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John Simkin

International Student Debate

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I teach a group of about 20 students in a subject called International relations. They are fairly grown ups, it’s their last year of studies at our school. I think that some of them would be interested to participate in debated forum debating international politics. How far has the planning for this forum come? Will this debate forum be opened in February as suggested? Will the forum be open one? I would like to have voluntary participation of all my students at this debate forum. Not just only 2 chosen students. This will enable me to spread the debate ideas to a large group (not everyone has to debate, it’s often enough to take passively part in order to enhance knowledge) and at the same time allowing the most interested student to take part and discuss the debated topics. I do feel that my students (in the same way as Marco pointed it) will feel uncomfortable in using English language in a rather difficult context.

It was made clear at the beginning that this debate would be restricted to two high ability students per school (except for the case of International Schools that have the ability to provide students from different countries).

Details of these two students should be sent to Richard Jones-Nerzic. He will then arrange for them to be registered for the debate.

If you want a whole class to be involved in another debate you will need to make the necessary arrangements with Richard.

It was also decided that the first debate would take place in February. The reason for this was that Australian schools would not be able to take part before then. Richard also had a preference for the debate to be started in February. I will consult with Richard about the actual date when we will start.

Read the message that I posted earlier.

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I will do my best. Probably I should have been in forefront of discussions earlier than I was.

I will find it hard to convince any of my students to take part of discussions stretched over a long period of time without even exactly knowing what kind of topics they are supposed to discuss in a long run.

The students from my suburban school consist to a large extent of immigrants who do not even, in some cases, master Swedish language. To be invited for a debate in English language is after all not their “cup of tea”. Nevertheless I will do my best.

What is the www-address of the debate Forum? My students together with me can be mayby a participants of the debate later.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda

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It was made clear at the beginning that this debate would be restricted to two high ability students per school (except for the case of International Schools that have the ability to provide students from different countries).

I’m sorry to miss this precondition. I’m sorry that my students are not “high ability students”……..

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I am not quite sure if I understood the structure of the future debate correctly: I think that I will have two different students for the different debates: the topic "Nationalism" is something for two Sixth Formers whereas the topic "Religious Symbols" will appeal to my year nine (15/16 years) and I already have two students who want to initiate the debate. Depending on the following topics I will either ask the particpants to remain in the forum or I will find others. Is this possible?

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Richard wrote:

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... 

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

What makes a good/bad teacher?! 

Is school relevant?

Should we abolish exams?

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

My school is IES PARQUE DE LISBOA - Alcorcón (Madrid)

Full student name

Marcos Iglesias

Luis Mateos

E-mail addresses

I cannot send them to you right now. I already forwarded them to John and Richard. I will try to e-mail them tomorrow morning.

I consider that starting up with this sort of educational and a bit funny issues as What makes a good/bad teacher?! is an excellent idea. Quite better than beginning with a very serious question. If things go well, we can introduce more historical and serious debates.

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I am not quite sure if I understood the structure of the future debate correctly: I think that I will have two different students for the different debates: the topic "Nationalism" is something for two Sixth Formers whereas the topic "Religious Symbols" will appeal to my year nine (15/16 years) and I already have two students who want to initiate the debate. Depending on the following topics I will either ask the particpants to remain in the forum or I will find others. Is this possible?

The forum has been set up and easier to understand once you see it. Email me with details of two senior students and we can get them started in the trial period. The first topics are all about education.

You will have a separate identity as a teacher and be able to view and monitor the student contrbutions. The junior student debate will take place later this term.

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I consider that starting up with this sort of educational and a bit funny issues as What makes a good/bad teacher?! is an excellent idea. Quite better than beginning with a very serious question. If things go well, we can introduce more historical and serious debates.

The 'debates' have been set up and your students registered. I will email you details.

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26 students are now registered for the senior debate and a number of posts have been made.

Teacher moderators have been created as Mr Christianson, Mr Falk, Mr Kelly, Mr Lyndon, Mr MacGregor-Thunell, Mr Svoboda, Ms Crawford and Mr Zijlstra. If any of the teacher group is having posting difficulties or has not received their log on details, email me direct. Juan-Carlos Ocaña's students have also been registered but I am uncertain about the Sr/Mr Ocaña bit. :rolleyes:

Obviously, if anyone else would like to nominate a couple of able 'senior' (15-18 years) students to join the forum, they will be very welcome. Simply post your intentions here and email me direct.

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Juan-Carlos Ocaña's students have also been registered but I am uncertain about the Sr/Mr Ocaña bit. 

Mr. is OK. In Spanish schools we tend to use less and less Sr. (Señor) before family names. It sounds as very formal. Is it a reminiscense of our anarchist tradition? At my school, I would be known as Juan Carlos. That's all.

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It sounds as very formal. Is it a reminiscense of our anarchist tradition? At my school, I would be known as Juan Carlos. That's all.

I know, I know.

It just makes it easier to register everyone in a consistent way with a user name that is different to their usually used user name that they usually use. :(:(

This radical technology requires conservative solutions sometimes...

You're registered by the way. See you on the other side Mr/Sr Ocaña

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The trial student forum will have been running a week tomorrow. 29 students have registered and 65 posts have been made. The quality of contributions so far has been excellent.

As a write (a European Sunday afternoon), 4 students are currently online discussing various educational issues such as 'what makes a good teacher :( ' and 'should we abolish exams'.

I have created a thread for the students to propose topics they'd like to discuss. These topics can be added to the ideas teachers listed earlier and perhaps a 'rolling programme' might be developed with teachers taking it in turn to chair discussion for a week. Each week might have a theme with two to three question based threads as the teacher/discussion requires. At the end of the week, the teacher may choose to close the discussion or (I prefer) leave the discussion for contributions to continue to be made.

I propose that the current 'invisible' trial continue for another week (or two?) and that a timetabled programme be put together to run until Easter. The first theme will be 'nationalism' chaired by John Simkin. Interesting the first suggestion by a student was: 'Since many of the people doing this debate are international, maybe we should do something on how living abroad has changed or impacted us?' Might be some overlap there. :(

Later next month the admin team of the education forum will be meeting in Toulouse to review and discuss the future development of the student discussion/debate area.

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I read somewhere that this debate has started. Two of my students have recieved emails about the project. But where can I follow the discussion?

Sorry I'm a bit slow on this I'm away on holiday. Andy has also threatened to delete my account if I'm seen on here. :unsure:

I have to create a special teacher account for you. This will allow you to view and post in the student area. I'll PM you details.

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