The Political System of the United Kingdom. A Lesson Plan for the 11th Grade

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2019

33 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of Contents

1. Politicians - Political Gods or Regular People?

2. Didactical Background
2.1. Group Work
2.1.1. Possible Difficulties
2.1.2. Different Formats of Group Work
2.2. Fächerübergreifender Unterricht
2.3. Teaching Politics

3. Lesson Plan
3.1. Reference to the Curriculum
3.2. Teaching/Learning Objectives
3.3. Lesson Plan Version A
3.4. Bedingungsfeld- and Sachanalyse
3.4.1. Hinführung..
3.4.2. Erarbeitung.
3.4.3. Ergebnissicherung I
3.4.4. Vertiefung
3.4.5. Ergebnissicherung II
3.4.6. Transfer
3.5. Lesson Plan Version B

4. Comment on Possible Problems

5. Concluding Thoughts on Teaching the Political Systems.

6. References

7. Register of Figures

8. Appendix

1. Politicians - Political Gods or Regular People?

“Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.“

- George Burns

Most politicians, the so-called experts on our democracy, are just regular people who gained political experience by entering a political party on one or another adventurous way. The question that arises here is how these people qualified themselves to lead our country. They did not study politics or economics. So basically, what they call qualification is just the will to participate in the state’s political life. From the moment on they enter this world of politics, they seem to exclude themselves from ’normal’ peoples’ lifes. They decide on things they barely know anything about as if they were in some way superior. As George Burns said, when politicians would ask the society for suggestions or opinions, they would finally be able to control politics in a way that is truly in favor of the people.

This term paper states that our society needs a major emphasis on the importance of teaching the political systems to the younger generation in order to make them mature human beings. After a theoretical background about teaching politics by intertwining two subjects and a special focus on group work, I explain the plan for an introductory lesson on the British political system in eleventh grade that is subject of this term paper in detail. Apparently, teaching politics is not self-evident as it was relatively complicated to find authentic material on the topic. Based on this, it is paramount to consider different ways of giving the students an understanding of the most fundamental part of our society - the political system. The possibilities to do so form one research question I follow when writing this paper. To simplify the terms, all personal pronouns to determine gender are written in the masculine form.

For instance, Germany is the motherland of some of the best didactics professors like Hilbert Meyer, Werner Wiater or Engelbert Thaler. The different social forms are thoroughly investigated and the suggestions for teachers which format is to prefer change constantly. Group work or fächerübergreifenden Unterricht are just some examples of the formats explained in this paper.

The Staatsinstitut für Schulqualität und Bildungsforschung München, which states the curriculum for all the different school types in Bavaria, points out the connections between several subjects. This makes clear that the intertwining of subjects is important, especially to understand cultural content. The CEFR (= Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) specifies the competencies a student should acquire during his school career. Apart from declarative, empirical and academic knowledge, communicative language competence plays a huge role. It consists of linguistic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic components and is key to empower people to use the target language efficiently (CEFR 9).

2. Didactical Background

In the sixties of the twentieth century, emancipation led to a new formation of criteria school should fulfill. Teachers are supposed to encourage the development of the student’s identity and strength by teaching communication and interaction competence and professional skills like decision-making. School was seen as a socialization agency of society. The pupil needed to strengthen his empathy and evolve a certain tolerance towards frustration (Meyer, Praxisband 240). The following chapters emphasize the importance of the acquisition of social knowledge in school until today or maybe even more nowadays as the people are much more social through social media.

2.1. Group Work

Johann Friedrich Herbart coined the expression of group work at the beginning of the nineteenth century. As he was the successor of Immanuel Kant, he was working on didactics. He invented the Herbartsche Stufentheorie, theory in which the lesson is orientated to the individual student to improve his learning effectivity, amongst other things (Meyer, Theorieband 165). Psychologists differentiate between primary groups (e.g. family) and secondary groups (e.g. sports teams) and between formal and informal groups. Formal groups are structured and the members are clearly named, whereas informal groups grow slowly, unintentionally, out of social acts between people in one social group like a class in school. On a superficial level, the class is a formal group because it is put together strategically and defined by the membership of the students. Subordinately, the students form small informal, secondary groups of friends (Meyer, Praxisband 238).

