Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Do you Know a Topic Excites your Students?

When it makes it to the dinner table!

The context: I’ve been planning a classroom debate for the last 3 weeks. In my head I envisioned 4 community stakeholders for the kids to role-play: the community worker trained in environmental health, the municipal government, the city developers, and the farmers.
The scenario: a disputed 2 hectare plot of land that’s prone to flooding during the monsoon season and is critical to Hué’s ecosystem. Which group can justify their claim to it?
The Debate: started off slow but once it gained momentum the kids couldn’t stop arguing.
- What about the farmers? If you take the land away, how will we make a living?
- We’ll compensate you for the land and train you in construction. It’s a better career…
- The farmers have a better proposal, let us us the land for growing rice. We’ll feed Huế and all the ethnic communities.
- Do the ethnic communities eat rice as a main staple?
- How will the developers protect the ecosystem?
- It’ll be a green building. How do you propose Huế handle the huge influx of tourists every year?
- Homestays to service tourism.
We went well into the lunch hour and during lunch, they were still talking about how there were so many unresolved arguments! My work here is complete…

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