24 November 2008

Discussion and Debate II

In part two of the course, more emphasis is placed on skills (debating) (part one concerned content ). These skills are for students to become (1) in-depth researchers, (2) technical and persuasive writers, (3) effective communicators, and (4) perceptive listeners. Too much of the educational process involves teachers telling students what to think. Thus education becomes a dull process of memorizing mountains of facts. Competitive debate takes a different approach: it teaches students how to think. The thought process begins by gathering evidence with an open mind (Edwards).

Discussion and Debate provides mental fitness and fun. It is a forum to flush-out bad ideas. The course,
built in integrity, upholds character development. We believe dispute is a powerful teacher. Mental challenges in a group context offer competitors the opportunity to mature leadership skills, self-confidence, and a commitment to others that will rouse them to lead productive lives. Debate
includes practice in the manners of common social interactions. Proficiency is reinforced through reading in multiple areas of cultural studies. The class will include some speech etiquette in social exchanges. Classroom debating will help students grasp many essential critical thinking and presentation skills. Rapid exchanges will help develop clear reasoning, confidence, and partnerships.

Part two will begin on Thursday, 27 November, and will end on Thursday, 11 December. No class Monday, 1 December. Course enrollment will be enlarged to sixteen.

23 November 2008

Faculty Course Questionnaire (FCQ) results

It has been a pleasure to have instructed this class in introductory discussion and debate. The English abilities improved dramatically comparing last class to the second. Students are now quick to respond, do so comfortably, and make the extra effort not to lapse into Korean. I am looking forward to the last third of the course. Below are FCQ results.

Averaging over seven survey questions, below are lists of student attitudes to the course (by student and further below by specific question). The following critera were used: "Presentation of course material; explanation of assignments; relevance of assignments to course; how well the teacher motivated students to explore the subject further; course as a learning experience; this course, compared to all your other courses; this instructor, compared to all your other instructors." The scale is very good = A B C D E = very poor. A = 4.0; A- = 3.7; B+ = 3.3; B = 3.0; B- = 2.7; C+ = 2.3; C = 2.0; C- = 1.7; D+ = 1.3; D = 1.0; D- = 0.7; E = 0.0.

  • Student attitude toward course
  1. A- (98%)
  2. A-
  3. A- (93%)
  4. A-
  5. A-
  6. A-
  7. A-
  8. B+ (88%)
  9. B (79%)
  10. B
On average, students rated the course B+ (3.6/4.0) (90%)
  • Student attitude to course by question
  1. Presentation of course material: B+
  2. Explanation of assignments: A-
  3. Relevance of assignments to course: B+
  4. Workload relative to other courses: 5.1 (too light = 1.0, 9.0 = too heavy)
  5. How well the teacher motivated students to explore the subject further: B+
  6. Course as a learning experience: B+
  7. This course, compared to all your other courses: A-
  8. This teacher, compared to all your other teachers: A-
Of the eight questions, I scored lowest (3.4/4.0 or 85 percent) in presentation of course material. I will double my efforts to produce high quality, easily understandable lessons.

Discussion and Debate photos

Elective winners

These students scored highest in exercises and lessons in Discussion and Debate. Congratulations!
  1. Kang Ji-su
  2. Park Jong-youn and Oh Kyo-kwang

19 November 2008

19 November minutes

8:00pm study-hall every school night affects students positively.

To summarize, the affirmative insists that study-hall develops studying habits; prevents the wasting of time at internet cafes, bad influences, shenanigans and tomfoolery; helps students learn group manners. The negative insists that study-hall is ineffective; students cannot use services because they are stuck at school until 8:00pm and those establishments close (e.g., banks, post offices); students do not often study at study hall--many sleep, disturb others, and create a bad atmosphere.


Combined score (constructive, rebuttal)
  1. Affirmative: 117
  2. Negative: 115
Follow-up questioning
  1. Affirmative: 4
  2. Negative: 8
Final result: Negative persuasion
  1. Affirmative: 121
  2. Negative: 123
The negative constructive side consisted of Kim Min-seop, Lee Ji-hyeon, and Lee Kang-woo; the negative rebuttal side consisted of Kang Ji-soo, Bae Jun-han, and Jang Han-su.