According to Meyer, group work is “die in dieser Sozialform von den [SuS] und der Lehrerin geleistete zielgerichtete Arbeit, soziale Interaktion und sprachliche Verständigung“ (Meyer, Praxisband 242). That is to say, that the students and the teacher work together to achieve a goal with social interaction and oral participation of the group members.

Every social form has an individual format. Group work can be divided into an outer part and an inner part. Whilst the outer part consists of specific rules for the social- communicative situation of the lesson, the inner part handles the teaching and learning of method competences that are going to make the students act in a creative and self- determined way (Meyer, Praxisband 243).

Group work is mostly used in the Erarbeitungsphase, in the middle of the lesson. The teacher often starts with a teacher-centered introduction in which he leads to the topic and provides some input in the second step. In the Erarbeitungsphase, group work can encourage the individual thinking process in order to elaborate a common satisfying result. Groups are normally formed by the teacher to maximize the learning benefit for every student in performance heterogeneous groups. Weaker students learn from the stronger ones and the stronger students improve their communicative skills. All group members have to get used to each other and develop a certain manner of working together. When the learners are still in the phase where they learn how to do group work effectively, this social form is mainly to liven up the lesson. The more the pupils know about how to work in groups, especially if they work with the same students for at least a couple of weeks, the more often they come up with creative collaborative answers to the given question or problem. With experienced students, the teacher may also put a group work activity at the beginning or the end of a lesson and so give up on the teacher-fronted lead-in and the lead-out (Meyer, Praxisband 242).

Hilbert Meyer, amongst other authors, listed the functions and goals of group work. According to him, more students get involved actively and so the group can evolve a sense of togetherness, which gives weaker students the feeling of success. Also, all of the pupils but in particular the stronger ones learn to show their solidarity, one of the main criteria for a successful group work phase (Meyer, Praxisband 248). Every individual’s strengths can be incorporated into the Erarbeitungsphase to develop the best possible final result for the group. The pupils can follow different paths out of curiosity because they are less controlled than in a teacher-centered classroom, where the focus mainly lies on efficiency. From the teacher’s perspective, group work needs more preparation time but also makes it possible to observe his students in more detail (Meyer, Praxisband 245) while being “the guide on the side“ instead of “the sage on the stage“ (Thaler 116). The independence the students experience in a successful group work phase forms another important function (Meyer, Praxisband 251).

The changeover between different forms of articulation like speaking, drawing, writing or creative forms like a pantomime or playing a game can encourage independent thinking, feeling and acting in the students. Pure imitation of what the teacher does is boring and does not leave space for the pupils to exchange their own creative ideas. Group work should be used to let the students ’show off’ their abilities to find solutions for a given problem that do not consist out of pre-presented lesson bits but of truly genuine possible solutions given by the pupils (Meyer, Praxisband 246). The third main criterion of a successful group work phase is that the students broaden their creativity (Meyer, Praxisband 251).

2.1.1. Possible Difficulties

The institutional setting school cannot freely provide all the circumstances needed to make group work a total success. The students cannot develop to the full because the teacher still gives the timeframe in which the work has to be finished and valuable results have to be presented. Furthermore, the group as such should learn to show solidarity; but against who? The teacher? Then the group work could not be a success because the team would not let the teacher lead it as “the guide on the side“ (Meyer, Praxisband 253).

In addition, the group might be heterogeneous in terms of intelligence/interest in the subject but the pupils are not able to work together because they cannot stand each other and are not willing or able to forget about personal disagreements. They will not act in solidarity nor try to combine everyone’s ideas to a better group result.

Group activities require more preparation work than the regular teacher-fronted classroom (Meyer, Praxisband 253). The balance between giving the students some freedom to use their creative abilities and controlling the work with precisely formulated tasks so that the teamwork provides valuable results is one of the main problems when it comes to group activities.

2.1.2. Formats of Group Work

According to Thaler (Thaler 120), in every social form, we can distinguish between different formats. Every single activity has its own functions and foci as well as advantages and disadvantages in certain teaching situations. These and the situations in which the activity is recommended are explained in the following chapter.

