Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Writing an opinion - Lesson 2 (mini debate)

[Go to Lesson 1 or Lesson 2 or Lesson 3]

In Lesson 2 (carried out on a different day of the week), the students will use the points which have been discussed in Lesson 1 in a mini debate between girls and boys. I gave them a situation:

Your class decided to have a vacation during the coming Chinese New Year holidays. Let's say that some of you decided to go to Zinga Island while others wanted to go to Manzu Highlands. Therefore, you have to convince me, your class teacher, which is the best place to go.

I wrote the letters "Z" and "M" on two pieces of papers and folded the papers into smaller pieces. Then, I asked a boy and a girl to pick a piece from the two folded papers. The group which gets a "Z" will choose Zinga Island as the best place for their holidays and vice versa. 

Before conducting the debate, I gave students 15 minutes to sit together in groups and write the sentences that they plan to say in the debate using the points discussed in Lesson 1. I also asked students to list any concerns that they might have if they were to go to the place that the other group wanted to go. For example, let's say the girls chose Manzu Highlands while the boys chose Zinga Island. Therefore, the boys must list their concerns of going to Manzu Highlands (girls'choice) such as:
  1. What happens if we get lost in the forest?
  2. Will there be network coverage for mobile phone users?
  3. Are there any wild animals in the forest?
  4. Can landslide happen?

The girls must also list their concerns of going to Zinga Island (boys' choice) such as:
  1. Spending time at Zinga Island can burn the skin.
  2. Can tsunami happen?
  3. Are the food cheap & fresh?
  4. Is it safe to swim in the water?

The rationale behind this activity is to get students to think spontaneously and respond to the opponents' concerns using their general knowledge or the knowledge that they have gained from other subjects that they learn in school such as Science or Geography. For class activity, I encouraged students to support their points from the Qur'an or hadith.

After 15 minutes, boys and girls sat closely in 2 large groups. I taught students some polite expressions that they could use to agree and disagree to an opinion. [Refer to the handout] I modeled how the debate should be done. For example: 

Boy: We would like to choose Zinga Island for our next holiday.
Girl: We disagree with the boys. We would like to go to Manzu Highlands for our next holiday.
Boy: I think we should go to Zinga Island because..
Girl: In my opinion, we should go to Manzu Highlands because..

Actually, I wanted each student to take turn in giving their opinion but that didn't happen as only the same excited students got up and talked. I didn't want to be so rigid since, I believe that, this was the first time the students (including me) conducted a debate. Teacher can play a role as a facilitator should students get stuck in giving opinions by posing questions to them. For example:     
  1. What are the activities that we can do in Zinga Island/Manzu Highlands?
  2. There are a lot of food stalls at Zinga Island. What about Manzu Highlands? 

1 mark was awarded to each point.

It was great to see some students competed to express their opinions. Most of them gave more than one opinion at a time. They could apply what they've learnt from the poem - Leisure. Based on my observations, the boys (from 3 classes that I teach - 3 Imtiaz, 3 Istiqamah & 3 Ijtihad) were more able to provoke, pose questions and counter the arguments of their opposition. Some of the girls, I believe, were still shy to express their thoughts.

The boys won the debate! Girls, you did great but you need to be more aggressive next time. Nevertheless, congratulations to all students for trying really hard :)

End of Lesson 2.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nuha,

I see that you have made full use of your skill and turn them to good lesson plans.Keep it up!

Kak Sophia

Anonymous said...

hi Nuha,

I wonder is this kind of debate will work for low-proficiency students? or mix ability? But i found your first lesson was great as I did the same thing for my students.

Teacher Nuha said...

Hi Kak Sophia, Thanks for the comment :)

Hi Anonymous, for LEP ss, we could get them to write the sentences using the brainstormed ideas BEFORE asking them to do the debate.. i didnt do this in lesson 2. the problem was, they were too shy to speak (i didnt force each of the ss to give their opinion) so the same ss will stand up & talk.. my answer to your question, yes we can do this activity with our LEP ss.. give them a chance.. you'll be surprise how provocative some ss can be..

shafa aqira said...

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