EYP Parliament Simulations

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The simulation consists of preparations, discussion of topics (the ... o Defence speech ... that you appoint students to groups randomly; it is good if students.
European Youth Parliament Parliament Simulation Programme European citizenship in the class room A Teacher’s Guide

Index Introduction 3 Introduction

EYP Parliament Simulation Programme www.eypej.org [email protected] Authors Tapio Schrey Ville Vasaramäki Layout and photographs Tapio Schrey


European Youth Parliament in Brief


Simulation Step by Step

Before the Simulation 6

Preparations by Teacher


Instructing Students

Committee Work 8

Getting Started



10 Discussion 11 Teacher’s Role General Assembly 12 Overview 13 Procedure Other 14 Example of a resolution 15 Tips... What to do when. . . ? 16 Feedback about the Simulation 17 The Parliament Simulation Programme 18 The work of EYP

Publishing Information European Youth Parliament: Parliament Simulation Programme, Teacher’s Guide. Edition revised in the framework of project 502906-LLP-1-2009-1-DE-COMENIUS-CAM that was funded by the European Commission.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and theCommission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


e y p p a r l i a m e n t s i m u l a t i o n  — w w w . e y p e j . o r g


EYP parliament simulation

Welcome to the world of EYP! This is a teacher’s guide to organising parliament simulations as a part of European studies and other related study modules. With the help of the guide, you can give your students a unique learning experience simulating a European Youth Parliament session. The purpose of the parliament simulation is to encourage students to speak out, to question and reassess their opinions, and to discuss current issues concerning the European Union. The simulation also offers the students an excellent opportunity to use skills and knowledge acquired at school and to practice discussing current issues.

Parliament simulations In Finland, EYP parliament simulations have been organised for students aged 15 to 19 (grades 9 to 12) since 2005. Teachers have organised the simulations independently or by inviting the local EYP to arrange the event. One of the goals of EYP has been to broaden the class room experience by presenting the students a new kind of an opportunity to express and discuss opinions and to practice active citizenship and participation in society.

The simulation as a part of studies When arranged as a part of a European Studies course or the like, a parliament simulation supports students in deepening their knowledge of previously taught subjects by bringing current issues closer to them and by challenging prevailing views. Forming opinions, working in groups, discussing, and understanding the ways of being an active citizen are skills that may be difficult to learn in the class room. An EYP parliament simulation is one opportunity to acquire these skills.

Teacher’s guide This guide includes instructions to arranging a parliament simulation. The simulation consists of preparations, discussion of topics (the committee work), and discussion of results in the form of a General Assembly. To help students prepare for the committee discussions, background material is available on the parliament simulation website or can be ordered from your local EYP organisation.

Other language versions This Teacher’s Guide and other EYP Parliament Simulation Program­me materials are available also on other languages. The programme website has always up to date list of the available languages and information on ordering them.

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European Youth Parliament In Brief

The European Youth Parliament (EYP) was founded in 1987. The aim of the international organisation is to encourage youth all over Europe to be active European citizens. EYP promotes the European dimension in education and gives students and teachers an opportunity to participate in a practical and positive learning experience. The EYP experience encourages students, future citizens, to acquire first hand information and knowledge of other peoples and their cultures, to appreciate their differences, and to co-operate with representatives of other cultures in reaching common goals. EYP’s main target group is the youth attending its sessions. The European Youth Parliament extends beyond EU borders creating a forum in which young people can genuinely express their own opinions without political pressure or resorting to role play. Students are encouraged to explore current events and the democratic process, to think independently, and to take initiative. However, EYP is much more than politics. The international sessions are events where cultures meet and friendships across borders are formed. EYP is a comprehensive experience which inspires thoughts and invokes emotions. Participating in an international session is a remarkable opportunity to represent one’s country internationally and a unique learning process which yields experiences that delegates can benefit from for the rest of their lives. The foundation of EYP is the National EYP Committees in over European countries. National Committees co-ordinate EYP activities in their countries, organise events, and select representatives to international EYP sessions. On the international level, the activities are co-ordinated by the international organisation of the EYP.


