How to use Cards for Democracy: ideas to make the most of it

Cards for Democracy
Published on
December 03, 2021
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How to use Cards for Democracy: ideas to make the most of it

From Learn 2 Change’s Team

What are Cards for Democracy

Cards for Democracy for All are a set of 60 cards intended for all individuals, on their own and in groups. The cards help to reflect on our intention, and to nurture a disposition to examine and improve our attitudes, skills, knowledge and understanding to better contribute to creating democratic, collaborative spaces and improve our practices and behaviors for co-constructing a more just and happy society.

Cards for Democracy for All is a tool which was designed using evidence-based research in education and democracy, as well as communities of educators involved in action research. The development of this set of cards has involved 60 educators over a period of six years; this ambitious project is therefore not simply a card game, but a data and reflection-backed tool to experiment with elaborating on our capacity for living democratic values.

How to use Cards for Democracy

With the Cards for Democracy (C4D) you can develop your democratic skills by engaging in activities and playing games. C4D help us move forward for the “participation of every human being in the formation of values that regulate how we live together” (Dewey, 1937).

Democracy matters and requires careful nurturing. It can be uplifting to experience how the values we hold dear take many shapes in our lives. We often hold key democratic values but can struggle to turn these into a lived reality. These cards help us explore, understand and reflect on democratic values and actions at an individual and collective level.

To help you use the cards, there are several possible canvases you can use!

A canvas is a form, or a framework in which an ensemble of activities are gathered towards a goal. These canvases are intended to help you find inspiration to create your own activities or to be implemented into a wider context. Canvases are rated on a scale indicating their complexity, ranging from one thought bubble (simple) to three thought bubbles (complex).

Canvas 1: Explore in dialogue

You can simply pick one card randomly, read it, reflect on its significance individually and engage in learning conversations.

Canvas 2: Design your lessons and training

The cards can be used at the beginning of the design process to think about learning outcomes we wish to reach in a course.

Canvas 3: Experience others’ and share your practice

With these cards peers can exchange how they are practicing the cards in real-life and reflect on possible futures with them.

Canvas 4: Mapping and learning

During and after a training sequence, the cards help to collectively gain awareness of what has been learnt, individually and inside the group, or classroom.

Canvas 5: Full course design

Trainers and teachers can use the cards to design longer-term, more structured learning sequences with complex stages and development plans.

Canvas 6: Evaluation and assessment

Using the cards as learning outcomes, they can be used in the beginning of a course, lesson or training to assess ‘where I’m at’ and then be used during or after the sequence to revisit ‘where I’m at’ in order to tag progression.

Canvas 7: Personal development

More experienced trainers, teachers can use the cards with learners to build a longitudin a documentation of learning progressions, through portfolios for example.

Canvas 8: Self-assessment

These cards can be used individually to assess ‘where I’m at’ and help identify ‘what I need to develop further’.

Canvas 9: Gamification

Many games, both cooperative and competitive, are designed using the cards to make for fun and memorable moments in group learning.

Canvas 10: Digital learning

The cards are easy to share, pick and mix, match and map which make them very adaptable to online training and teaching.

Canvas 11: Conflict resolution and bias reduction

The cards may be harnessed towards more complex interpersonal situations and contexts, to help protagonists understand and change the situation.

In what situations can the Cards be used?

The cards are used in all manners of situations:

● with children and youth, adults;

● in professional development, and management;

● by political groups.

Who are looking to increase democratic citizenship and participation, to support reflection around

moments of important decision-making, and even to improve workplace relationships and processes

for better common good.

We hope you will enjoy this resource! If you do, we encourage sharing it with other interested individuals and collectives to increase the tool’s visibility.

For more inspirational ideas on how to use the cards, frequently check out our website, the Pestalozzi Community of Practice, or the Cards for Democracy Facebook group.

Resources will be regularly shared for download. We share our resources in the commons and invite our communities to engage and send feedback in reciprocity.

If you wish to go further, and benefit from training, school development, coaching or any personalized use of the cards, kindly contact us at


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