Jigsaw (group puzzle) is the activity I chose for the lesson planned in chapter 3.3 Lesson Plan Version A. The class gets divided into “home teams“ and each team receives as many tasks as group members. After everyone completed their task, they leave their “home team“ and form a new team with all the students who had the same task, the so- called “expert teams“. They present and discuss their results and return to their “home team“ to contribute their knowledge to the final group consensus.

Gallery Walk is an activity with a lot of movement in the class. This indicates that it is probably just suitable for calmer classes who are already experienced with group work without walking around to simplify classroom management. Some kind of visualization like posters, charts or pictures are pinned to different walls of the classroom with the corresponding question or task below. Every team rotates between the stations and answers the given questions on the sheet of paper at the station. All the answers are gathered on one sheet so the following group can see what the other team had responded. In the end, each group summarizes all the answers of the station they first worked at.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1

Placemat, in comparison to the gallery walk, is a rather quiet format of group work because everyone stays on his seat. The teacher ideally forms groups of four (three to five is okay), hands out the placemat (see figure 1) and explains the task the whole class has to work on in their group. Firstly, each student thinks Figure 1 about an individual answer and writes it down on his part of the paper. When everybody has finished, the placemat gets rotated so that every student can read the other answers and discuss the final group conclusion. This mutual answer is written down in the square in the middle and presented to the whole class afterward.

Cooperative Cooperation is practically an activity to deepen the acquired knowledge about a certain topic. After students have learned something, they form groups of four which split up into pairs of two. These pairs talk about the topic in a pro-contra- discussion based on their own arguments written down in notes. Then they switch roles and repeat the process. Finally, they try to reach an agreement.

Numbered Heads focuses on the results of the group work to encourage active participation of all group members. Every student gets a number and when it comes to presenting the results, the teams may not choose themselves who is going to present but the teacher calls up a number and the student with that number has to be able to explain the group work. This does not only lead to higher active participation but also to more communication within the group because nobody would want to disappoint or even disgrace the team. So, the weaker students try harder to fully understand the topic and the stronger students improve their communication skills.

Round Robin is a form of brainstorming just with more than one or two participants, which clearly leads to a wider range of ideas. One student begins and writes down his idea on a sheet of paper, then he passes the paper to the student sitting next to him. This neighbor adds his ideas and passes them on ones more. This continues until everybody has noted his ideas.

Talking Chips tries to make sure that everybody talks the same amount of time so that the stronger students learn how to be more concise and the weaker students are ’forced’ to think of several things to say. Every time a pupil talks, he has to give up on one chip of his three original ones. When they do not have any chips left, they are not allowed to speak anymore besides they have a question.

2.2. Fächerübergreifender Unterricht

Fächerübergreifender Unterricht is the didactical term for using another subject to solve a problem or answer a question in one’s own subject or to systematically connect two subjects to broaden the general understanding of the topic (Moegling 13). A central part of subject competence is the ability to put the own subject into relation with the general (world) knowledge (qtd. in Moegling 131 ).

The big problems of our world are multilayered and therefore cannot be solved by relying on specialists’ knowledge. It is self-evident that human expertise needs to be connected in order to understand and fix them. Theories provide a certain view on our reality and human acting but one also needs concrete knowledge to experience this reality of objective and human events to get access to the complete understanding (qtd. in Moegling 152 ). The individual gains mental flexibility when he realizes the connections of the different fields of expertise which gives him the chance to open up for a new orientation of his worldview (Moegling 14).

Social conflicts and problems can only be solved by educational processes that encourage a change of perspective in one’s field of expertise. The competence that somebody can realize this change consists of complex acting and networked thinking and is leaned to norms, values and responsibilities (Moegling 16).

The “realities“ of society are neither constructed to fit into the schools’ curricula nor vice versa. They can only be experienced when the different disciplines of school and reality bond and show the broader connection between the two. Crucial for the schools’ teaching mission is the teachers to be a role model for the students when it comes to interdisciplinary thinking (Moegling 17).

2.3. Teaching Politics

Often, Sozialkunde is being taught by history teachers and not political scientists. In Germany, university students who study to become a history teacher can add politics in less than two semesters. Here, the question arises how profound their knowledge can be after just two semesters of studying while other subjects need at least nine and whether they were able to experience different manners of teaching the subject so they can differ when they are teaching themselves. It needs a certain level of maturity to teach and learn political science in its entirety (Benemy 26).

