for smaller groups or for the whole class, depending on how confident students might be to call out in class. You can play a game of dominoes with the whole class in which they compete with others to call out the right definitions for the key terms. If you would prefer them to work in groups, you can divide the class into groups of around five students and give them a set of dominoes (3r1) per group, which they have to put into the right order before you call out ‘stop!’ » To make Activity 1 even more challenging you could cut up each individual key term and definition and ask students to match them all up from scratch. » Activity 2: The two sheets have a range of information with the first page being most accessible and the second being more challenging. Groups can work out how to allocate the questions between them to support each other and make most efficient use of their time. » Activity 3: Teachers can support and challenge students through their questioning as part of this activity, for example asking students to give their opinion in relating to more complex ideas. You could ask students to: » Film or record an advert for the Commonwealth’s Election Observation Missions, or use online tools to make posters or video adverts. » Note down and finish answering the questions on the Commonwealth Leader Messages Powerpoint (3r4) . » Find and read autobiographical literature written by past and present Commonwealth Heads of Government, such as Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’. » Find out how to take part in one or more of the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Commonwealth youth programmes: for example, the essay or film-making competitions – and take part! (details on Activity 4 description) LESSON 3 PAGE 1 OF 3
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Co mm on we al th SC HO OL RE SO UR CE S » Lesson 3 » Democracy and the Commonwealth continued... Resources needed
» Activity 1 (starter): Democracy Dominoes cards (3r1) (one domino for each student in the class, or one set for each group of around five students) » Activity 2: Election Observation Mission Sheets (3r2) (one to each group of threefour students); Detectives Sheet (3r3) (one for each student or group of three-four students); computers and internet access for each group if available; » Activity 3: Commonwealth Leader Messages Powerpoint (3r4) » Activity 4: Blank Postcards (one for each student)
» Suggested time allowance for activities
» Activity 1 (starter): Democracy Dominoes
Each domino card (3r1) contains a key term and a definition that doesn’t match that term.
The object is to form a chain of key terms and their definitions and therefore complete the whole paragraph about democracy. There are two ways to play the game: Either: a » Get students into groups of around five and give each group a cut-up set of dominoes (3r1). They have to work out the term that matches each definition and get themselves into a line or a circle to read out the terms and definitions to you in order when you call out ‘stop!’. If they have time they could write down the entire paragraph they have formed using the dominoes and this could be peer- or teacher- assessed. Or: b » Give out a different domino card (3r1) to each individual or pair of students around the classroom. Ask a student with the ‘Democracy’ domino to read out their word and get a student with the matching definition (‘where power is in the hands of the people…’) to read it out, then they have to give their domino key term and someone else supplies the definition, and so on until all the cards have been read out. You may have to give some hints or prompts, such as the start of the definition, if students are unsure, particularly to get the ball rolling. » If you give out more than one set of dominoes, students can compete to call out r1 the definitions before the other student(s) with that card.
» Activity 2 (starter): Detective Agency: What are Election Observation Missions?
Divide students into teams of three to four. Give out a set of Election Observation Mission Sheets (3r2) to each group – this will work best if they are printed onto big sheets of paper. Write the questions on the board from the Detective Sheets (3r3)or give out copies, either to individual students or one for each group (again, on a big sheet of paper if possible).
Ask students to think of themselves as detectives who have been tasked to find out what Election Observation Missions are and how the Commonwealth is involved in these. They must read the Election Observation Mission Sheets (3r2) between them, fill in the blanks on the first sheet and find the answers to the questions on the Detective Sheets (3r3). If students have access to the internet they could also investigate the websites identified on the Election Observation Mission Sheets (3r2). After 15 minutes or so, 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. »O ne student could be offered the role of Manager of the Detective Agency, keeping everyone on task and/or coordinating their responses at the end.
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Co mm on we al th SC HO OL RE SO UR CE S » Lesson 3 » Suggested time allowance for activities
» Activity 3: Messages from Commonwealth Leaders Display the Commonwealth Leader Messages Powerpoint (3r4) and ask individual students to read each one out in turn. After each message there are a few questions that you could either ask students to write down their answers to, or note down to answer for homework. » If you have time, you could have a class discussion around each question slide. If you run out of time, choose your favourite quote and focus only on that slide. Encourage students to consider that all the messages are from men. » Does this reflect the different percentages of men and women who are in leadership positions around the world? » What about in students’ own country: are there gender imbalances? » How can we work to reduce these?