In a recent school poll, sixty-one percent of class 2-10 students said that staying at study-hall until 8:00 pm has affected them positively.

10 November 2008

10 November minutes

On Monday's debate, the affirmative asserted to open the two international schools. Material was largely drawn from the recent Korea Times article. Eight students participated, three students and one teacher judged. The results are below.

Constructive Speeche
  1. Affirmative: 287
  2. Negative: 285
Rebuttal Speeches
  1. Affirmative: 82
  2. Negative: 134
Final outcome: negative persuasion
  1. Affirmative: 369
  2. Negative: 419
The affirmative struggled to counter the negative's rebuttals.

The winning side included Kang Ji-soo, Lee Kang-woo, Lee Ji-hyeon, and Kang Kyo-seong.

07 November 2008

Notice of Debate

On the Monday, 10 November installment of Discussion and Debate, the negative will dispute the affirmative's stance on the presently controversial issue besetting the opening of two international middle schools in Seoul for next March. The affirmative asserts that The two international middle schools must be opened for next March in Seoul. The negative counters that the schools must not. Sources and correspondence will center on the recent Korea Times article. Click here to read it.

Four students will affirm, four will negate, three will abstain, and one teacher will moderate the discussion.

6 November minutes

The government should ban cram schools (hogwan).

The initial poll suggested that three were for and four were against the resolution. Four were absent.

The affirmative implores that cram schools (CS) compel students to stay late studying; banning CSs will improve student mental and physical health; because so many students enroll at CSs, it forces other students to join so as to not be left behind; CSs favor the rich because poorer families cannot afford the costs; CSs reduce the quality of public education; students wishing to enroll at a foreign language high school must meet entry requirements not regularly found in a middle school education—requirements often met after extensive study at a CS.

The negative claims that attendance is voluntary; CSs “favoring” the rich to the poor is not a problem of CSs;--there is an unavoidable gap in wealth; just because a family cannot afford to pay a CS does not mean that all cram schools should be banned; companies are meant to make profits, supply must meet demand; there is not enough teacher attention at regular school [due to the disparate student-teacher ratio].

The moderator found that the affirmative side conveyed a stronger case, leading four-to-two by the end of class. Tabulating the initial polling and the case arguments, the final score was seven-to-six in favor of affirmative.

No exit poll was conducted.

05 November 2008

5 November minutes

The Korean government should stop hiring foreign (native) English teachers because they are not needed.

The affirmative claims the English Program in Korea, EPIK, among others, is too taxing to the Korean government; the system prejudices against domestic (Korean) English teachers; many foreign teachers are unqualified / not qualified--unlicensed, undocumented, or inexperienced.

The negative strongly believes that because education already costs money, hiring native English teachers provides the edge justifying the cost; there is a demand in English education, the government must supply it; this is a better alternative than sending a child to study in a foreign country for a year (e.g., "satellite" family); hogwans presently have foreign English teachers, thus we must compete otherwise public education will suffer.

Amusingly, the students were shy about polling near their native English teacher. Haha, I laughed.

The poll suggested unanimously seven students were against the measure. The resolution did not pass.

4 November minutes

Bundang High School should have athletic teams.

The affirmative claims that school sporting development helps students to become athletes in an environment they otherwise would not (how many Olympic athletes are "lost" to a Korean academic system?); brings school honor, national exposure; it will increase the number of competitive athletes in foreign organizations (e.g., English Premiership; MLB); the system does not adequately produce athletes; school is not just about studying--there should be a balance; other skills can be honed at school.

The negative claims it will cost too much money, will reduce an already limiting school budget meant for studying for sporting activities; practices disturb students who study; when exactly will practices occur? The school does not have neither the demand nor the resources to introduce athletic teams; "specialty" school, for example schools whose curricula specialize in taekwondo, badminton, and baseball already exist--students can attend those schools; how many clubs define athletic teams? Just for boys? Or girls, too? The "system" produces athletes just fine.

The poll suggested that two were for and five were against the measure. Four students were absent. The resolution did not pass.