A teacher’s lessons will deteriorate if he is either not fully enjoying his subject because he ’had to’ add politics to his studies and did not decide freely or if he is not a hundred percent informed about the recent events. Sozialkunde is a subject that is constantly changing. Every day we can read in the news about new incidents from all over the world and many political but also social or science articles can be found in every newspaper. Ideally, the (politics) teacher informs himself every day about the last occurrences and demands this also from his students in order to achieve the broader, general understanding of the world’s economic, political and social fabric school is aiming for (see chapter 2.2.). As dealt with in chapter 3.1. Reference to the Curriculum, the students should “sich selbständig mit soziokulturellen Zusammenhängen und komplexeren Fragen auseinander[setzen], […] sich Informationen [besorgen] und […] Möglichkeiten der Weiterbildung auch über die Schule hinaus [nutzen].“ (ISB Bayern, E 1 1/12.3)

3. Lesson Plan

The lesson planned for this term paper introduces the political system of the United Kingdom to eleventh graders. I organized it for an ideal class of 24 students that is experienced with group work. Furthermore, the lesson includes fächerübergreifenden Unterricht (see chapter 2.2. Fächerübergreifender Unterricht) because it works with the students’ knowledge about the German political system they learned just before in the same year in Sozialkunde according to the curriculum (see chapter 3.1.). The lesson is based on the school book The New Summit: Texts and Methods. For certain exercises, I added parts of Context 21.

3.1. Reference to the Curriculum

The lesson is based on the Bavarian curriculum for Gymnasium, grade eleven and twelve of the eight-year- Gymnasium (G8). Chapter E 11/12.3 Interkulturelles Lernen und Landeskunde describes that students learn about the principles and essential ideas of anglophone cultures, especially about the UK and the USA. They define differences with regard to the German culture and become aware of other behavioral patterns and systems of values and tolerate them. It stands out that the reception and reflection of current occurrences as well as the connection between several topics and their interlocking is of particular importance according to the ISB Bayern. Furthermore, students learn to inform themselves on a regular basis about topical events in order to form a network of general pieces of knowledge (ISB Bayern, E 11/12.3).

E 11/12.3 Interkulturelles Lernen und Landeskunde is subdivided into six topics, namely into society, political life, economy, environment/nature/science and technology, standards and values and last but not least arts/culture and media. The presented lesson focuses on the subtopic ’political life’, to be more exact on the category of basic knowledge about different democratic systems like the parliamentary democracy and the presidential democracy. The curriculum points out that this is interconnected with Sozialkunde 11.2.1. (ISB Bayern, E 11/12.3 Themenbereiche).

3.2. Teaching/Learning Objectives

As this lesson is for eleventh graders, they should have a basic knowledge of the German political system, but to make sure that everybody is on the same level, this gets revised in form of group work (see 3.3. Lesson Plan Version A). Furthermore, the students acquire a general understanding of the British political system and are able to compare it to the German system that is didactically reduced by the teacher to focus on the paramount content. The needed vocabulary about political life is learned throughout the lesson and repeated as homework in order to be able to comment on political systems.

3.3. Lesson Plan Version A

The following lesson is planned for a lesson of 45 minutes and based on a class of 24 students.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


1 Duncker, Ludwig, Walter Popp, editor. Über Fachgrenzen hinaus. Chancen und Schwierigkeiten des fächerübergreifenden Lehrens und Lernens. Heinsberg, 1997.

2 Aebli, Hans. Grundlagen des Lehrens: Eine allgemeine Didaktik auf psychologischer Grundlage. Stuttgart, 1995, p. 28.

Excerpt out of 33 pages


The Political System of the United Kingdom. A Lesson Plan for the 11th Grade
University of Augsburg
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
lesson plan, United Kingdom, 11th Grade, politics, Gymnasium, fächerübergreifender Unterricht, group work
Quote paper
Johanna Gruber (Author), 2019, The Political System of the United Kingdom. A Lesson Plan for the 11th Grade, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The Political System of the United Kingdom. A Lesson Plan for the 11th Grade

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free