jack lang - gough whitlam
DEMOCRACY? AT WORK?
1. The context
The context of this WebQuest is Topic 6 Social and Political Issues from the 1970s to the 1990s, 1975 constitutional crisis which is one of the designated topics for the School Certificate Reference Test. It also forms part of the new 2003 Syllabus Topic 7, Sections B and C.
2. The purpose
The purpose of the this WebQuest is to encourage students to see political events such as these from perspectives different to those of their socio-economic background so that, as budding historians, they may come to develop a more open mind capable of making their own assessment based on the information researched.
3. The duration
The computer-based research part of this WebQuest is designed to take no more than 3 x 45 minute periods but the length of time allocated will depend on programming, access to computers and general time constraints. It can be shortened by the removal of the investigation into What is meant by Democracy in Australia today, which could be dealt with in a preliminary class-based lesson using the resources provided.
The assessment task should be draft written in a fourth class period with a final copy being completed at home, if possible. However, consideration should be given here to the fact that you want the student's work and not someone else's and, therefore, completing the work in class is perhaps best.
4. Assessment and other opportunities
Assessment of the task has been limited to the research and writing side, however, there are other opportunities possible with this task. You may prefer to run it as a debate with the students having to submit their findings and then creating the sides of the debate on the basis of their written tasks.
Depending on the students, you may wish to investigate more of the personalities involved or, actually, get into the debate about who was right and who was wrong.
A natural extension to this task is to debate the issue of the Republic. There is no doubt that questions about the role of the Governor and Governor General will arise but, as both have their position clearly delineated in the constitutions, this should, naturally, lead to discussions about the role of the Queen and her representatives and what would happen if she and her representatives were removed from the political arena in Australia.
5. Extension students
If you have extension students they could be asked to take on this last question about the role of the Queen and her representatives and what would happen if they were removed and Australia moved towards a republic (these ideas, by the way, are not mutually inclusive or exclusive - we do not have to remove the Queen to have a republic nor do we have to have a republic if we remove the Queen). The extension students could debate this issue.
6. Life Skills students
Resources have been supplied which will be manageable by most Life Skills students. However, the addition of text from textbooks such as Experience of Nationhood and RetroActive 2 would give these students sufficient background for them to come to a simplified conclusion.
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