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Instructions to teachers

Simulation Step by Step

These instructions for teachers take into account the variations in course and lesson structures and allow for adjustments according to group size. The simulation can be carried out by following the instructions closely, but the model can also be adjusted to better suit the needs of the school and the teaching group. The parliament simulation comprises the following stages:

Preparations o

Placing the simulation stages in the lesson/course plan


Choosing the topics


Copying or ordering background material for students


Introducing the simulation and topics to students, dividing students into committees, handing out background material

Committee work (1 – 2 lessons) o

Getting started

o Brainstorming o

Defining the problem


Discussing and debating


Developing solutions


Formulating clauses for the resolution


Writing the resolution (can also be assigned as homework)

General Assembly (1 – 2 lessons) o

Presenting the resolution


Defence speech


Attack speech


Open debate

Ask EYP to organise the parliament simulation for your class! The parliament simulation can be arranged in two ways: independently by the teacher or by inviting members of local EYP committees to host it. Active EYP members have experience from national and international EYP sessions and can assist in organising the simulation or parts of it. If EYP members are invited, schedules and preparations need to be planned well in advance. Having EYP participate in the simulation is a good way of getting to know EYP activities, and for teachers it offers variety to lessons and an opportunity to observe the simulation in practice. After observing once, organising the simulation independently will be easier in the future! Don’t miss this opportunity! Contact your local EYP committee for more information or visit the project website at www.eypej.org!

o Voting o

All resolutions are discussed in the above manner

Conclusion o

Feedback from students and teacher


Sending the resolutions to the EYP


Opportunity to participate in other EYP activities

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Before the Simulation

Preparations by Teacher

Plan the schedule The first thing to do when arranging a parliament simulation is to fit the stages of the simulation in the course plan. The suggested durations of the stages are 75 - 90 minutes (2 lessons) for committee work and 45 - 75 minutes (1-2 lessons) for discussing the results in the General Assembly. If needed, the simulation model can be adjusted to better fit your school’s course plan, and especially the committee work can be given more time than the model suggests. Suggested Schedule Committee Work

75 – 90 min

General Assembly 45 – 75 min

Choose the topics Before the simulation, you need to choose committee topics. You can either contact your local EYP and ask for topic suggestions or you suggest to your student to write to their local MEP and ask for things that are currently hot on the agenda. Finally, you can of course also simply independently research with your students and ask them what European topics concern them.

Additional information If any part of the simulation seems unclear during the preparations, or if you have any questions regarding the simulation in general, please contact your local EYP.

Invite EYP to your school EYP offers the opportunity to ask active EYP members to arrange the simulation or parts of it to your students. Be sure to contact EYP well in advance to ensure that there is enough time to arrange the visit! This will always be free of charge!


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Before the Simulation Instructing Students

Before the simulation Take 15 to 30 minutes to instruct the students on the simulation, to form the groups, and to hand out the material. Ideally, the instruction should take place approximately a week before the actual simulation to ensure that students have enough time to familiarise with the topics and prepare for discussions with the help of the background material.

Divide students into committees Depending on the size of the class, students are divided in committees of 5 to 8 students. In the committees, students discuss one topic appointed to them and write a resolution together. We recommend that you appoint students to groups randomly; it is good if students get to work with different people than they perhaps normally work and associate with.

Background material Each committee is appointed a topic. EYP has compiled material to help students prepare for the committee work on a selection of topics. The material is handed out to students when the committees are formed, preferably a week before the simulation. Students should not prepare for the simulation in groups, but research and familiarise with the topic independently and form their own opinions which they can then express during committee work. Therefore, you should tell the students that the idea is to discuss the topics later and encourage them to form opinions on their topics. If you want, you can naturally also refer to other background material, e.g., course books, websites, media platform’s or the EU’s websites, and introduce the topics before students discuss and debate them.

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Committee Work

I Getting Started (10 min)

Committee Work Stages of CW I

Starting 10 min

II Introduction

20 min

III Discussion 30-50 min IV Writing

10 min

Committee work is the first and the core stage of the simulation. Committee work should be allocated at least 60 to 75 minutes, but if the lesson plan allows it and students want to continue the discussions, more than two lessons can be used for this stage.

Stages of Committee work During committee work, students discuss their topic and the challenges and problems related to it, express their opinions and views of possible solutions to the problem at hand, and finally, write a resolution which includes solutions suggested by the group. You will find a model resolution later in this guide book.

Starting the Lesson — 10 min

Human Knot

Even though students already know each other, it is good to start the lesson with a short teambuilding activity. Short group activities show students that the lesson is unordinary and help in getting even the more quiet students involved in the group. In the following pages are examples of two ways (Human knot, Fastest ball) to start the committee stage and relieve nervousness among students and help them relax. The icebreaker games should be quick and take no more than 10 minutes.