» Activity 4 (plenary): Postcard Pledges / Messages to Leaders
Ask students to consider their ideas for the final slide. They could think of an action that would make a difference to democracy, diversity and/or development. Even very small actions such as using less electricity or taking fewer car journeys to reduce carbon emissions could make a big difference. Encourage students to think in the long term: could they make a difference through their career choices? In the shorter term, they could begin by writing letters, joining internet campaigns and teaching others about the issues. » Can they name any of the decision makers in their country or region? » How could they influence the decisions these individuals take? Throughout this two- or three-minute discussion, try to steer the group to consider the value of giving their viewpoint in writing, to select someone they think it would be useful to write to, and to consider what they would write.
Distribute a blank postcard to each student. Challenge students to do one of the following: a » Write a postcard pledge describing the action(s) you individually are going to take to make a difference; or: b » Write a postcard message to a person in power outlining what they should do to make the world a better place and how they could go about getting this done. Encourage students to write down their postcard pledge / message in five minutes. Decide as a class what to do with the postcards: for example, you could display the pledges around the classroom and students who wrote postcard messages could post them to a person who can take direct action on these issues. » Give students confidence that they can make a difference, even if it is through very small steps. If they are stuck for ideas you could point them to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ‘Get Involved’ website: www.un.org/millenniumgoals/getinvolved.shtml, which contains lots of ideas for actions and campaigns. » If you are able to organise this, you could also ask students to teach something they have learned in these lessons to a group of younger students. » You could also encourage students to get involved with the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Competitions for Young People Around the Commonwealth: the Essay Competition, the Vision Awards (film-making) and the Photographic Awards. See the Royal Commonwealth’s website: www.thercs.org for more details.
View p22-23 CommonGround guide
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Citizen action Corrupt Election Observers
…who are people sent by an independent organisation to check that elections are run fairly, so everyone can live together in democratic and…
…which is the body that organises how the country or area is run, and is held accountable by parliament, the courts and by the journalists of the…
…which is the name for a person in power who steals or cheats. In order to make sure this does not happen in elections, they can be inspected by…
…which are communities (groups of people) who live together without fighting.
…which is then collected and all the papers are counted up. The parties or groups with the highest numbers of votes generally form the…
…which usually means writing down, in secret, the person they would like to choose, on a…
…which is when people do things to try to change society, for example writing letters to their political representatives who they hope will not be…
…which is a process in which people in an area (called a constituency) choose their leader by…
…which is the main way for people to find out information about what is happening in society, and to advertise the ways in which they are taking…
…where power is in the hands of the people. In a representative democracy, citizens decide who is going to represent them through an……
De mo cr ac y Do mi no es » Resource 3r1
» Democracy Dominoes - ANSWERS
Democracy…where power is in the hands of the people. In a representative democracy, citizens decide who is going to represent them through an…Election …which is a process in which people in an area (called a constituency) choose their leader by…Voting …which usually means writing down, in secret, the person they would like to choose, on a…Ballot Paper…which is then collected and all the papers are counted up. The parties or groups with the highest numbers of votes generally form the…Government…which is the body that organises how the country or area is run, and is held accountable by parliament, the courts and by the journalists of the…Media…which is the main way for people to find out information about what is happening in society, and to advertise the ways in which they are taking… Citizen action…which is when people do things to try to change society, for example writing letters to their political representatives who they hope will not be…Corrupt…which is the name for a person in power who steals or cheats. In order to make sure this does not happen in elections, they can be inspected by…Election Observers… who are people sent by an independent organisation to check that elections are run fairly, so everyone can live together in democratic and…Peaceful communities …which are communities (groups of people) who live together without fighting.
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Ele ct ion Ob ser va tio n Mis sio n Sh ee ts » Resource 3r2 » Sheet 1: Introduction to Election Observation Missions Fill in the blanks on this sheet using the bold words below. Note: all words must be used at least once; some words can be used more than once!
