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Men and Women - Equal at Last?

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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 equality between men and women to help get students discussing issues related to the debate. Provide ample time for the discussion and then time the debate. This will help encourage precise language use.

This debate can easily be carried out between the men and women in the class, or those who believe the statement is true and those who do not. Another variation 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 information 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 about the question of whether men and women are truly equal.

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 a few ideas on the board to encourage discussion of the equality between men and women: the workplace, the home, government, etc.
  • Ask students if they feel that women are truly equal to men in these various roles and places.
  • Based on students' responses, divide groups up into two groups. One group arguing that equality has been achieved for women and one that feels that women have not yet attained true equality to men. Idea: Put students 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!

Men and Women - Equal at Last?

You are going to debate whether women are finally truly equal to men. Use the clues and ideas below to help you create an argument 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...

Yes, Women Are Now Equal To Men.

  • Many governments have both male and female representatives.
  • Many companies are now owned or managed by women.
  • A lot of progress has been made since the 1960s.
  • Television series now portray women as successful career makers.
  • Men now share in the raising of children and household responsibilities.
  • Many important laws have been passed to ensure equality in the workplace.
  • In many places, a married couple can choose whether the man or the women takes leave from work to look after the newly arrived baby.
  • People aren't discussing equality anymore. It has become a reality.
  • Have you ever heard of Margaret Thatcher?

Excuse Me? Women Still Have A Long Way to Go Before They Are Equal To Men.

  • Women still earn less than men in many work situations.
  • Women are still portrayed in a superficial manner in many television shows.
  • Look at international sporting. How many professional female leagues are as successful as their male counterparts?
  • Most governments still are made up in their majority of men.
  • We are having this debate because women are not equal. Otherwise, there would be no need to discuss the matter.
  • Women are often not given enough responsibility based on the possibility that they might become pregnant.
  • The number of sexual harassment suits have increased over the past 10 years.
  • Hundreds of years of history can't have been changed in a mere 30 odd years.
  • Have you ever watched Bay Watch?

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