I’ve been developing an idea concerning everyday life decision-making, to be executed in a form of a simulation during a series of consecutive school lessons. In general the dilemmas with simulations are, in my experience, that they offer a venue first and foremost for enthusiasts. For instance I’ve been a part of couple European parliament simulations in which we dealt with vast issues like youth unemployment and democratic deficit. Moreover, the simulations were thematically linked to an intergovernmental organisation that might feel distant to young pupils.
That’s why I’ve been thinking about a simulation that would be more ‘down to earth’ and better connected with the pupils’ everyday life. The grand idea behind this kind of simulation is that instead of teaching (or preaching) about the importance of various democratic approaches and voting in general level, we would offer pupils a chance to gather experience firsthand how decision-making could work — though a pragmatic case example.
How often you see a teacher asking what would the pupils like to be taught about? Teachers might teach the importance of certain ‘democracy’, but how much of that you see realized inside a class room? Teaching is still unneccessarily fixed on formal politics where individual’s opportunities to influence are quite limited. Therefore, through simulation we would be empowering individuals so that they might realize they have a say and an actual effect how things play out.
This particular simulation would aim to 1) create greater inclusion, 2) focus on practical issues, 3) improve empathy,
4) develop negotiation and argument skills.
Everyday life decision-making
- Concentrates on practical issues, for instance deciding about something related to school or its surroundings
- Something to ponder about: Could pupils design a lesson? How much freedom should pupils have?
- The simulation starts from selecting an everyday topic
(if it would impossible to choose, teacher could help to choose a topic)
- Lesson continues with selecting roles: each individual/pair etc. would either represent an interest group (empathy practice) or just be themselves (argument practice)
- Then everyone would prepare arguments based on the choice made during the previous phase and gather material to help to form an opinion
- We would discuss, debate, agree/disagree and perhaps ultimately reach a compromise on the agenda
Finally, I still argue that schools should do much more to improve inclusive teaching. Too many pupils feel left out e.g. when a teacher designs lessons. If we never include pupils in teaching why should they care to participate later on?