Lesson Plans - Law


Making Good Laws

Making Patriots in Thailand
Lesson Plan:

GRADE(S): 6 - 12

DESCRIPTION:

Looking Back to a 2007 Lesson: - Class involvement in evaluating rules and laws; three activities: working with the law; exceptions to the law; re-writing the law.

stopping traffic
Traffic would come to a halt every time the national anthem is played under new proposals to promote patriotism in Thailand. Opponents of the Flag Bill, put forward by a group of retired and current generals, say it would cause chaos on the roads. ( Full details continued below in Classroom Strategies....

DURATION:

40 minutes (1 period) or could be spread over two periods

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 characteristics of good rules or laws
• draft a good law

FORMAT:

small group discussion, followed by summation for class discussion

BACKGROUND:
The best foundation for the exploration of rules and laws is the examination of what makes a good rule or law. With that understanding in hand, other lessons in law may explore how and why rules are made, and who has the authority to make them.

Examining what brings "goodness" to laws allows students to identify characteristics of successful rules and laws.
In order to get into this subject, we begin with some "givens":

• that some people have the authority to make laws;
• and that laws are made to help keep order and protect people in society.
(These issues can be explored in more detail in other lessons, but for the purposes of this lesson, we begin with these two understandings.)

We assume, therefore, that parents, teachers, principals, and public officials have the right to make rules and laws.
Adults, however, are not the only people who make rules.
Many rules are made in schoolyards, especially when groups of children are playing games.

Good rules are not easy to make and this lesson explores the characteristics of good rules.

The following criteria are adapted from Lawmaking, by Linda Riekes and Sally Mahe Ackerly, 2nd edition. St. Paul: West Publishing, 1980.

• Good rules are fair.
• Good rules can be followed (that is, are within societal values).
• Good rules state the penalty for disobeying.
• Good rules can be enforced. It is possible to prevent anyone from breaking the law; and it is possible to witness anyone breaking the law and to make them pay the penalty.
• A good rule indicates who is expected to obey it, whether individuals or groups.
• A good rule is in keeping with other laws. Obeying one law should not put us in the position of disobeying another.
• Good rules have no vague or ambiguous words. The best rules are written in plain English.
• A good rule defines any word that might be misunderstood either because it could have more than one meaning, or because it is an uncommon word.

In order to appreciate these criteria, students are given a sample law(s) to discuss.

• First, they are asked to be judge of behaviours in light of a particular law(s).
In the discussion following their decision, they should explore the problems they encountered in enforcing the law.
• The students, through this discussion, create a list of criteria for good laws or rules (similar to those listed above).
• In a second activity, returning to the original law(s), students deal with exceptions to the law. Situations apparently in conflict with the law are discussed in small groups and once again the students are asked to judge each situation, examine the process of arriving at their decision, and determine how to enforce the law as it stands.
• In light of this discussion, in the third activity students are asked to rewrite the law and the public notices for this particular law.
• With a revised law in hand, students re-examine the list of criteria for a good rule or law and determine their success in re-writing the law.
RECOMMENDED STUDENT MATERIALS:
Write on the board: Thailand has had 18 military coups and 7 constitutions since the country became a constitutional monarchy 75 years ago. The current military appointed parliament is considering the law described in this case.
RECOMMENDED TEACHER PREPARATION: Review of this material.

CLASSROOM STRATEGIES: Activities A - B and C.

Making Patriots in Thailand

stopping traffic
Traffic would come to a halt every time the national anthem is played under new proposals to promote patriotism in Thailand. Opponents of the Flag Bill, put forward by a group of retired and current generals, say it would cause chaos on the roads. The minute long national anthem is played twice a day in Bangkok, during the raising and lowering of the flag, reports Sky News. Retired General Pricha Rochanasena, 70, said: "The national anthem lasts only one minute and eight seconds. "So why can't motorists stop their cars for the sake of the country? They already spend more time in traffic jams anyway." But a vote on the Bill in the (military appointed parliament) has been deferred to allow a committee to see whether it would work in practice. Politician Wallop Tangkananurak, who is opposed to the proposal, said: "It would be chaotic if the Bill had passed as it is now." Read Article

Activity A  Students decide:

1. The students in pairs are asked to decide if laws passed by a group appointed by the military, which eliminated the elected government and constitution, are valid.
2. Have the class as a group discuss their decisions, the reasoning behind their decisions, and the problems they encountered in making their decisions.
3. Have the class develop a list of criteria for good rules or laws.
Activity B  Students decide:

1. The students in pairs are asked to decide if the proposed law will promote patriotism in Thailand.
2. Have the class as a group discuss their decisions, the reasoning behind their decisions, and the problems they encountered in making their decisions.
3. Have the class develop a list of criteria for good rules or laws.
Activity C  Students decide:

1. The students in pairs are asked to decide if the Thai Constitution is a reliable document given its history.
2. Have the class as a group discuss their decisions, the reasoning behind their decisions, and the problems they encountered in making their decisions.
3. Have the class develop a list of criteria for good rules or laws.

ASSESSMENT:
A) End class discussion with the question "What makes a good law and constitution?"

Student answers should include:
• can be enforced;
• can be followed (that is, is within societal values);
• is fair;
• indicates who is expected to obey it;
• states the penalty for disobeying;
• is in keeping with other laws (that is, doesn't contradict other laws);
• has no vague or ambiguous words;
• defines words that might be misunderstood.

B) Writing assigment based on this statement: Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, one of the country's leading constitutional lawyers, says the practice of coups in Thailand is a bad habit that needs to end. "If we didn't have this coup the Thai people could have learned more about democracy and politics and about how to develop," From: News Analysis: Democracy, Thai style - Ban the politicians - By Thomas Fuller International Herald Tribune Published: October 6, 2006

A written assignment could be given to have students read the opinion of Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, then complete the sentence, "If we didn't have this coup the Thai people could have learned more about democracy and politics and about how to develop, because..."
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE:

• Students can also do research on the legislative process at the Canadian Parliamentary Internet/parlementaire website. More lessons at: LFS Law and Society Lessons.

"Making Patriots in Thailand" - is based on "Working with Rules and Laws" from the Canada School Net simplified mock trial design.


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