Students learn about the competing economic, environmental and social interests raised by globalization by preparing proposals to address a particular land use issue and trying to negotiate a solution that is acceptable to various stakeholder groups.
Introduction to land use issues
In preparation for this challenge, identify an actual or fictionalized land use issue involving competing economic, environmental and social interests of four or five different stakeholder groups; e.g., government, labour, nongovernment organizations, Aboriginal peoples. The strategies and resources discussed in this scenario could be used as is or adapted for another issue. Perhaps use a Canadian example, such as the boreal forests or resource development agreements in Northwest Territories or the James Bay Project (see References).
For detailed instructions on teaching negotiation tools, see Negotiating Win-Win Solutions (Modelling the Tools) which demonstrates the tools in the context of a fictional development plan for a region in the Brazilian rainforest.
Prepare group proposals for land development
Announce that students have been asked to negotiate a complex land use problem involving economic, environmental and social interests. Introduce the selected issue and the stakeholder groups. Assign students to represent one of the groups.
Provide students with the following information:
- background information on their stakeholder group
- a list of the priority interests and concerns of this group, including values related to relationship with the land proposed strategies or plans that the group would like implemented
- evidence supporting their proposals.
Ask students to act as representatives of this stakeholder group and to prepare draft proposals for developing the land.
Choose two proposals to take to negotiations
Before students decide on the two proposals their group will take to the negotiations, present the following criteria for decision making:
- the proposals should meet their own group's interests
- the proposals' implications for other groups must be clearly understood
- the proposals must accommodate, to some extent, other groups' interests.
Introduction to concept: Win-win solutions
Before beginning the negotiations, introduce the notion of a win-win mindset that looks for solutions where everyone gains. Discuss the following criteria for a win-win solution:
- is feasible
- promotes everyone's (or almost everyone's) interests
- is fair to everyone concerned.
Select negotiating teams
Organize students into negotiating teams consisting of one representative from each stakeholder group.
Ask students to develop a solution that is agreeable to everyone. Each group should record on chart paper its agreed-upon proposal and the reasons for accepance.
Share and display proposals
As each negotiating group presents its win-win solution, direct students to record the details of the plans, indicate their impact on each stakeholder group's interests and offer comments on the main strengths and weaknesses of each proposal. After the presentations, invite the class to discuss the degree to which each plan meets the various stakeholders' interests.
After the whole class discussion, ask students to put aside their assigned roles and individually decide which plan offers the best win-win solution. To meet diverse learning needs, you might ask students to write a position paragraph or prepare a clear oral statement supported with several pieces of evidence. Ask students to explain why the proposed solution best serves all stakeholder groups. Reiterate that in making this judgement, students should consider the criteria discussed earlier; i.e., is feasible, promotes all groups' interests, is fair to everyone. Point out that it may be difficult to promote everyone's interests equally, but they should look for the plan that most closely meets these criteria or propose modifications that will better serve everyone's interests.
Lesson adapted from Brazilian Rainforest edited by Don Northey, Jan Nicol and Roland Case (Richmond, BC: The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2002).