Democracy This module gives teachers and pupils tools to reflect about the meaning of issues referred to democracy, such as justice, tolerance...

Introduction

Background information and didactical perspective

Philosophy for Children (P4C) is an approach that was developed by Professor Matthew Lipman, who was influenced by educational psychologists and philosophers such as Vygotsky, Piaget and Dewey as well as by the tradition of Socratic dialogue. P4C builds on higher order thinking (critical, creative and caring thinking), inquiring, reasoning, listening and dialogical skills. Children are encouraged to create their own philosophical questions. The facilitator supports children in their own thinking, reasoning and inquiring, as well as in building on each other’s ideas in a dialogue. In P4C the facilitator fosters student-led discussions on philosophical questions. The role of the facilitator is crucial to ensuring quality dialogue and progress, as well as integration within the curriculum. It is well documented that P4C has an impact on children's cognitive, personal, social and emotional development. P4C encourages children as well as young adults to think for themselves and develop dialogical skills.

Learning outcomes

Competencies
critical thinking, creative thinking, reflective skills, inquiry skills, dialogical skills
Democracy
  • Suitable age
    10-14
  • Time frame
    11 x 60 min.
  • Required materials
    board/flip chart;
  • Description
    This module gives teachers and pupils tools to reflect about the meaning of issues referred to democracy, such as justice, tolerance...
  • Subjects / Topics
    Cosmopolitan issues

Lesson plan

Abbreviations:

  • A = Activity
  • D = Discussion
  • GW = Group work
  • HW = Homework
  • PW = Partnerwork
  • PTS = Previous Teacher’s Study
  • PO = Pupils opinions
  • PP = Pupil’s presentations
  • TP = Teacher’s presentation

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Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(10 min.)

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Distributive justice in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
  • Hand out a copy of each exercise to each student
Execution
  • Teacher hands out a copy of the exercise Distributive Justice to each pupil, then introduces the subject asking students to read the questions contained in the text
  • PTS
  • TP
M1
Leading idea “Distributive justice”
M2
Exercise “Distributive justice”

Main section
(5 min.)

  • Pupils should start reading the questions and think about them
  • PO

Discussion
(40 min.)

  • Teacher stimulates the discussion among pupils about the questions contained in exercise Distributive Justice inviting them to discuss with classmates the issues that they think are more relevant. Students do not need to answer all of them. The questions should create a philosophical dialogue and the teacher should always ask for the reasoning behind students’ answers (not allowing “yes” or “no” answers) to facilitate a critical thinking about the meaning of distributive justice
  • D
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(10 min.)

How can everybody eat?

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Distributive justice in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
  • Hand out a copy of each exercise to each student
Execution
  • Teacher divides the class in small groups and hands out a copy of exercise How can everybody eat? to each group. Then the teacher introduces the subject asking students to read the text contained in the exercise.
  • PTS
  • TP
M1
Leading idea “Distributive justice”
M3
Exercise “How can everybody eat?”

Main section
(15 min.)

  • As a group, students must try to find out a solution for the problem presented in How can everybody eat?, sharing their opinions and reflections
  • GW

Discussion
(30 min.)

  • Once the previous task is finished, the whole class discuss about each solution of the problem explaining the reasons of their choices
  • D
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(5 min.)

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Distributive justice in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
  • Hand out a copy of each exercise to each student
Execution
  • Teacher asks each pupil to write down a definition of the word ‘fairness’ (exercise Fairness). Under the definition he or she also has to provide some examples
  • PTS
  • TP
M1
Leading idea “Distributive justice”
M4
Exercise “Fairness”

Main section
(10 min.)

  • Students work individually writing definitions and examples
  • PO

Discussion
(20 min.)

  • The definitions and examples of the whole class will be compared and discussed
  • D
M4
Exercise “Fairness”

Discussion
(20 min.)

  • Teacher stimulates the discussion among pupils about the questions contained in exercise What is fair? Students do not need to answer all of them. The questions should create a philosophical dialogue and the teacher should always ask for the reasoning behind students’ answers (not allowing “yes” or “no” answers) to facilitate a critical thinking about the meaning of distributive justice
  • D
M5
Exercise “What is fair?”
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(5 min.)

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Distributive justice in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
  • Prepare a flip chart
Execution
  • Teacher writes on the flip chart the various situations presented in the text contained in exercise Cases of distributive justice
  • PTS
  • TP
M1
Leading idea “Distributive justice”
M6
Exercise “Cases of distributive justice”
Additional material
  • board/flip chart

Discussion
(45 min.)

  • Teacher invites students to reflect on whether, and in what sense, the situations written on the flip chart can represent cases of distributive justice and for which reasons
  • PO
  • D
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(5 min.)

