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Democracy and the Rule of Law

Introduction

Democracy isn’t doing so well. The Economist Intelligence Unit, a global provider of economic and political analysis, reported in 2018 that the democratic health of 89 countries is in decline. From Poland to Venezuela to the United States, elements important to democracy—fair electoral processes, freedom of the press, and the rule of law—are under threat.

To ensure that democracy works for all of us, we need to understand what democracy is, how democracy works, and how checks and balances keep the powerful in check. This learning resource can help accomplish these goals.

Democracy and the Rule of Law is written for Saskatchewan’s Law and Social Science classrooms. Using Jerome Bruner’s concept of instructional scaffolding, its seven lessons begin with the idea of democracy, then scaffolds students into understandings about liberal democratic systems of government and the rule of law. Each lesson builds new understandings while reinforcing concepts established in earlier lessons.

Lessons in this resource include:

  • step-by-step instructions, including objectives, procedures, and discussion questions
  • a student handout
  • a case study to help demonstrate—in either a Canadian or an international context—the strengths and weaknesses of democracy and the rule of law
  • links to further resources for teachers wishing to reinforce the lesson topic.

The ultimate objective is to help teach high school students how the rule of law supports democracy, and how democracy supports the rule of law.

Of course, no learning resource is perfect. Because teachers are closest to the learning taking place in Saskatchewan’s classrooms, your feedback on Democracy and the Rule of Law is welcomed and valued. Email questions and comments to plea@plea.org.

Democracy and the Rule of Law

Full resource in PDF