Bribery • offering money or gifts to someone in return for a dishonest act. Candidate • a person who has put him- or herself forwards to represent people in an election. Civil Society • organisations like charities, faith groups and unions that represent peoples’ views and are separate from governments and businesses. Commonwealth Observer Group • an independent group of people, asked by the Commonwealth Secretariat to observe an election to make sure it is being done fairly. Corrupt • dishonest. Credible • believable, truthful, honest. Democracy • where power is in the hands of the people. Election • an event where people vote to choose politicians to represent their views and form a government. Election Observers • people sent by an independent organisation to check that elections are run fairly. Electoral Fraud • f or example, counting the votes wrongly to give advantage to the party who is losing; voting more than once, or pretending to be someone else to get an extra vote. Electoral Roll • list of names and addresses of all the people entitled (allowed) to vote in the election. Independent • someone who is not directly involved and who will try to avoid taking sides. Polling Station • a place where people go to vote in an election. Practical Recommendations • suggestions of actions that need to be taken. Representative • s omeone who stands in the place of a person or people to put across their views. Democracy A is a political system where the people choose politicians (in a similar way to how students might elect their School Council Members) to represent their views and form a government. This usually happens through an , in which anyone who is on the over a certain age can vote for the from the political party who has the most similar beliefs to their own or who they think will do the best job being their . It is important that elections are run fairly if a country wants to be truly democratic. has an important role to play in making sure that peoples’ opinions are heard. This will not be possible if its elections are plagued with practices such as or .
is when someone in a position of power gives or takes money or gifts in order to give them an unfair advantage over someone else. is when the votes in an election are tampered or interfered with in some way, for example, by counting the same person twice on the , pretending to be someone else when voting at the , harassing or intimidating people during an election, or not counting the votes properly. To help strengthen across the world, are sometimes asked to help make sure everything is done fairly during an . The Commonwealth was one of the first organisations in the world to start providing . When they are asked to provide this service, the Commonwealth Secretariat send an panel of people called a (COG) to watch their elections. They are asked to report on how and fair the elections were, for example, whether any corruption seemed to be happening, whether people of voting age were all allowed to vote freely and whether the result seemed to go against the strong wishes of the people. The COG report also contains to help improve the election arrangements for the future. RESOURCE 3r2 PAGE 1 OF 3 © Royal Commonwealth Society | www.thercs.org/youth
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Ele ct ion Ob ser va tio n Mis sio n Sh ee ts » Resource 3r2 » Sheet 2: More about Commonwealth Observer Groups It is my honour and privilege to have been asked to lead this Commonwealth Observer Group and to be here in Tanzania with my colleagues for these important elections. Democracy and good governance are core Commonwealth principles and ones which our Observer Group is tasked to promote and uphold. These elections are important for the people of Tanzania, as they elect their representatives, and it is therefore imperative that the electoral process is transparent, fair and credible. Our task, as the Commonwealth Observer Group, is to observe and report on relevant aspects of the organisation and conduct of the elections and also on the environment in which the elections are held.
Paul East QC
In conducting our duties and undertaking our assessment, we will be impartial, objective and independent. Commonwealth Observers are present here in their individual capacities as distinguished Commonwealth citizens. The team of Observers come from across the Commonwealth, and includes politicians, members of election commissions, and representatives of civil society, academia and the media. The conduct of peaceful, transparent and credible elections is vital.
» Highlights from a
Speech made by the Right Honourable Paul East QC, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group for the 2010 General Elections in Tanzania:
on the 2010 Notes from the COG’s reportia: General Elections in Tanzan peaceful. The campaign was generally
gnant women and less In some polling stations pre isted, but in others able voters were specifically ass they were not. ir finger after having Voters had ink applied to the g. However, in many voted to prevent double votin ar to check the fingers instances staff did not appetin g. of voters for ink prior to vorticipated in orderly and pa s ate did Presidential can h members of the lively televised discussions wit public.
