Story of Our Rights and Freedoms - Democratic Dissent

Story of Our Rights and Freedoms - Democratic Dissent

Lesson 3 of 5 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 8
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Civics and Citizenship
  • Social
  • Equality
  • Homelessness
  • Human Rights
  • Social Action
  • ...

Lesson summary

In this finding out lesson, students will watch a short video overviewing the concept of democracy, then outline their current understanding of democracy by completing the 3-2-1 Bridge visible thinking routine. In a role play class vote, students will consider the democratic right to vote, and what it feels like to be excluded from it. They will then work in groups to conduct in-depth research into two groups that struggled for the right to vote in Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and women. Students will present their findings to their peers, and connect the actions of these groups to the concept of democratic dissent.

Essential questions:

  • What is a democratic process?
  • How do democratic processes link to our rights and freedoms?
  • Who has the right to vote?
  • What is democratic dissent?

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 8 Civics and Citizenship:

  • The freedoms that enable active participation in Australia’s democracy within the bounds of law, including freedom of speech, association, assembly, religion and movement (ACHCK061
  • How citizens can participate in Australia’s democracy, including use of the electoral system, contact with their elected representatives, use of lobby groups, and direct action (ACHCK062

General capabilities: Literacy.

Cross-curriculum priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.

Relevant parts of year 8 achievement standards: Students analyse features of Australian democracy, and explain features of Australia’s democracy that enable active participation. They analyse issues about national identity in Australia and the factors that contribute to people’s sense of belonging. When researching, students investigate Australia’s political and legal systems and critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance. They explain different points of view on civics and citizenship issues. Students develop and present reasoned arguments on civics and citizenship issues using appropriate texts, subject-specific language and concepts.

Unit of work: Story of Our Rights and Freedoms – Year 8.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – present some brief scenarios to the class and pose some reflective questions.

Resources required

  • Student Worksheet – one copy per student
  • Device capable of presenting a video and webpage to the class
  • Women and the Right to Vote factsheet (enough for half of the class). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and the Right to Vote factsheet (enough for half of the class)
  • Web enabled devices (enough for one per pair)

Skills

This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Empathy

Additional info

Throughout the Story of Our Rights and Freedoms lessons, students will consider Civics and Citizenship concepts through a human rights lens. They will critically assess the Australian system of government and the effect that it has on our rights and freedoms.
There is no universally accepted definition of human rights, and our understanding is continually developing. Some definitions include:

  • The recognition and respect of peoples’ dignity
  • A set of moral and legal guidelines that promote and protect the recognition of our values, our identity and access to an adequate standard of living
  • The basic standards by which we can identify and measure inequality and fairness
  • Those rights associated with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

When we talk about human rights we usually refer to principles that have been agreed upon by countries throughout the world. These rights have been set down in international agreements and form part of international law. They can also be written into the domestic law of individual countries. Human rights cover virtually every area of human life and activity. These include:

  • Civil and political rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom from torture
  • Economic and social rights, such as the rights to health and education
  • Individual rights, including the right to a fair trial
  • Collective rights, or those rights that apply to groups of people, such as the right to a healthy environment or to live on one’s ancestral land.

The UDHR is an international document that recognises the basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 and marks a key milestone in the history of human rights. The Magna Carta, though limited in who it protected, was an important precursor to the UDHR.

Click here to watch a video about the Magna Carta.

You can view the entire text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the other core international human rights treaties, on the United Nation’s website or by downloading RightsApp (free from the iTunes App store).

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