Working together: parliaments and the community
Inquiry: How and why do people participate in groups to achieve shared goals?
Learning objective: Students will understand how Assembly committees provide an opportunity for community input through public inquiries and how the committee process is similar to students’ own learning processes guided by the inquiry and skills strand of the Australian curriculum.
- How people with shared beliefs and values work together to achieve a civic goal (ACHASSK118)
- Develop appropriate questions to guide an inquiry about people, events, developments, places, systems and challenges (ACHASSI094)
- Evaluate evidence to draw conclusions (ACHASSI101)
Resources you'll need for this lesson:
The lesson plans are designed to be completed after students have read A day in the life of Penelope Primrose as they will need to be familiar with the characters and plot to understand and complete the activities.
- Students to read “A day in the life of the Penelope Primrose” (resource one) either together as a class or individually.
- Students to watch committee snapshots:
- Committee inquiry process—an explanation of the committee inquiry process; and
- Community engagement with committees—how can the community have input into the Assembly’s committee inquiry process
- Conduct a structured discussion drawing parallels between the committee inquiry process and the learning process that students themselves undertake to find out more about an area of interest or a particular topic/subject that they engage with as part of their studies in the classroom.
The HASS inquiry and skills strand methodology is remarkably similar to the committee inquiry process and can be used as a basis for exploring the underlying concepts of both students’ own learning and that of committees (i.e. questioning, researching, analysing, evaluating and reflecting, and communicating). See resource two for discussion points.
Committee inquiry role-play
Public hearing role play on footpath safety aims to take students through a committee inquiry process. It can be scaled up or down to cater for class size so that all students are able to participate (resource four).
Create your own committee public hearing into an inquiry question (this may require a couple of lessons to complete the entire process). To complete the inquiry students will need to determine the terms of reference to guide the inquiry, form a committee and identify witness groups to answer the inquiry question. Committee members create their own questions for the witnesses. Witnesses would not traditionally have written answers, answers at a public hearing are given in response to questions as they are asked (questions without notice).
Alternatively if the witnesses are given the questions prior to the hearing they could prepare answers (questions on notice). Each witness group usually provides an opening statement that is prepared prior to the hearing.