POLITICAL PARTIES? WHY BOTHER? WHO CARES?
WHAT'S IT TO ME? DON'T I JUST TICK A BOX
AND HOPE FOR THE BEST?
A WebQuest for Stage 5 students
This is a bit of an odd webquest for it does not fall specifically into any discrete area of the NSW Syllabus though it is more relevant for other state syllabuses. At best it falls into the current Topic 7 and can be used as a starter for the debate on Republicanism.
Its main purpose is purely and simply to exercise the student's ability to research the internet and produce a graphic piece of work as a group using ICT. For many students that will not be easy and, for them, guidelines have been provided for them here and in their process step. Of course, as a side benefit, they learn about political parties and continue to develop their citizenship skills.
Three lessons of 45 minutes should be more than enough if there is a preliminary introduction and "setting of the scene". Also the division of the students into their groups should be done beforehand so that they have a day or so to get used to the idea of working with people they might not otherwise do - the purpose of working in groups.
The first lesson should be the reading through of the webquest, the decisions regarding who will do what and preliminary research.
The second lesson should be completion of research, drafting of inidividual material and group discussion of selected content.
The third lesson should be completion of content, both as individuals and in the group presentation.
However, you know your students best and should allocate time as it and resources are available.
The assessment guidelines have been kept deliberately general and you may choose to attach whatever marking system you wish.
However, the task could be expanded with inclass exercises including the presentation of the piece to the remainder of the class and a subsequent shortish writing task about the variety of parties available and what that says about our democratic system.
Obviously it could also be extended into the debate on the concept of Australia becoming a republic. This webquest is designed to give background understanding of the existence of a proliferation of political parties and the ease with which they can be formed as a background to that debate. It begs the question "What difference would a republic make to the existence of these parties?".
The Republican Party is one of the parties in this WebQuest and it may be possible to ensure that a group of extension students is given Group 3 and asked to develop a second pamphlet just on the Republican Party which can be reproduced for all students in the class as the catalyst for discussion on the possibility of a Republic for Australia.
LIFE SKILLS STUDENTS
Life Skills students will be able to complete parts of this task. They should be allocated to a group where there is a student who will encourage them to work alongside so that they can improve all their skills with peer support. Where this is not possible, perhaps where they are able to work either on their own or in a similarly skilled class, they should be encouraged to investigate the same information but only for the major parties. They should also then prepare a poster of their chosen party containing the same information required of the other students for the four parties.