This educational programme supports people in exerting their right to vote.
The process of voting implies:
- Forming a personal opinion and expressing it
- Knowing something about politics and institutions which represent us
- Being able to vote
The programme is divided into several educational units
Each unit includes both contents and instructions for use.
Each unit shows activities to be carried out in small groups (8-10 participants) and implemented with the support of a leader.
The leader acts a guide and a mediator of the learning programme.
Documents with this logo can be read independently, without the help of any mediator.
There are also European political groups programmes and a list of the « Words of politics » which can be used as further resources.
Kindly note that, you will find a basic outline and explanation of the module with its aims and objectives in a folder with the necessary matching resources and materials in another corresponding folder so as to facilitate the understanding and use of these training modules.
Practical Guidelines for Use
- Forming a personal and independent opinion
- What is politics?
- Delegation & Representation
- Participation in Association, political party, trade union
- Political Parties & electoral programmes
- Voting Procedures
- Local public authority
- National authority: Parliament / Government
- What is Europe?
- Referendum / Petition
RATIONAL OF PROGRAMME
The methodology of this didactic unit is based on Feuerstein’s mediated learning method (Mediated Learning Experience or MLE). The main objective of this method is to help the learner improve cognitive competencies with the support of a mediator.
The mediator is a person who works in relationship with the learner in developing cognitive functions leading to clearer thinking and improved learning processes.
While implementing the programme, the leader or mediator must bear in mind the following principles:
1. Mediation of Intentionality and Reciprocity
The intention of the mediator is to involve the student in the learning experience, helping him/her participate actively and be aware of the learning processing taking place.
2. Mediation of Transcendence
The aim is to help students generalise the skills they learn in the programme so that they would be able to own them and apply them in practical situations they encounter in the future.
3. Mediation of Meaning
The learning situations are presented so that they would be interesting and relevant for the student, and they would be able to incorporate their new learning experiences into their own system of meanings while establishing a relationship between new knowledge and what had already been previously acquired in terms of learning.
Therefore, the mediator or teacher must also incorporate the following criteria when communicating with his/her students:
1. Feeling of Competency:
It is closely related to the motivation and the self-esteem. The important matter here is to arouse in the student the feeling of “being capable of “.
2. Regulation and Control of Behaviour:
It means exercising control over oneself, to cooperate with and listen to each other so as to establish a positive learning environment.
3. Sharing Behaviour:
To share and to develop the attitude of cooperation, solidarity and mutual help so that the interests of the whole group are pursued rather than individual interests.
4. Individuation, Psychological Differentiation:
It implies accepting the student’s uniqueness as an individual, considering him/her an active participant in learning, capable of thinking in an independent and different way from other students.
5. Goal seeking, Setting and Achieving:
Fostering in the student the urge to work on pre-established learning targets while setting effective methods in order to reach the set goals, which may vary from student to another.
6. Search for Novelty and Complexity:
Intellectual curiosity, originality and divergent thinking are encouraged.
7. Awareness of the Potential for Change:
The main objective is to help the mediated learner perceive himself/herself as an active subject, capable of generating and processing information. The student needs to be aware of his new learning experiences as much as possible together with his/her potential for change.
If the mediator is optimistic, the course of mediation will be, too and, logically, the learner. The mediator has to believe in the capacity for change of the persons he/she works with; this implies and requires an optimistic spirit.
9. Feeling of Belonging:
Foster a sense of belonging not only to a small group, but also a particular cultural milieu and civic society at large. The learner is determined by certain socio-cultural experiences and background. The mediator has to establish links between the general socio-cultural reality and that which pertains to the individual learner.
In conclusion, it is necessary to try to take in consideration all these criteria while implementing the
educational programme since it is pinned on the principle of active participation and the self-determination of persons with intellectual disability.
Due to the diversity of abilities that each learner might possess, it is necessary to adapt the programme contents that are presented here according to the specific capacities and skills of every learner, while still following the principles of the Feuerstein’s Mediated Learning Experience (MLE) methodology.
Practical Guidelines for Use
The modules presented in this educational programme have been implemented in the various countries participating in the My Opinion My Vote (M.O.TE.) project (EU Grundtvig 1 Programme) in view of the EU elections held in all EU countries in June 2009. However, due to inherent cultural and/or ability differences among nations and/or groups, this programme was modified accordingly and implemented in a different manner in each of the six participating countries in order to suit the context one was working in. The general intellectual and adaptive functioning levels of the participants in the group is also a key factor to consider prior to implementing the programme.
While this programme presents ideas and accompanying materials aimed at supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities (or ‘learning disabilities’, as used in the U.K. and other European countries) exert their right to vote and participate in social and civic life as citizens of Europe, it is pertinent to note that:
The activities proposed in these 6 modules can be considered a ‘menu’ of different ideas that can be selected ad hoc or in isolation or as part of a whole programme that includes a variety of activities, i.e. one can use only what is relevant and therefore select the appropriate parts of this programme to implement.
The activities enclosed can be developed further, added upon, subtracted from and adapted accordingly so as to be fully relevant to the particular group or the national/local context one is working in.
Timing of sessions can also vary. Therefore the sequence of the sessions as is presented need not be necessarily adhered to.
Proposed module activities, can be changed or adapted.
The resources proposed such as photos, pictures, etc. can also be changed or adapted so as to suit local cultures or abilities.
There are various ways of implementing the programme in practical terms. For example, it can be covered over an intense two or three-day programme or on a regular 2-3 hour long session on a weekly/fortnightly basis, etc.
A Preliminary Session (developed by Down Syndrome Ireland) addressing issues such as Citizenship, Rights and Responsibilities of an EU citizen and Facilitation Skills when working in a group is also available and can be used before beginning to work on the modules.
Download the General Introduction