Ted's teaching tips;The Big Picture

28th May 1999 at 01:00
The issue of "citizenship", an official school subject from 2002, is in the news. This picture offers opportunities to reflect on power in our society.

Parliament This picture shows an endangered species. Where can it be found (threat to abolish or reform House of Lords)? What does Parliament do (make laws, run country)? What are its two main parts and what do they do (Commons, has most real power; Lords, has much less power)? Who finally agrees a law (Queen signs it, but acting as "constitutional monarch", not like powerful Henry VIII or Elizabeth I)?

Democracy What does "democracy" mean (rule by the people; Greek "demos" = people)? How did we become a democracy (historic events reduced powers of monarch, for instance, Magna Carta reined in King John; "universal suffrage", introduction of voting for all).

Voting Will you vote when you're 18? Why do many 18 to 25-year-olds not vote? When and why do we vote (Parliamentary, local and European Parliament elections)? Do you know the name of your MP or local councillor? Why not invite them to your school?

Debating Pretend you are the House of Commons; debate formally, with speakers for and against: "To protect the countryside, more houses should be built in towns."

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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