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John Simkin

International Student Debate

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I'd like to start the debate next Monday, 2nd Feb. I've received names of participants from Scott in Canada and Nico in Holland. If anyone else has students they'd like to be involved please email me the details as soon as you're ready. In the words of Pauline, rather than a 'formal comment and rebuttal style', I'm anticipating 'an educated on-line discussion'. To this end and given the asynchronous nature of this, it doesn't really matter when your students join.

I propose that we begin with three topics for the senior students to 'discuss' and every week or so we can add a new thread. The topic of this might grow naturally out of previous discussion. Eventually we will have a long list of subjects for students to contribute to. Students will be prevented from starting a new thread or from posting anywhere else in the forum. They will also be pre-registered so that only students approved by their teachers may participate. But once they have been registered they may make contributions to any threads for as long as we want to keep them open.

I propose that we should prevent ordinary members from posting in this thread so as to prevent rogue contributions. Teachers who wish to participate will do so as moderators of this forum.

Can we agree on the three topics?

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I propose that we begin with three topics for the senior students to 'discuss' and every week or so we can add a new thread.

I thought we already agreed that there would be one parallel debate at a time? I think the idea of us getting together at the end of the debate (one or two weeks) to look at ways we can turn the debate into a teaching resource is very important.

I would also like the students to add their biographies first so we can see where they are based and their original place of birth (maybe that could be added to the signature).

I have had several emails from people who need another week or so to get their students organized. Maybe we should leave the start of the first debate until then.

I offered to start the first debate on nationalism in education. Ulrike Schuhfricke has said she is willing to do the second one on religious symbols in schools.

John Kelly suggested several topics: the Holocaust, the War in Iraq and current American foreign policy, and what is the point of education?

Dan Lyndon suggested the Euro has done more good than harm and the growth of racism/neo nazism.

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All the proposals I have seen so far seem potentially pitched at advanced level. Perhaps we could offer something for younger students based on Citizenship/PSHE type topics??

Do we need to specify the sort of students we are targeting? Have we done this already and I've just missed it? :rolleyes:

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Do we need to specify the sort of students we are targeting? Have we done this already and I've just missed it? :rolleyes:

We orginally talked about the 16-18 age group. But others have asked for 14-16. Maybe the first debates should be with older ones. If that works, we can try it with younger students.

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I thought we already agreed that there would be one parallel debate at a time?

I thought so, too, and I think everything else might get rather confusing after a time.

"My" two students debating the problem of religious symbols in school are 14/15 years old but knowing them they would not mind debating with older students as well and the topic is attractive for all age-groups.

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I thought we already agreed that there would be one parallel debate at a time?

Yes, I think we did. I'm probably confusing this with comments I've made elsewhere about Spring Europe. Sorry

However, I do think we have a problem with only one thread being open. Imagine logging on to this forum and having only one thread to read and contribute to. If 5 or so students happen to be logged on at the same time, it is very hard to maintain a linear 'discussion', but if you are the only one logged on, what do you do after you've made your post?

I suggest we take the first topic 'Nationalism' and create three related threads around questions concerning Nationalism.

In future we can add the new topics as and when we like: 'Education', 'Religion' and International Relations' might cover some of the other topics proposed.

Again sorry for the confusion. I'm just thinking of the practical implications of running this.

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Richard,

I have no practical suggestion to make at the moment but I would like to suggest which topic should become No. 3 - following the debates about Nationalism and religious symbols in school: The Holocaust

Unfortunately Andy had to close the forum dealing with Teaching the Holocaust, but I am sure that our students would manage a fair and balanced discussion.

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I would also like the students to add their biographies first so we can see where they are based and their original place of birth (maybe that could be added to the signature).

I have had several emails from people who need another week or so to get their students organized. Maybe we should leave the start of the first debate until then.

A pinned thread at the top of the page will allow students to add their details.

User names for students is an issue. Just first names or full names? Is privacy an issue? Do we want the user name to indicate their country? Perhaps we might insist that their signature is school name and country?

Timing is a slight problem. I had next week pencilled in as a start date. The two weeks after 7-22 Feb are holidays here in France. I might expect my students to participate during a holiday but not unless I've got them started in term-time. Are we prepared to leave it until 23 February? My group of international students will be ready to start next Monday if people are willing to start...

I'd like to leave the threads open as long as students are keen to participate. This would also allow other schools to join in when ready.

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Why not begin on Monday and let the first round last longer than two weeks, let's say till the end of February; students, schools who are ready to join can do so others can follow later.

I personally think the students should indicate their country and school; when it comes to names first names might be enough; it depends a bit on the email addresses they have.

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Richard,

Did you receive my e-mail with my two students' names and e-mails addresses? I am having lately serious problems with my e-mail and I don't know if you receive them.

I assume that the best would be starting up the debate in a Mediterranean way. I mean, offering two or three topics and wait and see. I don't think that planning in advance too much is a good idea.

