You’re working in a high school. In Spain. More likely than not, you will be surrounded by teenagers who have an affinity for speaking to one another. A lot. Why not try to channel the energy into meaningful conversation. Often times there might be enough differing opinions on a subject that the class can divide itself among the varying viewpoints. Other times, there might be only two sides to the coin. It’s up to you to decide. Whatever you choose, just make sure you make time for two things:
- Discussion amongst themselves in small groups on the viewpoint they are defending; and,
- The actual debate. Nothing is worse than not having enough time to actually present your ideas to your fellow students.
One of the first debate topics I facilitated at IES Alameda de Osuna was on the importance Spaniards, or anyone for that matter, learning a foreign language well. I had them read an article about a 17 year old girl, Vera Mol, who died on a bungee jump in Spain as a result of mishearing an instructor’s English. I felt this topic was relatable to the students, not only because we were in an English class in Spain, but because of the age of the girl. We quickly read the article in class and decided to split up into two groups. One group took the side of the family of the victim and the other took the side of the business being sued.
Other topics we have debated:
- Privacy, Technology and the World Wide Web
- Running of the Bulls in Spain
- Sustainable Business Practices
- Equal Rights and the Role of Women in the Media
- Media Literacy and the Shaping of Public Opinion