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International Student Debate


John Simkin
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Here in Spain we are starting classes next week. It seems to me an excellent idea and I would look for two students interested and able to participate in a debate in English.

What about the recent prohibition in France of the Muslim veil and other religious symbols at the schools. I suppose we will find very different points of view from different countries.

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On the nature of the topic, I would like to suggest the Holocaust as a possible topic. Simply because I've just finished work on the Holocaust and would be interested in the outcome of this debate.

Other than this topic I would like to suggest -

The War in Iraq and current American foreign policy.

Or as it first attempt - What about something more universal such as 'What is the point of education?'

Or what about matching topics from the teachers area to the student area? Nationalism in teaching?

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I like Juan Carlos' suggestion about the removal of religious symbols in french schools - maybe this could be widened to a debate about the role of religion in school / the state.

I also like John K's suggestion 'what is the point of education?' - it would be very interesting to hear the different attitudes across Europe.

How about a debate about the single currency eg the Euro has done more good than harm? - after all there will be many students who have used the Euro and may be able to use their experience to help the British students decide whether they are for or against.

Or a discussion about the rise of racism in Europe (this could link in with the debates on Nationalism and the Holocaust) eg the growth of racism / neo nazism is now a greater threat to the stability of Europe than at any time since the 1930s.

Or a discussion of islamaphobia and antisemitism which could link in a wide variety of the above issues.

Just a few ideas.

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It is good that we now have students from the Netherlands, England, Germany, China, Sweden, Spain, Australia and Singapore. It is not clear yet about the nationality of the students from the International School of Toulouse. I think it is important to have representatives from other countries. I would especially like students from the United States, former communist countries in Eastern Europe and those in the underdeveloped world. Anybody out there who can supply these students?

We have had some great ideas for topics to be debated. What I would suggest is that one member takes responsibility for each debate. Logically, this should be the person who suggested the topic. I am willing to run the first topic. I would like to do it on Education and Nationalism. This would touch on recent debates we have had on the holocaust and nationalistic history teaching. However, I would seek to broaden this out to consider what and how we teach subjects such as literature, science and art.

I propose that an agreed member posts the first contribution to start the debate going. Once this happens they should not again get involved in the student debate. They should definitely not make any attempt to summarize the debate at the end of the allocated time. If we find the students going off the topic etc., I think it is best if the member responsible for that student contacts them privately. The students should also be briefed at the beginning about the rules of academic debate and should be told it is unacceptable to make abusive comments about the contributions of other students.

I would also suggest that the starter of the student debate also posts the same material into a new thread in the Debates in Education section. We can then have two parallel debates: one for students and one for full members. I think this will itself be an important part of the educational process.

At the end of the two debates I would like the participating members to get together to discuss ways we could use the material in the classroom. In this way we will be creating a practical resource for schools.

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A lot of fascinating topics.

"I would also suggest that the starter of the student debate also posts the same material into a new thread in the Debates in Education section. We can then have two parallel debates: one for students and one for full members. I think this will itself be an important part of the educational process. "(John Simkin)

Would the students have access to the teachers' section, too? It might be interesting for them to learn more about teachers'/ adults' responses.

The topic Nationalism and education is a rather difficult one.

I' d prefer starting the students's debate with the problem of religious symbols in state education. In Germany the same discussion as in France about Muslim teachers being allowed to wear a scarf is going on (there is no such ban for students); different German Länder plan specific legislation to ban this. I think this topic would not only be appealing to our Sixth Form students but also the slightly younger ones (Year 9: 14-16).

Edited by UlrikeSchuhFricke
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Would the students have access to the teachers' section, too? It might be interesting for them to learn more about teachers'/ adults' responses.

The topic Nationalism and education is a rather difficult one.

I' d prefer starting the students's debate with the problem of religious symbols in state education.

Of course, that is the idea of it. This site is freely available of the net and can be seen by anyone in the world.

I disagree that one subject is more difficult than another. I think it all depends how it is presented. I am confident that I can do that successfully.

Are you volunteering to run the second debate on religious symbols in state education?

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It is good that we now have students from the Netherlands, England, Germany, China, Sweden, Spain, Australia and Singapore. It is not clear yet about the nationality of the students from the International School of Toulouse. I think it is important to have representatives from other countries. I would especially like students from the United States, former communist countries in Eastern Europe and those in the underdeveloped world. Anybody out there who can supply these students?

If you restrict me to two, I have the agreed participation of a Russian student and a Zimbabwean. If we are still looking for other nationalities I have many others (including Americans) who are very keen to participate.

As a topic I quite like 'globablisation' as most of my students are direct victims/beneficiaries of it. ;)

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There are some fascinating ideas here. I suggest we pin Mr Simkin down to a date for his leadership of the first debate.

I will certainly contribute 2 fine brains from the Dartford Academy

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If you restrict me to two, I have the agreed participation of a Russian student and a Zimbabwean. If we are still looking for other nationalities I have many others (including Americans) who are very keen to participate.

Two from each country. I am expecting you to supply a large number of students for the debate.

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