Ask the groups to gather in an open space, in the front or the corners of the class room, or out in the corridor if the room is too small. However, it would be good if all groups could still be in the same space. Ask the groups to form a circle shoulder-to-shoulder, to close their eyes, and to make a fist with the right hand. Next, ask students to place their hands in the middle of the circle and grasp someone else’s fist with their left hands. Eyes should stay closed until everyone is holding hands with two people. Students can then open their eyes. The task of the group is to untangle themselves, without letting go of hands, and form a circle again. The game usually takes approximately ten minutes.


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Committee Work

II Introduction (20 min)

In this phase, students start discussing the topics. To help groups concentrate on working, it is recommended to place them in different spaces, for example class rooms. All work spaces should have desks and chairs. To create an equal setting, ask students to place the desks in a circle so that everyone can sit facing the other members of the group. It may be difficult for students to start discussing their ideas even if they have prepared well. Therefore, you should instruct them in brainstorming their topics.

1. Brainstorming

Brainstorming — 5 min Give each student 2 to 4 pieces of paper (e.g. Post-it ® notes). Ask students to think about their topic and write down on each piece of paper a word or a phrase (1 to 3 words) that they find important and relevant to the topic.

Explaining — 5 min

2. Explaining

When students have finished writing down their ideas, it is time to go through what they have come up with. Students take turns and read out loud their ideas one by one and place the paper slips in the middle of the table or up on the wall for everyone to see. After 3 to 4 rounds all ideas have been presented. Some ideas and key words are always mentioned several times – this is normal and nothing to be concerned about.

Grouping — 5 min

3. Grouping

When all ideas are on the table, it is time to group them. The committee removes multiple versions of the same idea and organises the rest in a few groups according to similarity of ideas. Possible categories could be money, religion, human rights, and other matters – the grouping of course depends on the committee topic, but 3 to 5 groups is enough. If the committee notices that a relevant word or phrase is missing, they can still add it on the list. After this, however, the list is finished and new discussion points should not be added in order to keep the discussions manageable.

Scheduling — 5 min

4. Scheduling

Committees then decide in which order they discuss the groups of ideas and plan how much time they will use discussing each group. Setting up a schedule is essential to avoid spending all the time going through the first group of ideas and have no time left for others.

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Committee Work


Overview During committee work, students discuss their topic following the schedule they have set up. In practice, the committee discusses each group of ideas separately and goes through the ideas one key word or phrase at a time. The aim of this stage is to identify problems and issues related to the topic and to find solutions on which the whole group agrees.

Unanimity One of the basic principles of the EYP methodology is consensus within the committee.

Unanimity One of the basic principles of the EYP methodology is consensus within the committee. The committees do not vote on matters, but should instead reach decisions that all members agree on. If a group of 7 to 10 people are unable to form a common opinion, the proposed resolution will not convince others either.

A resolution? The result of the committee work is a resolution (a model is included in this guide). In short, a resolution is a list of clauses which summarise the problems identified by the committee and the solutions they propose, one solution for each problem. Students should take notes during the discussion and write down in “collective memory”, for example on a large sheet of paper, the problems they have focused on and the solutions they have agreed on. This way, disagreement on outcomes can be avoided in the end of the discussion stage.

Writing a resolution In the end of the discussion, committees gather the problems and solutions on a resolution form. Both problems and solutions should be described as clearly and concisely as possible, preferably in single sentences. A blank resolution form is included in this guide book and is also available in electronic form on the project website.

Distributing roles Having finished the resolution, the committee needs to plan a strategy for the General Assembly. The different roles and the course of the General Assembly will be described later in more detail.


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Commitee Work Teacher’s Role

Teacher’s Role The aim of committee work is to find solutions to the problem discussed and to propose actions to realise the solutions. Usually committees begin to collect such suggestions because they know the final goal, the writing of a resolution. However, it is important that the teacher follows the group work closely and if needed, reminds the group to write down things they have agreed on.

Consensus The final moments of the discussion are usually when disagreements arise and the need to reach a compromise becomes evident. The key principle of the resolution is that it represents the opinion of the entire committee: the whole group needs to support it. Thus, you should not take a stance or sides in possible conflicts; the only way to assist is to offer facts to help students form opinions. Some ways of resolving possible conflict situations are presented later.

