What is just and what is unjust

Susanne von Braunmühl

Thinking about justice with the picture book "Two for me, one for you"

Three delicious fried mushrooms and two hungry friends: can this dilemma be solved fairly? The story of the bear and the weasel vividly reflects the experiences of children and leads to an exchange on central questions: Can people always be fair? And is justice the same for everyone?

“Two for me, one for you”: With this dilemma story by Jörg Mühle (see Fig. 1) we start our first philosophical round. The bear finds three delicious mushrooms on the way home in the forest. His friend, the weasel, is delighted and immediately braises them in the heavy pan.
But then the problem arises: three mushrooms for two? How does that work? A fierce argument breaks out: “I found it!” - “I made it.” - “But according to my recipe.” - “I prefer mushrooms!” - “I'm bigger!” - “I still have to grow ... "(Mill 2018). What is fair
But then suddenly a cunning fox appears and grabs a mushroom. The problem is solved, everyone consumes their mushroom with relish. If the weasel didn't have another dessert: three wild strawberries ... The book ends with this dilemma and leaves us with the question:
What is actually fair?
The dilemma story in class
To get started, there is simply a plate with three mushrooms in the middle of the base. The conflict is already looming on the first pages: three mushrooms for two friends. “I'm tall and have to eat more,” the bear decides. My reading stops here. "Is that fair? What will the weasel say? ”I ask.
I pass the argument between the two of them on to the class: one side of the circle of chairs takes on the role of the bear, the other side that of the weasel. Both sides are discussing with great enthusiasm. You can tell that such arguments are not unknown to the children.
Then it's time to read on. In fact, the children rediscover their own arguments in the argument between the two friends. They cannot resolve their conflict, because suddenly a fox appears and grabs the third mushroom. The problem seems solved. Everyone gets a mushroom and is satisfied. But the dilemma has only been postponed. The Wiesel serves three wild strawberries for dessert. And now? The end remains open.
I use that and ask the students: “Will the same conflict repeat itself? Will they find a fair solution? ”Working in pairs, the children think about a little role play with a suggested solution and present it to the class.
Keep a journal of thoughts
“That is unfair!” - we all know such thoughts and related stories. The children receive a thought diary on the subject of “justice” in which they can now write and paint their own experiences (see illustration from Fischer's contribution). A variety of similar dilemmas come together: It is about the unjust distribution of sweets, unjust attentions in the family, injustice at school, other children who have or are allowed to have more.
The children's need to speak is great
In the next hour we will look for clues. What does justice actually mean? A word card with the term is placed as an impulse in the middle of the circle of seats. This creates space for a first round of thoughts. "It is unjust if ..." - "It is fair if ..." are possible beginnings of sentences for your own considerations. The children's need to speak is great, everyone has their own experiences that they want to share.
Justice - what is it? A marketplace talk
A shared storytelling would be so overloaded. That's why I decide to have a (Socratic) marketplace talk. To do this, the classroom is cleared so that there is enough space to walk. The children are the people in the marketplace, the teacher is the market manager. Everyone is walking around the market square. When the store management ...