I think that for the students would be very interesting to post a profile and photograph.

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I am looking forward to the debate structure. I have two students primed and both are aware that the discussion is starting in Europe and that they will probably not be aware of some of the content. But I think it is important that students realise that they are part of a whole world.

If students can be aware that not all participants have access to the same information it would be good. After all, we southerners could happily debate the impact that the Asian Bird Flu has had on tourism and employment in the travel industry. Not a topic of great interest above the equator I believe.

I think it is as important for us to take part in a discussion of Euro -centric issues as it is for northerners to see our responses.

Our yr 12 History students do study the holocaust, but at this point I think that an issue related to current European life would be easier.

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Richard,

Did you receive my e-mail with my two students' names and e-mails addresses? I am having lately serious problems with my e-mail and I don't know if you receive them.

I assume that the best would be starting up the debate in a Mediterranean way. I mean, offering two or three topics and wait and see. I don't think that planning in advance too much is a good idea.

I think that for the students would be very interesting to post a profile and photograph.

Nothing from you yet Juan Carlos :(

I agree with JC that too much planning in advance is not a good thing, I am obviously living close enough to the Mediterranean to understand the virtue of this ;)

Therefore, I propose a trial run!

Using my international students and all who are ready to participate I can create a forum that is visible only to participants and their teachers (I think I can do this :rolleyes: ) This will allow us to 'get things started' whilst learning about the practical issues as we go. As more people send me their students' details, they can be added without difficulty.

This will also allow students to have a warm-up before we go public. I have found it takes a while for students to get the hang of this e-learning environment. In particular they need to be encouraged to use the quote function.

I think we'll use the student's first name and initial (we might end up with lots of 'Richards' for example) and they will be expected to post information about themselves following guidelines (name, age, school, place of birth, nationality, subjects studied... What else? career aspirations?) but no photographs. We could also ask them to put their nationality and school in the signature?

If you are ready to participate in the trial, send me the following details via email:

Full student name

Student email address

School name

I think we will be ready to make a start early next week. Monday even... :blink:

The first 'warm-up' topic matters less. How about some general educational/schooling issues?

What makes a good/bad teacher?! :D

Is school relevant?

Should we abolish exams?

etc. etc. We can make them up as we go along...

Thoughts?

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Richard,

Did you receive my e-mail with my two students' names and e-mails addresses? I am having lately serious problems with my e-mail and I don't know if you receive them.

The first 'warm-up' topic matters less. How about some general educational/schooling issues?

What makes a good/bad teacher?! :rolleyes:

Is school relevant?

Should we abolish exams?

I have received your email Juan Carlos and have passed it on to Richard.

As these topics are very student friendly they will probably not need to be started by a teacher. However, the previous Toulouse debate suffered from a series of very short contributions. Maybe someone has got a good student to make an initial posting that is fairly substantial. Otherwise we might get a series on one liners.

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Maybe someone has got a good student to make an initial posting that is fairly substantial. Otherwise we might get a series on one liners.

I don't think we need to worry too much about this. The trial period, with feedback from teachers, will direct students towards an appropriate type of contribution. I have a reliable core of able students who I hope can be trusted to set the tone :rolleyes:

In addition the limited number of older, more able students with a range of threads to contribute to, should generate longer more considered contributions. We will of course produce 'read this before you post' guidelines for students, to encourage appropriate responses. What sort of advice might we give? Probably not necessary for the trial, but something that might arrive naturally out of the trial? In addition, I'm hoping that the trial will produce some model 'discussion/debate' that may remain visible after the trial.

I have received names of students from: Nico, Juan Carlos, Pauline, Nick and Scott.

Dan has provided names but no email account details. I probably won't include their email details in their account signup but it will be useful to be able to contact students direct.

Students will given a special account that will only give them access to their part of the forum. For the trial period at least everything else will be invisible. If they view the site without logging on, as a guest, their discussion area will be invisible!

I will probably have to create new accounts for moderating teachers, which will mean we will have two identities. I am thinking of ways of avoiding doing this but I think it will make administration of the student forum easier.

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I red fast through the last couple of messages where the discussion about organizing the students debate were done.

I volunteered my school for these debates but I do have admit that I’m not very well informed about it despite the fact that the debate will start right now.

I would like to have many of my students to participate voluntarily. I thought that I together with some of my classes will visit the Debate Forum. Let them see what is going on and then decide on their free will if they want to continue, was my planning. That will probably mean that I will not be able to send to Richard e-mail addresses of my students directly from the start. This would also unnecessarily tie students who lost their interest of debating while hindering others to enter the debate when interesting topic emerges.

Is it absolutely necessary that I organize the debate in the way you decided?

Will there be any possibility to have a continuous flow of different students in and out depending on debate topics?

At which www-address will I find the students debate forum?

Sorry these are probably very simple (and already answered) questions. It’s not easy to visit and find every place at Educational Forum which is relevant for oneself when the time is limited.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda

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