Facilitating the group The teacher plays an important role during the committee discussions, but too much interference in the actual discussions should be avoided. Your task is to follow the directions the discussions are taking and participate if students seem to have difficulties moving on from irrelevant or too difficult points. You can also encourage the shy and quiet students by asking their opinions. In a way, you act as the chairperson and observer of the committees.

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Fastest Ball The idea of the game is simple: the group’s task is to move the ball from one member to another as quickly as possible. The ball has to touch each group member at least once! For example, you can divide the class in two groups and give them ten minutes to come up with a solution to the problem. After ten minutes, the groups will show their solutions while you time them. After the game, it’s time to face more demanding challenges!


General Assembly Overview


Permission to address the Assembly During the General Assembly permission to address the Assembly is granted by the President. Committees ask the permission by rising a sign with the committee’s name, and wait for the president to recognise them

In EYP Sessions the group (committee) resolutions are debated in a General Assembly which can last up to two days. In the parliament simulation, at least one lesson should be appointed for this. The time needed depends of course on the number of groups: discussing one resolution should be given at least 15 minutes. The number of groups and the amount of time in use should be kept in mind also when planning the discussion section. The purpose of the General Assembly is to go through all of the resolutions and discuss them with the entire class. The resolutions are dealt with one by one according to the procedure presented below.

Preparations Ideally, each student receives a copy of all resolutions in advance. This way, students have time to prepare for defending their own committees’ resolutions and for discussing the work of other groups. Before this stage, the committees need to decide who presents (reads) the resolution and who holds the defence speech. The teacher or an experienced EYP alumnus presides over the General Assembly, in other words, moderates the discussion and sees to it that the schedule is followed. If discussion seems to come to an end too early, the teacher can of course reactivate the discussion by asking questions. The committee defending its resolution answers questions from others so that other students can then decide whether or not the presenting committee has in their opinion found good solutions. After discussion, each resolution is voted on. While asking and answering questions students stand up and when presenting the resolution and holding the defence speech stand in front of the class.

Rejecting a proposal It is important for the students to understand, that a proposal being rejected does not imply it being a bad proposal. It can also be a sign of creativity and courage to propose new controversial solutions.


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General Assembly Procedure

Reading the resolution — 2 min One member of the presenting committee reads the topic of the resolution and the clauses created by the committee.

Defence speech — 2 min A member of the presenting committee holds a defence speech. The purpose of the speech is to present the resolution to other committees, to explain why the committee chose the solutions, and to convince other groups of the superiority of the solutions.

1. Reading

Open debate — 15 min During open debate, members of other committees get to ask questions about and comment on the resolution that is being discussed. Depending on the length and complexity of the questions and the activity of the students, the teacher can allow a few questions and comments before giving the floor back to the presenting committee for answers and replies. The purpose of open discussion is not just to be a question and answer time, but instead to encourage students to a lively discussion on the topic.

2. Defence Speech

Voting — 3 min After the above phases, students vote on passing or failing the resolution. Each student can vote FOR/AGAINST/ABSTAIN. Students should be encouraged to form their own opinions, since casting an empty vote can be disrespectful towards other committees’ work. First, the votes are collected within each committee after which a representative from each committee announces how the committee voted. The votes are counted, and by a majority vote the motion for a resolution is passed or failed. It is important that students understand that if a resolution fails to pass, it does not mean that the resolution was not good. Failing can also be a sign of creativity and courage to suggest new and controversial solutions.

3. Open Debate

4. Voting

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The Resolution

Example resolution


Committee Information Name of the school, names of the committee members and topic of the committee.

European Youth Parliament Motion for a Resolution Name of the school:

School of Europe

Members of the Committee: Sven Sweden, Anders Austria, Greta Germany, Dan Dutch Topic of the Committee:

Agricultural subsidies — does Europe still need them?

Introduction: Introduction The introduction presents the current situation and problems related to the committee’s topic

Intro A. The importance of agriculture varies from country to country, especially in t he new Member States it still employs many people. Intro B. The developing countries cannot import their agricultural products to urope because of high tariffs and subisidies in Europe causing problems E for their development. Intro C. Agriculture is an living part of culture everywhere in Europe and a source o f food in emergencies.

Proposals The proposals ­–part outlines the actions the committee proposes for developing the status quo and solving the problems presented in the Introduction –part.


