Lesson Plans - Law

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Lesson Plan:


GRADE(S): 6 - 12 (or older grades inexperienced with mock trials)

DESCRIPTION:

The Thai Justice system Thai coup (AFP)
Editors note: The following statements were sited in the articles below..

Wicha Mahakhun, a former Thai judge and (military coup sponsored) constitution drafter, stated:
"People, especially academics who want to see the constitution lead to genuine democracy, are nave. We all know elections are evil. Even HM the King places trust in the judges; would you condemn them?" PDF copy of the article: Charter drafter pans 'evil' elections - Nation
Giles Ungpakorn, (who left Thailand and is now in exile in the UK after the previous government filed les mageste charges against him) was a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University. He charged:
"The drafters will claim they are following the policies of the palace, but it's much more complicated than that, .... Moreover, the monarchy is just one institution. There are 65 million other people in Thailand who deserve an equal say in how the country is run."
"The (18th Thai Constitution) has a problem right from the start,... Giving power to unelected civil servants who tend to be very conservative is a step backwards." From the article: The Rise of Thailand's Third Branch - By Daniel Ten Kate - The Asia Sentinel.
DURATION: 1 class period

LANGUAGE: English (can easily be adapted to the language of the classroom)

AUTHOR: Keerock Rook, The Learning Foundation

LEARNING OBJECTIVE(S):
At the end of this lesson, students should be able to...
• identify the process for settling a legal dispute (how are the facts of the case presented; how is the dispute resolved)
• identify key players in a legal dispute (who presents the facts; who makes the final decision)
• determine what makes a decision fair.
FORMAT:
Small group deliberation in simplified mock-trial format; class is divided into three groups for mock trial; groups of three, one each acting as judge, accused and accuser, for review discussion.
BACKGROUND:
A full-scale mock trial can be an intimidating prospect for an elementary classroom-both for teacher and students. This lesson plan for a simplified mock-trial provides an opportunity to experience the fundamentals of a trial.
Beginning with a cast of three characters, students will develop skills that will lead them safely into more complicated cases. The basic tenets of the lesson include those items covered in the learning objectives. Understanding that the purpose of a trial is to settle a dispute between two people, the two parties are given an opportunity to present their side of the story to a judge. With the final authority resting with him/her, the judge takes some time to clarify issues with each party and then makes a decision that is seen to be fair to each party.
Without distinguishing between civil and criminal issues, this lesson illustrates the essentials of our adversary system: that each party is allowed to tell his/her side of the story, that the judge is the person with the authority to settle the dispute, that a fair decision is presented with reasons supporting that decision.
RECOMMENDED STUDENT MATERIALS: Copies of facts for accused and accuser; copies of Steps in the Trial for the judges.

RECOMMENDED TEACHER PREPARATION:
Prepare fact sheets for the accused and accuser groups to read before beginning their trial. Make copies of the
Steps in the Trial for distribution to the judges group.
CLASSROOM STRATEGIES:
• Divide the class into three groups; each group represents the judge, the accuser, or the accused.
• Give fact sheets to the accused and the accuser groups, but not to the judge group. Give a copy of the Steps in the Trial to the judge group.
• Allow time for the groups to discuss their strategy: who will present their case, and how they will present their side of the story. Each group should choose a spokesperson to represent them in the trial.
• Follow the Steps in the Trial described below.
• Time permitting, repeat the trial with a different set of students representing each side of the story and the judge.
• Talk as a class about the trial(s) and the results. Ask for reactions to each role: how did it feel to be the judge, the accused, the accuser?
• Review the objectives for other teaching points.
Fact Situation:

Wicha Mahakhun, a former Thai judge and (military coup sponsored) constitution drafter, stated:
"People, especially academics who want to see the constitution lead to genuine democracy, are nave. We all know elections are evil. Even HM the King places trust in the judges; would you condemn them?" PDF copy of the article: Charter drafter pans 'evil' elections - Nation.
Giles Ungpakorn, (who left Thailand and is now in exile in the UK after the previous government filed les mageste charges against him) was a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University. He charged:
"The drafters will claim they are following the policies of the palace, but it's much more complicated than that, .... Moreover, the monarchy is just one institution. There are 65 million other people in Thailand who deserve an equal say in how the country is run."
"The (18th Thai Constitution) has a problem right from the start,... Giving power to unelected civil servants who tend to be very conservative is a step backwards." From the article: The Rise of Thailand's Third Branch - By Daniel Ten Kate - The Asia Sentinel.
Steps in the Trial
1. Let Giles Ungpakorn (the accuser) tell her/his side of the story.
2. Let Wicha Mahakhun (the accused) tell her/his side of the story.
3. Let the judge ask Giles Ungpakorn and Wicha Mahakhun questions.
4. Give the judge a few minutes to think.
5. Let the judge make a decision that is fair.
6. Let the judge explain his or her reasons.
ASSESSMENT:

Lead whole-class summation discussion based on the objectives stated earlier. Older students might be given a written assignment. In groups of three, one representing each role, prepare a one page summary of the trial, that presents each side of the story and the judge's decision, with reasons.

WHERE TO GO FROM HERE:



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