Friday, March 13, 2009

Kicking Off Debate in the South-East of Korea

IDEA just finished a debate camp on the south-east coast of Korea. In conjunction with the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and the Ulsan Language Academy, 20 middle-school from across Ulsan participated in a three-day intensive debate program.

On the first day, students participated in activities in small groups to develop critical thinking and public thinking skills and prepared speeches in defense of an argument of their choosing. A class discussion on the key components of debate was also held. On March 10th, students participated in a class-wide “chain debate” and another small-group activity on critical thinking and argumentation. Students also discussed tips for presenting a speech, learned the format for a debate competition, and watched segments of a recorded debate from a competition.

On the March 11th, after a warm-up game to encourage students’ language abilities and a review of the components of a good speech, a class-wide debate competition was held. Students split into six groups of three students and one group of two students and took turns debating. For the first round of debates, the topics “Students should be able to choose what they want to study in school,” “Boys and girls should be in separate classes” and “Junk food should be banned in school” were used. For the second round of debates, the topics “Smoking should be banned in restaurants,” “Advertising is harmful to society” and “Beauty contests should be banned” were used.

All students debated or judged in both rounds of debate. At the conclusion, students’ scores were tallied and prizes were awarded to the top two teams-- congratulations to team "POD" and team "Prettism"!

In addition to the middle school program, IDEA led a short workshop at Ulsan Science High School (USHS) during the morning of March 10th. Students participated in a chain debate and crafted speeches in defense of arguments of their choosing. Everyone was eager to share their opinions on topics ranging from junk food in schools (recently banned at USHS!) to human cloning to the obligation of developed countries to help impoverished ones.

Thanks to Sun-Nam from the U.S. Embassy, Ms. Ryu from ULA, Ms. Do from USHS and the great students in Ulsan for two fantastic programs!

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