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Debate class with students of very low speaking skills

 
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:51 am    Post subject: Debate class with students of very low speaking skills Reply with quote

The new book with one of my classes focuses entirely on debating. My boss wants me to split the class into two groups and debate issues. However, the students are unable to converse in English. I have taught kindergarten classes in the past where the students had much, much higher English speaking skills than this class.

The first class was on Thursday and it was just horrible. The topic of Unit 1 was whether or not children should be allowed to play with toy weapons. "Toys happy!" and "Teddy bear," were typical sentences. Random thoughts about toys were said, but there was really no discussion about the topic and certainly no debating.

So here I am on Saturday morning, wondering what to do for Tuesday. I'm at a loss for what to do, but I imagine many teachers on here have had similar experiences of being given curriculums that are way above the levels of the students. Has anyone here successfully navigated through such a situation? If so, can you share how you made it work? I'm pretty desperate for some ideas.
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thrylos



Joined: 10 Jun 2008

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a book I use to teach debate. Granted, it would seem that the level is higher than yours, but the way it's presented can easily work for lower students, as well.

http://discoverdebate.com/dd/

Also, Idebate.org has some good ideas/suggestions on how to go about teaching different elements of debating, with lots of good pro/con sides on various topics.

Keep it simple. Introduce phrases like "In my opinion,..." "I believe that", "I think...". Maybe focus more on getting them to express their opinions and reasons why rather than formal debating first. Good luck.
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two things I do to elicit debate style discussions deal with adjectives and time references.

This month I like to do shopping lessons and money with students, but I am at a college and that would be too simple. So, I had them plan out a trip and one thing we talked about was making hotel reservations. It's not really a debate, but I asked, "When is it good to make reservations, before or after a flight?"

This got them thinking along the same lines as a debate would, but it is an easier issue to address. After you establish the time, ask why to get adjectives.

I don't know the age of your students, but maybe you can give them a reading excerpt and they can try to find the important sentences. For kids, I would pair words on a list with similar meaning. One word should be new and one should be a word they already know.

If they are older, mix the words up randomly and see if they can find them. www.breakingnewsenglish.com does a good job at this.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies and the tips, fellas.
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jlb



Joined: 18 Sep 2003

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was actually going to respond and help you until I saw your reply, "Thanks for the replies, and tips, FELLAS."

Some of us are women and aren't comments like that kind of out of place in this day and age?
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jlb wrote:
I was actually going to respond and help you until I saw your reply, "Thanks for the replies, and tips, FELLAS."

Some of us are women and aren't comments like that kind of out of place in this day and age?


1. Fella:

a nonstandard variant of fellow


2. Fellow:

Origin:
before 1050; Middle English felowe, felawe, late Old English fēolaga < Old Norse fēlagi partner in a joint undertaking, equivalent to fē money, property (cognate with Old English feoh, German Vieh ) + -lagi bedfellow, comrade; akin to lair1 , lie2


3. bedfellow:

Also called bedmate. a person who shares one's bed.


4. bedmate:

1.bedfellow
2.one's husband, wife, or lover.

You decide. I guess it would sound strange for male only once we dig to 3. However, most people just use it to think of a male instead of female in modern usage.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jlb wrote:
I was actually going to respond and help you until I saw your reply, "Thanks for the replies, and tips, FELLAS."

Some of us are women and aren't comments like that kind of out of place in this day and age?


I didn't mean it in a vulgar sense. I didn't know it could even mean bedmate or lover until YTMND posted that definition, and I didn't mean it in that sense. In my generation and in the region where I grew up, it's just synonymous with "guys." Thrylos and YTMND had taken the time and effort to help me and I simply wanted to thank these kind gentlemen for their replies. Again, I didn't mean anything vulgar or to offend you or anyone else reading my thread.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YTMND wrote:
jlb wrote:
I was actually going to respond and help you until I saw your reply, "Thanks for the replies, and tips, FELLAS."

Some of us are women and aren't comments like that kind of out of place in this day and age?


You decide. I guess it would sound strange for male only once we dig to 3. However, most people just use it to think of a male instead of female in modern usage.


In this thread, jlb started a post with, "Hey guys," which is the exact same context of my usage of fellas. http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?t=93581&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

In this one, jlb gave heartfelt thanks to madoka for the kind words after madoka made a post that referred to jlb as "the guy" and "he." http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?t=196807&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

I just don't get why it's "kind words" to call a woman "the guy" and "he" but "out of place in this day and age" to call two men "fellas."
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I just don't get why it's "kind words" to call a woman "the guy" and "he" but "out of place in this day and age" to call two men "fellas."


I read your response earlier to mean you thought the "fellas" comment was singling out men as opposed to women. Furthermore, that you felt your comments, I am assuming you are female, would not be taken as worthy/important as if it were given from a man.

If you are questioning the use of "fellas" in context of men, then I think it is normal to use "fellas" like we would use "guys". This would be more for causal speaking and not in a business setting.

It's not used as often and I wouldn't use "fellas" in the classroom, but I have used "guys" just as a general term, like "waiter" sometimes even though the waiter is a "waitress" and not male. Is it 100% accurate? No. Does it matter? Not for me, I won't lose any sleep Confused
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nero



Joined: 11 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it was just annoying for her that you assumed the other two posters were male. As in female teachers are incapable of giving advice.

Back on topic; if their English level is low you need to introduce appropriate vocab and concepts before you even start trying to debate from a book.

Drill them, then practice. Start off with individual responses then get the other students to build on it until you have decent argument - that sort of thing.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nero wrote:
I think it was just annoying for her that you assumed the other two posters were male. As in female teachers are incapable of giving advice.


But I assumed thrylos and YTMND are male for the same reason I assume Zackback, Harpeau, bundangbear, fromtheuk, and Dave Sperling are male. Because they clearly are.

If I had been replying to you, NYC_Gal 2.0, peppermint, MollyBloom, and eleruen instead of thrylos and YTMND, I would've said something like, "Thanks ladies," intending no disrespect to the male posters on Dave's.

No one supports women's rights more than I do. If women want to serve in front line combat, I support them. If lesbians want to get married, I support them. I'm for equal rights for women. But where's the mutual respect? As we see by the way wesharris was excluded and discriminated against by jlb and others in this thread simply for being male, respect is often a one way street. http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?t=150104&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

nero wrote:
Back on topic; if their English level is low you need to introduce appropriate vocab and concepts before you even start trying to debate from a book.

Drill them, then practice. Start off with individual responses then get the other students to build on it until you have decent argument - that sort of thing.


Great. Thank you ma'am for the advice. I do appreciate it!
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