Session 6: A local issue of the class’s choice

Citizenship (Ages 11-14)
Session 6: A local issue of the class’s choice
  • Different Needs, Common Ground
  • A local issue of the class’s choice
Key Messages

Whenever a decision has to be made, there will be some who agree and others who disagree.  In a democracy, there are a wide range of methods that can be used to try to influence the outcome non-violently. Having explored the example of Heathrow’s third runway, learning is now applied to a self-selected issue of interest, and connections are made between this and personal, local, national and global matters.

  • Students will consider why there are different views about their chosen issue.
  • Students will creatively apply their prior learning to their chosen issue.
  • Students will relate the content of the module to the aims of the Miriam’s Vision resource
  • In the roles of different parties affected by the selected issue, students will develop their own ideas about how to influence decisions in their personal, local, national and global communities.
  • Students will evaluate real issues, considering actions that are likely to be effective.
  • Students will extrapolate from Miriam’s story to their own lives.
Links to National Curriculum
  • Students will consider the ways in which citizens work together to improve their communities.


  • Ask students to think back to the start of the module when they thought about an aspect of their home that they would like to change, and then an aspect of the country.  Now they are going to think of something about the school or the local area that they would like to change.

Phase 1

  • The format of this part of this session is up to you.  The main point is to distinguish the different interested parties in the class’s chosen issue and have groups representing each one.
  • Groups can share their completed MV Citizenship Resource 6.1 Class case study plan an action with each other and decide which “tools of change” they are going to employ, and how.  They can plan strategies, make posters, write petitions, or any other action from the range they have explored.
  • You may choose to set up a debate in which groups can make their cases in role, with a Q&A.

Plenary 1

  • Either in role or as themselves (or both), take a vote on the class’s chosen issue.  They can vote for, against or abstain.  Students can explain their reasons.  Record how many vote for each option.  What is the outcome?  Does it seem fair?  How does the class feel about it?

Module plenary

  • Project MV Citizenship Resource 6.2 Module plenary.  Ask students to reflect on all their learning from the module. Slide 2:  Ask them to draw around their hand. Then, on the four fingers, they should write: 1) A right they have; 2) A way they can make change; 3) A new thing they’ve learned; 4) A question they still have. Finally, in the palm of the hand they should think about the most important thing they have learned and write a thought they’d like to keep forever.
  • The hands in themselves do not provide a deep reflection on learning.  Use them as a basis for a reflective discussion about the entire unit, especially focusing on what students think are important about human rights and democracy.
  • Slide 3:  It would be powerful to end the module with a return to the purpose of the Miriam’s Vision resource.  Although there have been positive outcomes to 7/7, was it an avoidable event?   Refer back to Miriam’s Story (you may want to replay the video package) and reflect on why the Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust places emphasis on the importance of democracy and human rights.
  • How can the Miriam’s Vision Citizenship module help?  (By learning what happened on 7/7 and understanding its far-reaching consequences; by understanding that people have the choice to influence events in their personal, local, national and global communities constructively and non-violently; by applying lessons learned to future personal and wider situations, etc.)
  • Slide 4:  Students can share personal experiences or knowledge of issues that have split groups (which could include families) or communities.  How were the issues tackled?  Were they resolved?  Could they have been better resolved?  How?  This provides opportunities for students to relate the contents of this module to themselves and their own lives.  Sharing in (non-friendship) pairs can sometimes have surprisingly rewarding personal outcomes, and as a whole class students may inspire each other.
  • Slide 5:  Refer to the subtitle of the module, Different Needs, Common Ground, as a fitting close, and end with the following questions:
    • Having explored some aspects of democratic process, is democracy a viable alternative for resolving conflict?
    • Has anything in this module inspired you? If so, what? How?
    • How does Miriam's story relate to the module? (Her right to life was violated by people who used violence to try to make a point, or a change.)