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Cards for Democracy Series

Learning from Conflicts

We have long talked about the use of Cards for Democracy and we have also brought practical examples of how they can be used in everyday life, especially in academic and institutional contexts.

In this article, I would like to report a real and contextualized case to everyday life.

The example in question starts from an episode that actually happened in a school and sees a problem that frequently occurs in these environments: conflicts.

Conflicts are not only are frequent in schools, but very often I have had the opportunity to confront teachers who report having problems in managing conflicts between students.

Before telling how cards can be useful in this context, let’s first take a look at the real case:

The story

Sam, a 16 years old pupil of the vocational school in grade 11, used to joke around with one other pupil of this class, Leon, in such a way that he pretended to be hitting him in his private parts.

That is, he made this sudden movement but never actually touched him.

Leon, more and more annoyed by this behavior, went to his friends and told them that he believed that “Jerry is gay”.

So, during break time one of these friends, Jo, went to Sam and said to him “I hear you’re gay and you like doing things to boys!”.

At which point Sam saw red and started a physical fight.

Other’s from the class intervened and stopped them from fighting.

The teacher convenes all to an activity with the cards.

A conflict is an opportunity to learn

Supported by the use of the C4D, each protagonist is given a card that corresponds to possible reflections linked to their behavior during the conflict.

Possible choice of cards to help in a situation of conflict: 

To learn more about this topic, I suggest you watch this speech entitled «Cards for ‘Democracy for All’ and ‘Cards for Democracy. Teachers Edition» held for The European Wergeland Center (EWC) where this and other practical cases are told:


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How to use Cards for Democracy: ideas to make the most of it

From Learn 2 Change’s Team


What are Cards for Democracy

Cards for Democracy for All are a set of 60 cards intended for all individuals, on their own and in groups. The cards help to reflect on our intention, and to nurture a disposition to examine and improve our attitudes, skills, knowledge and understanding to better contribute to creating democratic, collaborative spaces and improve our practices and behaviors for co-constructing a more just and happy society.

Cards for Democracy for All is a tool which was designed using evidence-based research in education and democracy, as well as communities of educators involved in action research. The development of this set of cards has involved 60 educators over a period of six years; this ambitious project is therefore not simply a card game, but a data and reflection-backed tool to experiment with elaborating on our capacity for living democratic values.

How to use Cards

With the Cards for Democracy (C4D) you can develop your democratic skills by engaging in activities and playing games. C4D help us move forward for the “participation of every human being in the formation of values that regulate how we live together” (Dewey, 1937).

Democracy matters and requires careful nurturing. It can be uplifting to experience how the values we hold dear take many shapes in our lives. We often hold key democratic values but can struggle to turn these into a lived reality. These cards help us explore, understand and reflect on democratic values and actions at an individual and collective level.

To help you use the cards, there are several possible canvases you can use!

A canvas is a form, or a framework in which an ensemble of activities are gathered towards a goal. These canvases are intended to help you find inspiration to create your own activities or to be implemented into a wider context. Canvases are rated on a scale indicating their complexity, ranging from one thought bubble (simple) to three thought bubbles (complex).

Canvas 1: Explore in dialogue
You can simply pick one card randomly, read it, reflect on its significance individually and engage in learning conversations.

Canvas 2: Design your lessons and training
The cards can be used at the beginning of the design process to think about learning outcomes we wish to reach in a course.

Canvas 3: Experience others’ and share your practice
With these cards peers can exchange how they are practicing the cards in real-life and reflect on possible futures with them.

Canvas 4: Mapping and learning
During and after a training sequence, the cards help to collectively gain awareness of what has been learnt, individually and inside the group, or classroom.

Canvas 5: Full course design
Trainers and teachers can use the cards to design longer-term, more structured learning sequences with complex stages and development plans.

Canvas 6: Evaluation and assessment
Using the cards as learning outcomes, they can be used in the beginning of a course, lesson or training to assess ‘where I’m at’ and then be used during or after the sequence to revisit ‘where I’m at’ in order to tag progression.

Canvas 7: Personal development
More experienced trainers, teachers can use the cards with learners to build a longitudin a documentation of learning progressions, through portfolios for example.

Canvas 8: Self-assessment
These cards can be used individually to assess ‘where I’m at’ and help identify ‘what I need to develop further’.

Canvas 9: Gamification
Many games, both cooperative and competitive, are designed using the cards to make for fun and memorable moments in group learning.

Canvas 10: Digital learning
The cards are easy to share, pick and mix, match and map which make them very adaptable to online training and teaching.

Canvas 11: Conflict resolution and bias reduction
The cards may be harnessed towards more complex interpersonal situations and contexts, to help protagonists understand and change the situation.

In what situations can the Cards be used?

The cards are used in all manners of situations:
● with children and youth, adults;
● in professional development, and management;
● by political groups.

