This debate can easily turn into a debate about what 'Free Speech' really means, and can therefore be extremely interesting to students who are living in countries where the right to 'Free Speech' is considered a fundamental right. You can choose groups based on the students' opinions. However, you can also have students support opinions that are not necessarily their own to help improve 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 violence in the media (Television, newspapers, magazines, internet, etc.) needs to be more tightly regulated.
Level: Upper-intermediate to advanced
- Review language used when expressing opinions, disagreeing, making comments on other person's point of view, etc. (See work sheet)
- Ask students for examples of violence in various media forms and ask them how much violence they experience second hand through the media every day.
- Have students consider which positive or negative effects this amount of violence in the media has on society.
- Based on students' responses, divide groups up into two groups. One group arguing that government needs to more strictly regulate the media and one arguing that there is no need for government intervention or regulation. 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!
You are going to debate whether the government should take regulatory steps to control the amount of violence in the media. 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.
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,...,
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, The Government Needs to Regulate the Media
- Violence begets violence.
- Children copy the violence seen on TV and in films.
- It is the responsibility of the government to take corrective measures when a situation becomes dangerous.
- It seems like there are only violent TV shows anymore.
- Media glorifies violence and sends the wrong message.
- By giving so much importance to violence, the media encourages crazy people to be violent in order to get a lot of attention.
- What is more important to the growth of our society: A murder or a good school teacher? Who gets more coverage in the media?
- Media is cynical and only worried about making money. The only way things will change is if the government intervenes.
- Does all this violence improve your life in any way?
- Have you ever heard of the right to 'Free Speech'.
- The Media only reflects what society as a whole does.
- It is quite obvious that these films are made for entertainment purposes and anyone can tell the difference between a film and reality.
- Governments only make matters worse by introducing bureaucracy - they don't really improve a situation.
- True change needs to come from within and not be imposed from without.
- We need to be kept informed about the true nature of the society that we live in.
- Parents do quite a good job of regulating their own children's behavior.
- There are already rating systems in place.
- Wake up. Humanity has always been violent and government regulation is not going to change that.
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