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Right and wrong in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
  • Hand out a copy of each exercise to each student
Execution
  • Teacher hands out a copy of exercise Right and Wrong to each pupil and invites them to read the several examples contained in the text and to reflect whether each example is to be considered right or wrong
  • PTS
  • TP
M7
Leading idea “Right and wrong”
M8
Exercise “Right and wrong”

Main section
(15 min.)

  • The pupils share with the classmates their conclusionsexplaining the reasons for each choice and the criteria used for their judgment.
  • PO

Discussion
(40 min.)

  • Helped by the teacher, the students reflect whether a universal way to define what is right or wrong really exists, or if what is right or wrong changes depending on its context, historical time, or culture
  • D
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(10 min.)

Hot potato – right and wrong behaviours

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Right and wrong in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
  • Prepare a music player
  • Prepare a ball
  • Prepare a flip chart
Execution
  • Teacher introduces the activity as it is described in activity Hot potato - right and wrong behaviours
  • PTS
  • TP
M7
Leading idea “Right and wrong”
M9
Activity “Hot potato – right and wrong behaviours”
Additional material
  • board/flip chart
  • ball

Main section
(15 min.)

  • During the activity, the teacher takes notes on the flip chart of all the examples that the participants gave to designate right or wrong behaviors
  • A
Additional material
  • board/flip chart

Discussion
(30 min.)

  • When students end the activity, the teacher asks the participants to explain the reasons for their choices. It is likely that there will not always be an agreement and this could trigger a discussion
  • D
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(10 min.)

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Right and wrong in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
Execution
  • Teacher hands out a copy of exercise What are you going to do? to each pupil and invites them to read the several situations and think about them
  • PTS
  • TP
M7
Leading idea “Right and wrong”
M10
Exercise “What are you going to do?”

Discussion
(40 min.)

  • The students should debate with their classmates the reasons for choices and the criteria they used to make their decisions
  • D
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(5 min.)

The majority and the minority

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea The majority rule in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
Execution
  • Teacher introduces the subject of the activity as it is explained in leading idea The majority rule
  • PTS
  • TP
M11
Leading idea “The majority rule”
M12
Activity “The majority and the minority”

Main section
(15 min.)

  • The students put forward several proposals explaining the reasons for supporting one over the other.
  • A

Discussion
(40 min.)

  • The students discuss to identify two or three proposals and then put them to a vote. There will probably be one proposal chosen by the majority. Now the students ask each other why the other proposals were not voted for, and ask the people belonging to the minority whether they are in anyway satisfied with the final choice. If this is not the case, the majority will try to convince the others that the final choice is the right one. On the contrary, it may be the minority who convince the majority to repeat the vote in reference to the other proposals
  • D
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(10 min.)

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea The majority rule in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
Execution
  • Teacher divides students into two groups and asks each group to identify an issue to debate and solve, as it is explained in activity The assembly. The issue could be a real one, such as extending the time for the break between classes or when to plan exams. Each group will have to identify who is the recipient of the request (for instance, the principal in the case of the break, or a teacher in the case of exams) and choose a spokesperson
  • PTS
  • TP
M11
Leading idea “The majority rule”
M13
Activity “The assembly”

Discussion
(45 min.)

  • Each group should choose, not elect their spokesperson. This implies a preliminary discussion during which each group must explain the good reasons and criteria for the choice. Subsequently, each group will debate how to submit the request to its respective audience, what are the reasons they gave, and what are the expected outcomes. Later, every spokesperson will explain his or her group’s request to the other group as if he or she were speaking to the official addressee. Which spokesperson will succeed in correctly reporting what had been discussed during each group’s assembly?
  • A
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(15 min.)

  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Solidarity in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
Execution
  • Teacher hands out a copy of exercise Solidarity and exercise }Acts of solidarity to each pupil and invites them to read the several questions and think about them. He also invites them to think about the characters actions in }Acts of solidarity and identify the reasons that supported their actions
  • PTS
  • TP
M14
Leading idea “Solidarity”
M15
Exercise “Solidarity”
M16
Exercise “Acts of solidarity”

Discussion
(40 min.)

  • Helped by the teacher, the students reflect on the questions concerning rules and discuss them with the rest of the class.
  • A
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(10 min.)

Preparation
  • Teacher studies previously the leading idea Rules in order to have a guide to stimulate reflection in the students during the discussion raised by the exercise
  • Prepare a circle of chairs
Execution
  • Teacher hands out a copy of exercise Rules to each pupil and invites them to read the several questions and think about them
  • PTS
  • TP
M17
Leading idea “Rules”
M18
Exercise “Rules”

Discussion
(40 min.)

  • Helped by the teacher, the students reflect on the questions concerning rules and discuss them with the rest of the class
  • A