Teachers - Activities - Uncertainty
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Sacrifice | Service
| So What? | Hard
vs. Conscientious Objectors
a classroom setting you would want as many people as possible involved.
There are two main roles to be played - the judge and the
conscientious objector (CO). Small roles could include the stenographer,
RCMP officer, Legionnaire, father of the CO, minister of the CO.
Choose one to three people (depending on the size of class)
to be the judge and his/her supporting cast. The rest of
the people could be considered conscientious objectors and each
had to have their turn before the judge. Have each group,
judges and COs , do research for each of the sides they represent.
You could ask the judge to make up questions and the COs
respond with their own answers, or provide set questions and answers.
Set up the room as court with the judge's bench raised, provide
costumes if you so desire.
– Conscientious Objector
Father of the young conscientious objector
Minister supporting the conscientious objector.
Note: the minister and father, if allowed into the courtroom, were
there for morale support, they could not say anything to the judge.
the site to gain an understanding of the people involved and their
points of view. For this section, the Uncertainty – Before
the Judge http://www.alternativeservice.ca/uncertainty/judge/
the Sacrifice – discrimination http://www.alternativeservice.ca/sacrifice/discrimination/index.htm
Hard questions http://www.alternativeservice.ca/hard/
and history http://alternativeservice.ca/history/index.htm
are the most pertinent; however other sections may also be
helpful. If you have only one computer in the room you can
give each group a turn at the computer to look at the site while
the other group looks at paper copies. You could make their
research as part of their home work assignment and then they could
access a computer at home or their local library. Or make available
paper copies of the most pertinent materials form the web site.
Try to understand the values of the judges, what their goals were,
and their own personal experiences. Note their age, socioeconomic
position, and formal education. Their aim was to encourage
the war effort and allow only sincere COs to do alternative service.
Options included working at: camp, farm, hospital, teacher
in northern communities, prison, medic in the military.
prepare two to three sets of 5-7 questions to ask the different
young conscientious objectors based on questions on the web site.
RCMP officer was there ensure orderliness, stenographer takes notes,
Legionnaire there to encourage enlistment.
Try to understand the values of the CO, what their background was,
and their religious
Note: their age, socioeconomic position, education, mother
language. The aim is to convince the judge that you are sincere
and going to war is against your personal convictions. Options
are working on your own farm, working on someone else's farm, working
in a camp, hospital, teacher in a northern community, medic in the
military, or prison.
profiles: you may make up your own:
objector profile #1
You are 20 years old.
You live on your parents farm
You are the oldest in the family of 8 children.
You have a grade 5 formal education
Languages spoken: German and some English.
objector profile #2
You are 18 years old.
You live on your parents farm
You are the youngest son in the family of 5.
You have a grade 9 formal education.
Languages spoken: English
Objector profile #3
You are 24 years old
You live in a city
You are newly married and have a 3 month old daughter.
You work as a mechanic
You have a grade 6 formal education.
Languages spoken: English and German.
Your father is a minister who supports alternative service.
objector profile #4
You are 23 years old
You live in a small town with people of various backgrounds
You are single
You have finished high school and teacher's training
You are teaching in a 1-room school house grades 1-8.
Some of your former students volunteer for military service
Languages spoken: English and German
You are a member of a Mennonite church.
the 2 groups 20 minuets to prepare. The conscientious objectors
could fill out a registration form, a sample can be seen and used
from the web site at http://www.alternativeservice.ca/uncertainty/government/sampleform.htm
These completed forms should be given to the judges to look at before
the the judges interview the conscientious objectors.
this time set up the courtroom. Try to have the judge's bench
raised. Get costumes ready if you have some at this time.
the 20 minutes are up call the judge to the bench with the stenographer,
RCMP officer and legionnaire. Have the RCMP officer call
up the next applicant.
young conscientious objector rises and stands in front of the judge,
his minister and father remain silent.
judge then asks the conscientious objector 5-7 questions to determine
if this individual is sincere. Conscientious objector allowed
to respond. Based on the answers the judge makes a ruling
of what is to happen to the conscientious objector.
the role play is completed allow some time to have the students
talk about their experience. Some questions you may want
to ask include:
- How did it feel to defend
what you believed?
- Was it easy or hard.
- Did you feel the judge
sincerely listened to you?
- Judges – how easy or hard
was it to determine a person's beliefs in a short interview?
- What are some things you
believe in today that you would be willing to be put on trial
- Was the experience intimidating?
- Judges – was it frustrating
for you to allow these young men shirk their duties when you felt
they should defend the country?