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Internet Craze

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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 information on this approach please see the following feature: Teaching Conversational Skills: Tips and Strategies

Of course, once students have become confident in their production skills, the can obviously argue the point they truly believe in.

Aim: Improve conversational skills when supporting a point of view

Activity: Debate concerning the current and future impact of the Internet on daily life

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)
  • Ask students to consider the following statement:

      The Internet has forever changed the way we live. Its importance will continue to grow. By the year 2010 most of the world will be conducting its business, receiving its media (TV, films, music), and staying in touch solely via the Internet.

  • Based on students' responses, divide groups up into two groups. 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!
Internet Craze

What do you think about the following statement?

    The Internet has forever changed the way we live. Its importance will continue to grow. By the year 2010 most of the world will be conducting its business, receiving its media (TV, films, music), and staying in touch solely via the Internet.

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... The Internet Will Change Our Lives In Every Aspect

  • The use of the Internet around the world is doubling every few months.
  • The Internet has already changed with way we communicate.
  • Business have invested billions in the Internet.
  • The Internet is becoming faster all the time, you can already watch video or listen to Mp3s via the Internet.
  • Many people now live at home and work via the Internet.
  • The Internet has created unlimited new business opportunities
  • Most people use email instead of writing letters to keep in touch with their friends.
  • The Internet is still very young.
The Internet Is Just A New Form Of Communication, But Will Not Change Everything In Our Lives
  • The Internet, while interesting, is just a fad.
  • People want to go out and meet other people when they do their shopping.
  • It is too difficult to use the Internet and computers, most people do not have the patience.
  • Reading on a computer screen is uncomfortable and people will never stop wanting to read, listen to music and be entertained in traditional ways.
  • The Internet creates cultural homogenization - some would say Americanization, and eventually people will get tired of this.
  • The only real interaction between people must take place face to face on not 'virtually'.
  • The Internet is mainly used by teenagers and other people who have lots of time to waste.
  • The 'new' economy of the Internet produces nothing - people can not buy smoke.

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