There’s nothing better than having a debate in class. Especially if it’s a topic that your students feel strongly about.
I always enjoy debating the pros and cons of monarchy, because here in Spain it’s a conversation that usually splits the class.
Ask your class some general questions about the monarchy they have in their country, if they don’t have one, ask how they feel about the idea or how and when it was abolished. These questions should get you started.
- Do you support the monarchy here in (country)?
- Do you believe in a divine right to rule?
- How has the monarchy caused problems for your country?
- How has it helped your country?
- Have any scandals or issues arisen related to the monarchy in recent years?
Encourage your students to give full answers rather than just a simple yes or no. For example;
“I recognize the benefits of having a monarchy and appreciate it’s history, but I feel that the idea of one person that wasn’t elected ruling our nation is outdated”.
Once you’ve finished the initial warm up conversation, split your students into teams. If the opinions of the class naturally fall on opposite sides, great! If not, or if you want to challenge them, assign opposing arguments. A good time to teach the phrase; ‘Devil’s Advocate’!
If they are a good level, they shouldn’t need any prompts. If you want some topic starters for them, have a look at the ideas at the bottom of this post.
This depends on the level, but you should try not to intervene too much in the conversation, as students will be less likely to think for themselves. Always be on hand to give them vocabulary help when they need it. Also to suggest vocabulary that they could use or improvements on things they say themselves. Without disrupting the conversation.
At the end of the class, ask if anybody has been swayed by the different points of view and if they now take a different or altered view on the monarchy. If there’s time, perhaps discuss what led to this.