» Some Guidelines for Commonwealth Observer Groups (COGs) COGs are never forced on countries against their will – they only go to elections where they have been invited by the Government or the election management body and where they have the broad support of the political parties and people of the country. COGs and their advisors spend some time in the country and make sure they report on the election as part of the whole democratic process and not just as a one day event. COGs don’t interfere in anything that goes on with the running of elections – they are only there to observe. COGs are made up of “eminent and highly experienced Commonwealth citizens drawn from countries familiar with democratic processes and institutions”. The above information came from the Commonwealth Secretariat website: www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/39079/election_observation and www.thecommonwealth.org/document/181889/34293/35144/231221/2010_tanzania_general_elections_arrival_statement.htm www.thecommonwealth.org/files/232431/FileName/FinalReport-TanzaniaCOG.pdf” http://www.thecommonwealth.org/ files/232431/FileName/FinalReport-TanzaniaCOG.pdf
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Ele ct ion Ob ser va tio n Mis sio n Sh ee ts » Resource 3r2 » Sheel 1 Answers: Democracy A is a political system where the people choose politicians (in a similar way to how students might elect their School Council Members) to represent their Election views and form a government. This usually happens through an , Electoral Roll in which anyone who is on the over a certain age can vote for the Candidate from the political party who has the most similar beliefs to their Representative own or who they think will do the best job being their . It is important that elections are run fairly if a country wants to be truly democratic. Civil Society has an important role to play in making sure that peoples’ opinions Corrupt are heard. This will not be possible if its elections are plagued with Electoral Fraud Bribery practices such as or . Bribery
is when someone in a position of power gives or takes money or Electoral Fraud gifts in order to give them an unfair advantage over someone else. is when the votes in an election are tampered or interfered with in some way, for example, Electoral Roll by counting the same person twice on the , pretending to be Polling Station someone else when voting at the , harassing or intimidating people during an election, or not counting the votes properly. Democracy To help strengthen across the world, Election Observers are Election sometimes asked to help make sure everything is done fairly during an . The Commonwealth was one of the first organisations in the world to start providing Election Observers . When they are asked to provide this service, the Commonwealth Independent Secretariat send an panel of people called a Commonwealth Observer Group Credible (COG) to watch their elections. They are asked to report on how and fair the elections were, for example, whether any corruption seemed to be happening, whether people of voting age were all allowed to vote freely and whether the result seemed to go against the strong wishes of the people. The COG report also contains Practical Recommendations to help improve the election arrangements for the future.
» For more information you could investigate the following websites: The Commonwealth Secretariat: www.thecommonwealth.org Transparency International: www.transparency.org International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA): www.idea.int The Commonwealth Foundation: www.commonwealthfoundation.com/Areasofwork/Governance/Citizenshipandparticipation Or check out the CommonGround booklet, especially pages 22 and 23
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De te ct ive Sh ee ts
» Resource 3r3
» Detective Sheets: Commonwealth Detectives
? What is a ballot box? What does ‘bribery’ mean
Draw a picture if you can.
What is ‘corruption’? What is a COG? Who are
the people in a COG?
t What are three differen to try t gh mi le ways peop tamper with elections? ght need more help to Which kinds of voters mi station and vote? be able to get to a polling put on their finger? Why would voters have ink ul East? principles according to Pa h alt we on mm Co re co What are some of the
contain? What does a COG report
nd? tion Missions have you fou rva se Ob on cti Ele t ou ab Which other facts
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De te ct ive Sh ee ts :
» Resource 3r3
» Detective Sheets: Commonwealth Detectives
Draw a picture if you can.
at is a ballot box? ibery’ mean? Wh What doesor‘br A box in which people put gifts to someone in return Offering money their ballot papers when they eone in a for a dishonest act / when som gifts vote in an election. or ey mon s take or s give er pow position of advantage over in order to give them an unfair else. eone som
on’? What is ‘corrupti bribery or electoral fraud. or cheat, for example through When people in power steal
in a COG? the people ion to COG? Whodare Secretariat to observe an electcitiz th What is agrou weal mon Com the by ens. aske p of people, Commonwealth
distinguished An independent commisy. The people in a COG arepolit icians, members of electionof make sure it is being done fairl de inclu and th, weal mon Com the made up “eminent are s COG ia. med They come from across the and society, academia tries familiar with democratic sions, and representatives of civil wealth citizens drawn from coun and highly experienced Common processes and institutions”
t What are three differen to try t gh mi le op ways pe tamper with elections?
toral Roll; the same person twice on the Elec Engaging in bribery; Countingwhen voting at the Polling Station; Harassing or else eone som be properly. Pretending to election; Not counting the votes intimidating people during an
ght need more help to Which kinds of voters mi station and vote? be able to get to a polling put on their finger? Why would voters have ink
Pregnant women and less able (e.g. disabled) voters
e person To prevent double voting (the sam voting twice)
according to Commonwealth principles What are some of the core
Democracy and good governance
contain? What does a COG report
ng, whether corruption seemed to be happenies of the people. , for example, whether anyed wish were ng ions stro elect the the nst fair agai go and to ible the result seem A report on how cred ed to vote freely and whether arrangements for the future. people of voting age were all allow tions to help improve the election enda mm reco tical prac ains It also cont
u found? rvation Missions have yo se Ob on cti Ele t ou ab ts Which other fac
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Ele ct ion Ob ser va tio n Mis sio n Sh ee ts » Resource 3r4 » Please view powerpoint presentation supplied on resource disk
» Commonwealth leader messages powerpoint presentation
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