Iwate-Aomori JALT:

Debate and Structured Discussions in the EFL Classroom

Date: Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 Time: 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Speaker: Mark Neufeld

In the first hour of the presentation I discuss the teaching of debate in the college EFL classroom. For those unfamiliar with debate, I examine the format of parliamentary-style debate, along with the vocabulary and methods involved in teaching and conducting debates in an English class. Then I open the discussion up to those attendees who have taught debate so that we can share our experiences and opinions.

In the second part of the presentation I describe a technique I've developed over the last six years or so that I call "Structured Discussions". The technique can be taught to high school and college students with high-beginner to advanced English ability, and can be used in oral English or integrated skills classes. It incorporates many of the skills associated with debate, but does not require the learning of specialized vocabulary or debate procedures. It can be done in pairs or small groups, and can be easily tailored to the students' needs and interests. The activities leading up to actual structured discussions include brainstorming, outlining, and practicing conversation management skills. Students get a chance to read, write and speak target vocabulary and grammar in a structured and systematic way, and I've found that by the end of a unit even weaker students are able to handle discussions lasting 15 minutes or longer.

Biography: Mark Neufeld has an M.A. in Education (Emphasis in ESL) from the University of Colorado in Denver, Colorado, U.S. He is an assistant professor at Sakura no Seibo Junior College in Fukushima, where he has taught English for 15 years. Before that he taught at Sakura no Seibo High School for two years and at Berlitz Language School in Tokyo for 4 years.

Organization: Iwate-Aomori Chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (Iwate-Aomori JALT)

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 1,000 yen

Venue: Aiina, Morioka, 6th floor, room 602

Location: Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan


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Contact Iwate-Aomori JALT

Website: iwatejalt.wordpress.com

Mary Burkitt
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Phone (work): 019-663-3132
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