Life Skills-a British Council project: Activity 3-Every vote counts

 

Giving our letter to the Town Council President.

Giving our letter to the Town Council President.

Global Citizenship means that as citizens of the world, we have responsibilities to each other and to the Earth itself. Whether through sharing knowledge, volunteerism, advocacy or philanthropy, everyone, including young people, can make a difference.

I always tell my students: “Participate in the global community – take steps to make the world a better place for everyone”.

Our third activity, started a week before the Greek National Elections and it was a great chance for me to teach citizenship and democracy!

Our suggestions to the Mayor....a draft...

Our suggestions to the Mayor….a draft…

In this third activity:

Students  organise and take part in a voting process.
Students:
•  participate actively in various decision-making
and voting processes;
•  discuss what is fair and unfair in different situations,
and realise that justice is fundamental to any democratic society
• comprehend their role in society
Print the role cards.

Our class "town council" !

Our class “town council” !

• We explain that we will be using democratic
decision-making methods in this activity.
We read the following story to the students:
A citizens’ group has sent a letter to your city’s
Municipal Council stating that the atmospheric pollution
has risen dramatically in recent years, making life in the city unbearable. They are therefore asking for traffic arrangements to be made to reduce the atmospheric pollution.

A citizen is  talking to the Mayor about the problems our town has been facing!

A citizen is talking to the Mayor about the problems our town has been facing!

The Mayor organises a public consultation and invites the representatives of the citizens groups which who made the complaint, citizens who use vehicles in the city centre and disagree with the traffic arrangements, as proposed by the first group, and representatives of environmental organisations. During the public consultation, each group has the opportunity to present its arguments and propose any amendments that will then be put to the vote.
• We split the students into 4 groups. We give each group a role card which they are asked to read carefully and prepare a presentation of their arguments and statements/proposals that does not exceed 3 minutes.
• The Municipal Council group is then asked to initiate the process. We support the setting up of the debate and voting process, but let the students take initiatives and coordinate.

Brainstorming!

Brainstorming!

• As soon as the debate and voting have ended, we invite the group to discuss the following questions:
a) Do you believe that the voting during the roleplay
was fair and democratic?
b) Did you recognize any real life situations during this activity?
c) How are decisions of this nature usually taken?
Do children have the right to express
their opinion or make choices?
d) In your group, were decisions usually
taken democratically?
Why, or why not?

Working hard to find solutions to problems!

Working hard to find solutions to problems!

Municipal Council
You are the Organisers of the Public Consultation.
• Set up the venue for the Public Consultation
• Define the order of and time allocated to the speakers
• Keep notes of the proposed statements/proposals that will then be put to the vote. Remember that you will be voting for statements/proposals, not for groups or speakers!
• Try to group the statements/proposals
so that there is no repetition

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• Come up with some proposed statements/proposals
of your own, since you also have the right to voice your opinion
and vote as citizens of this town
• Remember! Everyone has the right to vote!
• Don’t forget that, as the Municipal Council, you want to satisfy the majority on the one hand, but are also under pressure from the European Union which, according to European regulations,
is asking for a reduction of pollutants in all European cities
Add your own arguments
and the statements/proposals you are proposing

Busy groups of citizens...

Busy groups of citizens…

Citizen representatives – Drivers:
• Getting around the city on foot is difficult
• Public transport is not satisfactory
• We pay taxes, so we can thus use the city with no restrictions
Add your own arguments
and the statements/proposals you are proposing:

At the town Council , before the meeting with the Mayor.

At the town Council , before the meeting with the Mayor.

Citizen representatives:
• There are several health problems affecting you and your children due to the atmospheric pollution
• Life in the city has become unbearable. There is too much traffic and you see cars everywhere. Parked vehicles even block the pavements.
• The cars’ horns and noise pollution bother you
Add your own arguments
and the statements/proposals you are proposing:
Representatives of environmental organisations:
• Life in the city has become unbearable
• The smog is causing respiratory problems
• Car use increases environmental pollution
Add your own arguments and the statements/proposals
you are proposing

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What we added to this project was:

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1. Each group wrote two different letters to the Mayor and Municipal Council: one with the problems our town citizens have  been facing and a second one later with all their suggestions about how  to solve each one of them! I wanted to show them that it is much easier just to mention what’s wrong or missing in life than find practical solutions to our problems working collaboratively!

At the town Council

At the town Council

2.We decided to write a real letter with our final suggestions after the elections  and hand them to our hometown  new  Mayor ! We talked with  the  Town Council president and attended a municipal council meeting, too!

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And here’s the Mayor’s reply letter!! We are so proud!!

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