Who are looking to increase democratic citizenship and participation, to support reflection around
moments of important decision-making, and even to improve workplace relationships and processes
for better common good.

We hope you will enjoy this resource! If you do, we encourage sharing it with other interested individuals and collectives to increase the tool’s visibility.

For more inspirational ideas on how to use the cards, frequently check out our website, the Pestalozzi Community of Practice, or the Cards for Democracy Facebook group.

Resources will be regularly shared for download. We share our resources in the commons and invite our communities to engage and send feedback in reciprocity.

If you wish to go further, and benefit from training, school development, coaching or any personalized use of the cards, kindly contact us at


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Cards for Democracy for All

By Learn 2 Change’s Team



Democracy is much broader than a special political form, a method of conducting government, of making laws and carrying on governmental administration… It is that, of course. But it is something broader and deeper than that. It is… a way of life, social and individual.

DEMOCRACY is a right and also a struggle. Each and everyone of us can develop our:

  • Creative possibilities to imagine a ethical and just society;
  • Willingness to act for the society we wish to live in;
  • Agency to change our environments with our vision in mind.

“The key-note of democracy as a way of life may be expressed as the necessity for the participation of every mature human being in formation of the values that regulate the living of men together”

J. Dewey, Democracy and Educational Administration, in School and Society (1937)

What are Cards for Democracy?

Cards for Democracy for All are a set of 60 cards intended for all individuals, on their own and in groups. The cards help to reflect on our intention, and to nurture a disposition to examine and improve our attitudes, skills, knowledge and understanding to better contribute to creating democratic spaces and improve our practices and behaviors for co-constructing a more just and happy society.

It all starts with me!

  • What are my values? Are they democratic?
  • Do I practice my values or am I a living inconsistency?
  • What are the democratic values that are identified as important by others around me?
  • Are the practices, actions and behaviors of actors in my community in line with these values or not? How so? What needs to be done to change any inconsistency?

It can be uplifting to experience how the values we hold dear take many shapes in our lives. Our values and inner conditions shape us and govern our actions as we engage in activities with any group.

This is a collaborative work in progress that L2C offers as a creative commons product to allow you to explore, invent and use C4D with freedom and creativity.

How were they created?

60 educators (teachers, professors, school-heads…) collaborated for some 6 years to develop learning activities that help nurture a democratic environment. We realized that whether the topic, whether it was teaching history, civics, language etc. There was a core set of learning outcomes that were the same in each area. We decided to work on finding what these core elements were.

Once we had found the core competences, we set off to identify what observables behaviors we could engage in that would show that we possess the competences: the cards are the behaviors we can display do in different contexts.

Big Announcement

Cards for democracy are now available in 31 languages!

Cards for Democracy - Teachers' Edition

The full set of Cards for Democracy in PDF format is available for download to members of Learn to Change.

Click below, download and print your own set now!

Download Cards

A big thank you to the Pestalozzi community members who have helped us translate them and to eTwinning for their support as well: Veton Sylhasi, Gilda Rrushi, Liridon Mulliqi (Albanian); Olga Jukić, Milos Jeremić, Jasminka Milošević, Visnja Rajić, Milka Mihailović, Sladjana Domladovac, Marta Nikolic (Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian); Evelina Ivanova (Bulgarian); Maria-Angeles Hernandez Sierra & Mercé Bernaus (Catalan); Patricia Garouste, Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard, Audrey Cheinut (French); Nona Maziashvili (Georgian); Carmen Becker & Stephan Schustereder (German); Foteini Veneti, Maria Sfetkou, Barbara Koziori, Anna Maria Panagiotidou, Julie Gyftoula, Chrystalla Kaloyirou (Greek); Cinzia Billa, Daniela Trausi, Paola Lupi, Rita Morresi, (Italian); Dalia Uržaitė, Rasa Aškinytė (Lithuania); Annapetra Jenssen, Arild Nyvoll, Karoline Slåttum (Norwegian); Emília Alexe (Romanian); Marta Viñes Jimeno (Spanish); Oksana Solovyova, Natalia Kidalova & Krystyna Chushak (Ukrainian); Alena Pali & Iryna Lapitskaya (Russian); Luisa Black- de Bivar, Christina Gomes da Sylva (Portuguese).

The next available versions will be Albanian and Romanian. If you have been following us for some time, then you will probably already be aware of the project which has to do with our core values. What is new is that the L2C teams are now preparing a workshop and coaching for teachers wanting to use these versatile and fun cards! You will hear more about this in 2022.

We offer training and coaching for using the C4D. Contact us at

For the professional development of educators: Cards for democracy – Teachers’ edition is a very handy tool for working with teachers that we all love to use at L2C.

Join our Community of Practice here: Facebook Group – Cards for Democracy devoted to conversation and activities to do with learner using the cards.

Teaching and learning activities with C4D: self-assessment, peer to peer, ideas for a more democratic year at school, learning journey.


You may also be interested in these other resources:


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