Author Topic: Debating in class  (Read 1360 times)

Offline Avacado

  • Teacher
  • Woolly Mammoth
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,736
    • View Profile
Debating in class
« on: December 04, 2007, 09:38:30 AM »
Ok, so it was brought up by one of the JTEs that he would like if his kids could debate opinions in English.  Have any of you guys come up with a good lesson/game that made this enjoyable with a reasonable amount of student participation.  I was going to have the class split and argue, but I know they'll just sit there because its easier than speaking their minds (as they have no opinions without consulting a panel of friends).

Ideas? Ideas?  Guys? 
There.  Now everything goes together.

Offline Professor Bonerpants

  • Teacher
  • Sasquatch
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,523
  • lord of death
    • View Profile
    • invaders
Re: Debating in class
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2007, 10:03:30 AM »
It would be better to make smaller groups and make it a requirement that each person say something.
You'd probably have to make them give their opinions vs an opposing group as more of a presentation.

Pick some good topics then have them work together on a worksheet to come up with some valid points before the presentations.
Then all you have to do is play talk show host. If things stall, lead them back on track.

If you're wanting to keep score as a contest sort of thing, you could also end each presentation by having the rest of the class vote.

Offline Electric Barbarella

  • Teacher
  • Sasquatch
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,968
    • View Profile
Re: Debating in class
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2007, 01:34:47 PM »
I tried to do this with my OCII class with some mixed results.  One of the reasons being I had never done this before and was making the lessons without an example, and my OCII class ranges from great at English to almost failing out of school.

Doing debating as a one shot class is a little difficult I think.  You should have at least one lesson about giving opinions, or a lesson about agreeing and another about disagreeing.  Teach them some basic phrases (not too many! it overloads them), and have some examples on their work sheet.   Teach them how to make those idea bubble diagrams.  It really helps them.

  (idea)-----(topic)------(idea)-----(idea)
                  |
                (idea)

As a warm-up or practice, write an opinion on the board and have all the class agree or disagree with it.  Then call on people to give one of their ideas and write those on the board.

I didn't have a real debate in class.  What I did was I had the kids turn their desks to face each other.  Then I had them stand up and move 3 seats to the right and the person across from them was their partner.  I then gave a topic that was easy to have an opinion on (cats vs. dogs) and assigned which opinion they had to defend.  Next, I gave them 5-10 minutes to write as many opinions and supporting ideas as possible.  When time was up, I had them say one opinion at a time to their partner and their partner would say one opinion back.  If there is more time, have them move seats and debate a new topic.

My problem was that I tried to give my kids too much information and it confused even the best kids.  I wish that I would have had a better structure, but I think I learned for next year.  Also, a lot of the kids failed to argue their opinions, they just read them.  I'll focus more on arguing next time.

My suggestion is that you keep it in partners or very small groups.  A more formal debate will not work well unless it's a genki and high level class.  I think 3 to 5 classes is good for giving opinions/non-formal debating.  If your JTE wants a more formal debate, you'll want to give the kids a lot of time to prepare.  I think the English class last year got about a few weeks to prepare outside of class. 

Offline Avacado

  • Teacher
  • Woolly Mammoth
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,736
    • View Profile
Re: Debating in class
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2007, 09:25:22 AM »
How can I make giving opinions tolerable/fun.  Even Im bored with this weeks intro lesson to the concept from the textbook.  I want to make it up to them, possible something that will get them moving and speaking.
You guys have given good advice so far though.  I pity the students for it now, because the very teacher that requested they debate has now changed it to giving presentations.  I'm pretty sure he thinks its the same thing though.  Jackass. 
Anyway, this lesson will drag on into next week, and probably again after the break.  I need to have fun during class or Ill lose it/them.
There.  Now everything goes together.