Inspired by “Shaping the way we teach English”
OUR CLASS IN THE FUTURE
Joelle Khoury - Karen Gholam - Mira Teeny
Mireille Allam - Nadine Dib
In our presentation, we propose a “debate activity” in
which students debate over controversial issues such as
divorce, nationalism and plastic surgery.
We have all participated in such debate activities, whether in
school or in university. However, how does our proposed
activity differ from the ones we’re accustomed to?
What changes or novelties are we going to suggest?
The answer to this question will be clear towards the end of
DEBATE ACTIVITY: a Simulation to a TV
The activity that we propose may be applied in schools as well
as in universities. The activity consists of SIX STEPS:
1 - Choosing a topic
2 - Researching the topic
3 - Debating in the classroom
4 - Writing an Argumentative Essay
5 - Feedback (on students oral and written performances)
6 - Publishing of the best essays in the school’s or
university’s yearly magazine
STEP 1: Choosing a Topic
• The teacher explains the rules of the
• He/she selects the topics for the students
and displays them on the board.
• The teacher draws the names of the
students from a “hat”; then students, one
after the other, walk to the board and write
their names under the topic of their choice.
• They need to choose whether they are
“with” or “against” that subject; if the topic
and position of their choice is taken, they
need to choose another one.
STEP 2: Researching the Topic
• The students in group A and B
work collaboratively to construct
and support their arguments.
• They have one week to prepare
for the debate.
STEP 4: Writing an Argumentative Essay
Group A and B:
• Each student in both groups A and B writes an argumentative essay in
▫ Rebuts the views of the opposing group (based on the notes they have
taken in class during the debate)
▫ Presents his/her arguments
▫ Illustrates with photos or drawings
• The students have one week to present their essays
• Students from the audience present each a short essay (1 page) in which
they state which group convinced them more and why. They may also
agree or disagree with both groups A and B, but they have to justify their
• The students have one week to present their essays.
STEP 5: Feedback
• The teacher corrects the essays and writes his/her feedback on the
papers. He/she hands them back to the students a week later.
• The teacher watches the videotape and notes down the major
• The teacher may divide a “correction lesson” based on the major
oral and written errors, errors that will be of use to the whole
GRADING: 40% on classroom debate; 40% on argumentative essays;
20% on short evaluative essays.
STEP 6: Publishing the Essays
• The teacher selects the two best
essays from group A and B as well as
the three best essays from
• When all the essays are collected
towards the end of the year, they
are published in the annual school’s
magazine (with the photos or
drawings that the students
• In a class of 32 students, four “debate activities”/themes are
presented throughout the year; thus, twenty essays will be
published at the end of the year.
• Each debate activity takes three weeks: one week for the research
and debate, one week for the written essays, one week for the
corrections and the feedback.
• Each debate in the classroom takes about forty minutes: 5 min for
the preparation of the setting, 20min for the debate, 10min for the
questions, and 5min for putting things back to the way they were.
The rest of the session is consecrated for a feedback for the
previous debate activity.
SKILLS & ABILITIES USED/DEVELOPED
What skills are used and developed in this activity and are they
The students work with more than one skill and the skills are inter-connected:
• The primary skills - Reading (during the research), Listening (during the
debate), Speaking (during debate), and Writing - are all integrated.
• The learners psychomotor, affective and cognitive abilities are employed
▫ Cognitive abilities: e.g. analyzing, evaluating, and CREATIVE/CRITICAL
▫ Affective abilities: valuing, receiving and responding to phenomena, internalizing
and organizing values
• In this activity, the learners ability to communicate in the TL for meaningful
purposes, is also developed.
The students learn to work both individually and in groups, they learn by
doing (student-centered), and they develop successful “learning strategies”
(meta-cognitive, cognitive and socio-affective) with the aid of the teacher.
How does our proposed activity differ from the ones we’re
accustomed to? How will the changes that we have suggested
affect the learners?
In “Our Class in the Future (Our Vision)”:
• The topics for debate are highly motivating and related to
the students’ lives:
▫ Examples of such topics are: (1) pre-marital cohabitation; (2) friends
from the opposite sex; (3) homosexuality; (4) leaving your parental
house at the age of 23; (5) pre-marital sex; (6) married women
working; (7) divorce
• The activity is made more realistic through:
▫ The setting; that is, the classroom and tasks division
▫ The media elements: the video camera and the magazine
Such conditions increase learning and expose students
to real life situations.
DABATE ACTIVITY: Debating in the Classroom
Are you WITH or AGAINST leaving
your parental house at the age of 23?
Inspired by “Shaping the way we teach English”
OUR VISION OF THE IDEAL
Questions to the audience while group A and B brainstorm:
As a student, would you like to participate
in such an activity?
As a teacher, would you consider applying this activity?