With the Black Panthers (4th Grade)
The 4th Graders have entered the era of democracy with the establishment of the student council or class council. The student council is a space for discussion within the class in order to resolve conflicts, but also to congratulate or thank classmates, and to propose ideas to improve class life. By helping students to communicate with each other, formulate their personal opinions, express their emotions and make informed decisions, the student council teaches them to take responsibility for their individual and collective behavior (relationship to themselves and to others) and to give meaning to class life, thus strengthening the sense of belonging to the group.
How is it organized?
Periodicity: the council takes place regularly (every 2 weeks), being explicitly included in the class timetable. It is a ritualized moment.
The place: it takes place either in the classroom or in another place, the library for example. This place is organized in a circle or a U-shape and should facilitate communication between the students.
The composition: the student council includes all the pupils in the class and the teacher, the latter being the guarantor of the general framework and the climate of confidence necessary for its good behavior.
Duration: The council generally lasts between 30 and 45 minutes.
What is everyone's role?
The president: he opens and closes the council, reminds the rules, helps to animate and organize the debates. He ensures that the agenda is respected. He/she distributes the floor to the students, making sure that everyone can speak without being interrupted. He/she puts proposals to the vote, is the guarantor of respect for the rules and can exclude the troublemakers from the council.
The secretary: he/she reads the decisions taken during the previous council, notes the thanks and congratulations and the decisions taken during the council of the day. He/she writes down the names of the troublemakers in the board book on the order of the president. This notebook (or binder) remains available to the students in the classroom for consultation (in case of absence...).
The students of the class: they are the members of the council, they write their proposals (which will be voted on), congratulate or thank another student or a person from the school and finally debate in order to settle possible conflicts in the class.
The teacher: The teacher is also an active member of the council. He is the guarantor of the framework set and has a right of veto in case of inappropriate sanctions but also in case of unfeasible proposals.
The students love this activity and are very imaginative in their ideas or proposals to improve class life. All this is done in a democratic spirit and respect for the word of others. They are aware of the importance of debate and the words to resolve conflicts and are on the road to citizenship.
I look forward to the next council!