Scenario 6: Designing Lessons and Training Sessions

Cards for Democracy
Published on
April 20, 2022
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A 60-card deck to reflect on our interior condition for democratic culture.

Learning to show up in the world of education with democratic values in mind


  • Introduction to Scenario 6
  • Activity Example

    • Aim
    • Expected Outcome
    • Preparation
  • Procedure

How you show up in the world matters. This is why Cards for Democracy are an important tool today. They help us develop our interior condition to support democratic environment in our life and work.

Ready to use the Cards for Democracy? We offer some suggestions for you in the form of loose frameworks in which you can develop your creativity, as an educator, facilitator, or trainer.

These frameworks – we call them “Scenarios” – are intended to help you find inspiration to create your own activities.

L2C will share activities for download regularly in the C4D community of practice: Cards for Democracy Facebook group and on its media pages.

For an Introduction to the Cards for Democracy click here.

Scenario 6: Designing lessons and training sessions

“Communication is arguably the most important skill for a teacher.”

Prof. Dr. Jón Torfi Jónasson, keynote of the Pestalozzi Summer School 2015

You can use the Cards for Democracy as a starting point for your lesson design. When you, as a trainer or teacher, have a clear understanding of what you want for the group, you will be better able to communicate that clearly to learners. Cards for Democracy can help here to develop that clear understanding.

Using the cards will give you an opportunity to reflect upon:

  • Your own values
  • How you prioritize them
  • How to align your values with your behavior in the classroom

and thus help you be a convincing role model and “walking the talk”. The Cards for Democracy offer a flexible resource for exploring attitudes, values and actions in both, yourself and the individuals in your learning group. They help explore where your participants stand and what it will take to further their development.

In sum,

  • Having a clear vision at the onset will enable you to plan the right learning environment for your aims.
  • Having a clear vision at the outset will enable you to ask the right debriefing questions after the training activity.

Thus, learning about how we communicate, increases our attention and awareness about communication and invites us to explore what can be done to enhance our listening skills so as to avoid misunderstandings and also practice the ability to really connect to the people we communicate with.

Here is a suggestion for an activity that develops such aims.

Teachers learning with the Cards for Democracy

Activity Example – Listening for Democracy

Before you engage your participants in the activity, you may want to start wondering what it takes for communication to succeed. Perhaps you want to think back to a situation where communication failed, where you felt misunderstood, either because you failed to express yourself in a way that was easy to understand or because the other person was not listening. What would have helped to improve the situation? How easy or challenging is it for you to listen attentively to the people in your life?

Are you willing to commit to

    • improving your listening skills?
    • listen to people attentively?
    • always try to express your thoughts clearly?
    • ask questions more than to give answers?

Committing will set your subconscious towards these goals and put you on the fast track to developing these skills.

  • To become aware that there may be a difference between an interlocutors’ intent for a message and the interpretation of that message.
  • To become aware that active rephrasing and inquiring are integral parts of active listening
  • To empathize with your partner so as to take on your partner’s perspective and enhance mutual understanding
  • Participants will have experienced the difference between intent and interpretation of a message

  • Participants will have practiced rephrasing and inquiring to verify their understanding

  • Participants will practice expressing their thoughts clearly

  • Participants will reflect on reasons for misunderstandings and develop strategies to improve both listening and communication skills.

  • Make sure you have printed all the cards that you want to use (this may vary depending on what you have explored and how long you want this part of the session to last).
    The cards are available in the products section of Learn to Change.
    You can become a member by clicking here.
  • Have a number of geometrical shapes (paper) in different colors and sizes ready that can be arranged so as to create different images that describe.
  • 3 images to draw
  • 3 sheets of paper and one pen per group


Step 1: drawing

Create groups of 3 participants and ask them to choose their letter A, B, or C. Participants A and B are placed back to back. Participant A must describe an image that participant B will then draw on a paper. Participant C acts as a silent observer who does not intervene.

Step 2: Compare the two images

Participants describe which elements are similar and which are different. With the help of the observer, they talk about what misunderstandings were present, what strategies were helpful or not.

Step 3: Debriefing

  • Ask questions to find out about possible reasons why there is a difference between a message and the interpretation of that message?
  • Lead the conversation towards exploring what strategies can be used to minimize misunderstanding (such as empathizing, putting yourself in the shoes of the other, inquiring and rephrasing).

Step 4: Repeat step 1 and 2 with another image and swap the roles

This time: Participant A is the observer, Participant B describes the picture, Participant C draws the picture.

Participants describe which elements are similar and which are different. With the help of the observer, they talk about what misunderstandings were present, what strategies were helpful or not. They also compare if the result is closer to the original image than in the first round.

Step 5: Debriefing

  • Talk about the differences in the approach (attitude) of the person describing the picture as compared to the first round.
  • Talk about the differences in the behavior (skills) of the person drawing the picture as compared to the first round.
  • Explore: has awareness increased in the people in the second round? If so, to what effect?

Step 6: Repeat step 1 and 2 with another image and swap the roles

This time: Participant A is the observer, Participant B describes the picture, and participant C draws the picture.

Step 7: Debriefing

  • What have we learnt?
  • What changed in this round?
  • How can what was experienced in this activity be applied to everyday conversations?
  • What does the activity teach us about “giving instructions in the classroom”?
  • What is a good strategy to apply active listening in everyday life?
  • How can inquiry based communication help with deciphering between truth and lies, between information and propaganda, fake news or conspiracy theories?

Step 8: Disbanding

Explain that the aim of the session was to develop competences in the area of communication and especially around these components:

Download the activity

By downloading Scenario 6 – Designing lesson plans and training sessions, you will have a PDF resource to keep and consult for your activities.


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