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Multinationals - Help or Hindrance?

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Debates in class can help English learners practice a wide range of functions including agreeing and disagreeing, negotiating, collaboration with other students, and so on. Often students need help with ideas and that's where this lesson plan can help. Below you will find cues to the discussion concerning globalization, also known as multinationals.

This lesson plan is based on the idea that having students support opinions that are not necessarily their own during debates can help improve students fluency. In this manner, students pragmatically focus on correct production skills in conversation rather than striving to "win" the argument. For more on this approach please see the following feature: Teaching Conversational Skills: Tips and Strategies

Aim: Improve conversational skills when supporting a point of view

Activity: Debate of pros and cons of multinational companies

Level: Upper-intermediate to advanced

Outline:

  • Review language used when expressing opinions, disagreeing, making comments on other person's point of view, etc. (See work sheet)
  • Write the name of some major multinational corporations on the board (i.e. Coca Cola, Nike, Nestle, etc.)
  • Ask students what their opinions of the corporations are. Do they hurt local economies? Do they help local economies? Do they bring about homogenisation of local cultures? Do they help promote peace internationally? Etc.
  • Based on students' responses, divide groups up into two groups. One group arguing for Multinationals, one group against Multinationals. Important: Make sure that groups are put into the group with the opposite opinion of what they seemed to believe in the warm-up conversation.
  • Give students worksheets including ideas pro and con. Have students develop arguments using the ideas on the worksheet as a springboard for further ideas and discussion.
  • Once students have prepared their opening arguments, begin with the debate. Each team has 5 minutes to present their principal ideas.
  • Have students prepare notes and make rebuttal to the expressed opinions.
  • While the debate is in progress, take notes on common errors made by the students.
  • At the end of debate, take time for a short focus on common mistakes. This is important, as students should not be too involved emotionally and therefore will be quite capable of recognizing language problems - as opposed to problems in beliefs!

Multinationals: Help or Hindrance?

You are going to debate the pros and cons of international multi nation corporations. It is important to remember that you have been placed in your group based on what seems to be the opposite of what you really think. Use the clues and ideas below to help you create an arguement for your appointed point of view with your team members. Below you will find phrases and language helpful in expressing opinions, offering explanations and disagreeing.

Opinions, Preferences:

I think..., In my opinion..., I'd like to..., I'd rather..., I'd prefer..., The way I see it..., As far as I'm concerned..., If it were up to me..., I suppose..., I suspect that..., I'm pretty sure that..., It is fairly certain that..., I'm convinced that..., I honestly feel that, I strongly believe that..., Without a doubt,...,

Disagreeing:

I don't think that..., Don't you think it would be better..., I don't agree, I'd prefer..., Shouldn't we consider..., But what about..., I'm afraid I don't agree..., Frankly, I doubt if..., Let's face it, The truth of the matter is..., The problem with your point of view is that...

Giving Reasons and offering explanations: To start with, The reason why..., That's why..., For this reason..., That's the reason why..., Many people think...., Considering..., Allowing for the fact that..., When you consider that...

For Multinationals

  • Offers employment to local workers
  • Promotes peace internationally
  • Creates sense of community crossing international borders
  • Allows entire world to improve standard of living
  • Gives access to quality products regardless of location
  • Promotes economic stability
  • Raises standard of living for regions involved in production
  • Gives local economies new economic opportunities
  • Fact of life which needs to be accepted
  • Reflects global economy

Against Multinationals

  • Ruins local economies
  • Depletes local work forces by drawing to metro centres
  • Stifles cultural growth and expansion on local level
  • Provides little help with problems which are local in nature
  • Creates cultural homogenization
  • Too big, little interest in the individual
  • Gives political power to outside interests
  • Creates economic unstability by being subject to the whims of the global economy
  • Replaces traditional values with materialistic values
  • Makes local economies subject to mass layoffs

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