I love this unit. I love it so much. Words cannot express how much I love this unit. Even the students who care nothing about politics are getting into it, and working hard to express their opinions. I had students whip out their English textbook in order to introduce vocabulary they had learned that week in their normal English class (cross-curriculum learning!). One group called me over, to help resolve a debate.
“Teacher. Our group member is crazy. She wants a dictatorship, and she wants to invade other countries. We cannot agree with her. She is a crazy girl.”
“Well, she’s not crazy – she’s a political extremist. All political parties have them. In order to succeed you have to work together and compromise.”
The political extremist smiled her sassy smile, and the other students sighed, nodded, and continued to debate.
In this tiny political microcosm, students are producing some really interesting and well-thought out opinions. I took the ones that I thought were the most interesting, or the best thought out, and am sharing them here. Take note, that while I did edit these statements before giving them back to students, I present them here unedited (spelling errors fixed, but I did not change any of the grammar or vocabulary used in the following statements) so that you can see how brilliant my students are.
“We think we should increase tax because when we are young we pay taxes more and we get old our welfare will be better.”
“We think we should export our excellent Energy Plant. Because our economy can be better and other countries can live more comfortable.”
“We think politician wage is too high so their wage should be reduced because their wage consist of tax.”
“We want to get more immigration because we have too many old people so we need young people to work, ex) 3D”
“We think Korea education need to introduce Discussion Based class because Korea students have been so stressed about existing education.”
“We want to increase the number of internship of young people because today’s youth unemployment rate is increasing.”
“We want to admit homosexual love because prejudice is bad.” [This one came from my BOYS who in my experience are more likely to make homophobic statements than the girl students. I was so proud.]
“We want to found a kindergarten that enables dual-incomes to commit their children because crime about children is being increased”
“We think temporary positions have too much unfair things because they are neglected by many people and every day they have too much stress.”
“We want to know the way of using our taxes because our taxes can be used in bad things.”
“we think we acquire more job to old people who quit job because as a counter plan of aging society, more people will be old, and their choice is limited, so we need to more job to old people.”
“We want to provide economic support (ex: education fee, found nursery, etc) because it can raise fertility rate. We want to guarantee senior citizen’s workplace because it can improve their quality of life.”
“We think smokers have to have individual trash bags because used cigarettes are making pollution, making fires.”
“We think our country improve traffic system because our natural animal is died by many crucial cars and motorcycle.”
“We want to enhance genuine gender education because we studied in school by TV but it’s not enough.”
“We need to get wartime operational control from USA because we are independent country so have right to have autonomy.”
“We need to protect multicultural families because they are isolated from our society.”
“We think government has to teach information of civil rights because ignorance makes discrimination.”
Some groups… just make me sad, or scared.
“We think we war USA because if we win we could spread our red ideas.” [This one's from the self-titled Communist Party. They also want to sell soap and toothpaste to Russia and China because they are also communist countries. I'm also 99% sure this one's a joke, unlike the ones that follow.]
“We think immigration is bad because immigrants take jobs.”
“We want to destroy the Feminist Party because they decrease men’s right.”
“We want to fair treatment because girls have taken more profit.”
It’s difficult for me to stand back and watch them write things that I vehemently disagree with, but that’s part of being a teacher. As a woman and as an immigrant (albeit, not a permanent resident), I really don’t know what I’ll do if the entire class agrees with this team’s points during the debate. I let the students write whatever they want, as long as it’s not vulgar, inappropriate, or indecent, because next week they have to stand in front of their classmates and defend it. People have the right to free speech, and they have the right to their own opinions, no matter how much I may disagree with their statements, but as they are future participatory members of society part of me hopes they’ll receive some form of verbal smackdown from their classmates.
Let the debates begin, and let the best politician be left standing.