Proposals: Proposal 1. The European Union must have a common agricultural policy in the f uture, but at the same time allow reasonable national subsidising of agriculture. Proposal 2. The EU must lower subsidies and tariffs in all products to open markets f or products from the developing countries. Proposal 3. However, The EU must always secure the possibilities of sustaining a griculture to some extent in all countries and to heavily encourage modernising and transforming the sector by supporting for example organic farming and agricultural travel.

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What to do when . . . ?


. . . there is a conflict situation? Sometimes students have very strong opinions on the topics, and conflicts arise. In such situations, you should remind the students that they are working for a result that they all agree on and can all defend. If it is impossible to reach an understanding or even a compromise on some question, it may be a good idea to table that question and move on to other, possibly easier, topics.

. . . the discussion does not proceed? When facing a difficult question, students may have difficulties moving the discussion forward; the issue may seem too broad or too challenging. The best way to avoid such situations is to prepare well. It is also helpful to brainstorm the topic thoroughly and to define the problem well in the beginning. If the schedule and the ideas to be discussed are well planned, it is possible to move on from a difficult topic to the next one and get back to the difficult issue later if there is time left. You can also repeat the brainstorming stage if a committee seems to be running out of ideas. However, usually there are more ideas and opinions than time to discuss them.

. . . writing resolutions? In the end of committee work, the committee needs to formulate their agreed solutions into a resolution. Sometimes this can be difficult when students disagree on small details. To avoid such problems, the students are recommended to write down at least raw versions of the clauses during the discussion, to write down the agreed solution as soon as an agreement has been reached. That way, all that remains to be done in the end is to rewrite the clauses. If students are short on time or disagree on how to express the solutions, the clauses can be divided for individual group members or pairs to finish. Finally, the entire committee will go through each clause together and approve or revise them. It is important to remember that each clause needs the approval of all committee members. The resolution has to be the result of the whole committee’s work, and everyone has to be able to defend it.

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After the Simulation Feedback

Immediately after the simulation or during the following lesson, it is good to ask students for feedback. Feedback is not only assessment of the simulation, but also self-evaluation and discussion of what was pleasant and successful, and on the other hand, which things could have gone better. Below are some questions for discussion.

Feedback questions Did the discussions affect your knowledge of or attitude towards the EU? Was it easy to defend your opinions? Did you get upset? If yes, which statement caused that? In which ways was the parliament simulation useful? Feedback Form You can fill in a feeback form at the programme website www.parliamentsimulation.org.


Was your committee topic interesting – or easy or difficult? Is there anything in the simulation that you are not happy with? Resolutions and feedback from the teacher Finally, we request that you fill a feedback form on the project website and send the resolutions to EYP via mail or electronically. This would help us improve the simulation and let us know who have used our material. All resolutions will also be put on the project website – surely your students want their work to be seen too!

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The Programme

EYP Parliament Simulation Programme

This guide has been revised and further developed in connection to the teacher workshops at the International Session of the European Youth Parliament in Lillehammer, Norway in December 2010. The main target group for the parliament simulation programme are the young people currently studying in European upper secondary schools. The materials and methods developed are however of use with younger students as well as with adults. You can follow the programme and get all materials from www.eypej. org (-> see activities -> EYP at School). The website will include electronic versions of this guide and also include other useful material.

Contact European Youth Parliament Schwarzkopf Foundation Sophienstrasse 28 - 29 10178 Berlin

EYP’s year 2010 In 2010 the 34 National Committees of EYP organised over 110 sessions. The organisation reached over 20 000 young people. More information on the EYP is available at the programme website www.eypej.org

Germany phone: +49 280 95 146 [email protected] www.eypej.org

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European Youth Parliament Our Work

Today the EYP is one of the largest European platforms for political debate, intercultural encounters, political educational work and the exchange of ideas among young people in Europe. The EYP consists of a network of 34 European associations and organisations in which thousands of young people are active in an honorary capacity. At the over 50 regional, national and international events year in the 34 national organisations, the EYP reaches well over 20,000 young people. Three major International Sessions also take place every year. On each of these occasions the European Youth Parliament brings together 300 young people from 34 countries for 10 days in alternating European cities.

The aims of the EYP are to - Raise awareness of European issues, encourage active European citizenship and motivate students to get engaged in European politics. - Promote international understanding, intercultural dialogue and diversity of ideas and practices. Contribute to the personal skills development of European youth. - Provide a forum in which young people of Europe can express their own opinions, without reverting to role play. - Encourage the involvement of school and pupils in European matters to contribute to a European dimension in education.


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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and theCommission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.