In 2019 we received fabulous feedback about the Cards for Democracy.
They have been used in many training events, conferences as well as in various teaching contexts. Business coaches also took interest because the cards offer great potential for workplace learning and lifelong and lifewide education.
The activity we present here today was developed by Andriy Donets (Ukraine) and Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard (France) in 2019 and was tried and tested in Tbilisi with a group of teachers and teacher educators from Georgia, Moldova and the Ukraine.
This activity is meant for a lesson or session at the start of the year but it may be adapted for other purposes and contexts. It aims to help individuals focus on improvement by reflecting on the following questions:
Where do I stand?
Where do I want to stand tomorrow?
What can I do to get there?
Because it is based on improvement, the activity can also serve as a first step in an action research cycle.
Each player/participant gets 5 cards. The goal of the game is to trade cards with other players in order to have what we think is our ‘best hand’. You can give the following instruction:
‘Focus on the ‘future you’. What do you need to improve? In your hand, you have 5 cards describing behaviours. Now you have 10 minutes to trade cards with others until you feel that you have a good hand, the set of components you need to help you to develop into this future you” .
Let the participants play for 10 minutes or until everyone thinks they have their ‘best possible hand’.
Have participants individually choose (and note for future reference) 3 cards that they wish to keep in mind as ‘elements that they wish to improve in the year (or months, weeks) to come’. (5 minutes)
Gather participants in groups of 3. Have them identify 2 actions they will take to improve on each of the elements they have chosen. Each participant should have 6 actions noted (2 for each card/element they have chosen). (10 minutes)
I plan to approach three people in my entourage that I do not usually engage with because we have different opinions and styles, in order to have a conversation with them where I will be open to listening.
I will find someone who speaks a different language than I and do my best to engage in a discussion to understand something about this person’s unique history and how this history influences their worldview.
Engage the whole group in a conversation. You may use the questions provided below.
Suggested questions for different types of learners:
Did you end up with a good hand?
What were the hardest cards to get?
Did you get stuck with a card that you could not exchange?
Do you feel like the cards you had at the end characterize your future-self well?
What will you do to achieve this future-self?
Would you have wanted a different set of cards 2/5/10 years ago?
Is there a card that everyone wants? Why so?
Would you have wanted a different set before you started reflecting on education for democracy? What would have been different? Why?
What are the everyday practices and actions for implementing education for democracy in your classroom/school/workplace?
What do you foresee to be easy, what could be challenging?
What motivates colleagues/teachers/managers/parents/students to engage in the development of a democratic culture?
How could education for democracy influence the relationships between: a) students/teachers/leaders/the school community and the overall school atmosphere or b) colleagues/managers/employees in different services or locales and the overall atmosphere at work?
How can you help teachers, facilitators, school(s), communities or workplace teams to nurture a democratic culture?
How do your actions encourage others to change?
What else needs to be done to enhance changes and, most importantly, to make them sustainable?
What would you do differently if you started working with other/new contexts?
How are you motivating professionals to engage in more democratic interactions and cultures?
Tell participants to keep their 3 components and 6 actions for improvement and encourage them to plan to engage in these actions in the coming weeks/months. Plan a date to get together with your learners and assess their progress. You may find inspiration for how to do this here: My Journey: Student Teachers’ Self-Assessment with Cards for Democracy.
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