Lod Comprehensive High School for Sciences Public Speaking Course Rationale and Curriculum

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Lod Comprehensive High School for Sciences

Public Speaking Course Rationale and Curriculum

( in accordance with the English Curriculum for All Grades -Principles and Standards for Learning English as a Foreign Language in Israeli Schools)

2002-2003 School Year

Target Population:

9th and 10th grade Hebrew Speakers , 11th grade Native-Speakers and Advanced Group ( 8 weekly hours- 4 groups)

Rationale: Concepts in Public Speaking & Debate

At some point in our lives, public speaking is required of each of us. It may be in a social, political or business setting. In the business world, an especially good presentation can make or break a career. The more specialized form of public speaking, debating, affords us skills to think critically, see both sides of an argument, review our most basic assumption and listen effectively to each other. Those who study these forms of rhetoric also develop self-esteem, confidence and powers of persuasion,not to mention improve English language skills, increase one's ability to analyze issues logically and build strong arguments. In addition, all of these will enable high school graduates to use English successfully " ...for international communication and for overcoming barriers to the flow of information, goods and people across national boundaries" 1. Debating skills will enhance students' abilities

to do research and succeed in higher education,spheres of commerce and tourism and interpersonal communication. Ability to debate is a real life skill which brings authentic English into the English classroom. Besides topic knowledge, organized thinking, rhetoric, and organized articulateness, a useful style, logic, humor and even irony are developed during the course.
Goals: By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • research the background knowledge of the topic/issue/problem (the New Curriculum Access to Information Domain standard of obtaining and making use of information from a variety of sources and media)

  • present information and opinions on a wide range of dabatable topics of social and moral importance in an organized manner , with supporting facts and arguments ( Presentation Domain)

  • interact effectively with team members and experts while preparing the case arguments and during the debating procedure; interact with /respond to the opposing team members while debating (Social Interaction Domain)

  • appreciating and acquiring the culture of English Parliamentary debate and the

the nature of language to successfully study, present and win the case.


1- State of Israel, Ministry of Education, English Curriculum for All Grades,p.9


  1. By applying knowledge of rhetorical organization, students will be able to obtain and use information from unadapted,extended oral and written texts that deal with content in depth (in the process of preparing and performing debate)-Proficiency Level, Domain of Access to Information

  2. Students will be able to present information and express opinions on the issue clearly and effectively, in an organized manner (writing and delivering speeches) with supporting evidence and convincing arguments- logically organize thoughts and ideas on a wide range of debatable topics using discourse markers with accurate use of complex language structures to advance the case and refute the opposing team's arguments; thus presenting a constructive solution to the problem and conclusions based on the integration of the results of information obtained through different means -Proficiency level, Presentation Domain

  3. Students will be able to maintain effective communication, using appropriate register (British Parliamentary Debate) for a wide range of social issues(also ask and answer questions in the point of information procedure), express ideas and opinions , providing in-depth explanations using rich vocabulary and complex syntactic structures accurately to suit audience and purpose of pursuasion - to take a stand - Proficiency Level/Presentation Domain

  4. Students will be able to self-and peer assess and review their presentations based on peer/teacher feedback- Intermediate Level/ Presentation Domain

  5. Students will become aware of how cultural practices are reflected in various cultural products ,thus developing critical perspective toward different cultural values and norms-Proficiency Level/Domain of Appreciation of Culture


The two sides (the government and the opposition) have to prove their case through the use of organized argument. The proposing team has to give persuasive speeches, bringing evidence and strengthening their case,thus proving its argument. The opposing team has to reply with speeches proving the opposite.Each speech by one side is followed by the other,refuting the other team's case and advancing arguments.

Skills and Abilities:
The following represents the general outline for teaching debate to high-school students.

Introduction into the Fundamentals of Public Speaking.

  • The Basic Structuring of a Speech

  • Basic Concepts in Style: body language, eye contact, dress, props and voice

  • Creating and Maintaining Audience Attention

  • Getting Over Stage Fright

  • Impromptu Speaking

Introduction to Academic Debate

  • General Explanation of Parliamentary Debate: history, general background, purpose and uses

  • Short Introduction to other Debate Paradigms

  • The Mechanics of Debate

  • Speaker Responsibilities

  • Examination of Common Proposition Forms

  • Basic Theory

  • The Point of Information

  • Extensive Practice

Research: Skills & Concepts

  • Developing Research Skills

  • Types of Research Sources

  • Validity Testing

  • Constructing Briefs

Advanced Debate Theory

  • Defining the Proposition

  • Creating Plans and Counterplans

  • Showing Solvency

  • Focusing Arguments

  • Responding to Arguments

  • Responding To Evidence

  • Flowcharting

  • Using the Critique

  • Inherancy: advantages and disadvantages

  • Debating Disadvantages

Political, Social and Economic Theory

Other Forms of Public Speaking

  • Oratory

  • Oral Interpretation

  • Impromptu Speaking

Debating Program Issues: Thinking, Researching, Discussing, Writing and Debating
Technology and Science

*NASA Research Funds Should Be Spent on the Underpriviledged Advanced

*Can Scientists Discover a Limit to Discovery? Advanced

Analyzing a Scientific Debate: In this two-day lesson, students evaluate opposing sides to the debate regarding whether or not there is a future for scientific

discovery. Students will analyze excerpts from the debate between John Horgan and John Maddox for both an understanding of the articles' content and an evaluation of different methods of persuasion. Students then assess quotations from the articles and

write final reflections about their views about the future of science.

*Cloning Around - Advanced

Investigating the Ability to Create Human Embryos from Cloned

Cells: An Ethics Debate in the Science Classroom

In this lesson, students review the concepts of cloning and genetic

engineering and participate in a round-table discussion based on

the ethics and potential of cloning. Each student then writes either

an expository or persuasive essay on a topic stemming from the

cloning debate, including information from an interview conducted

with a "specialist" on the selected topic to support the thesis of the


*Exploring the Economic Implications of Consumer's Worries About Advanced

Genetically Engineered Foods

In this lesson, students investigate the controversy surrounding the

use of gene-altered crops in food products sold in this country and

overseas. Students will explore the economic implications of the use

of such crops as well as of the refusal of some countries and

companies to buy gene-altered crops. After reading and discussing

the article, students participate in an "international trade meeting,"

taking the perspective of one of the parties represented in the

article. They then write a personal essay expressing their views of

the issues raised.

*Human cloning should be allowed. Advanced

*The Internet is a Blessing of our Society 9

*Technology Is a Curse 9
Legal and Social Issues

*Israeli Society Has Become Uncaring and Desensitized 9

*Women Should be Allowed to Fight in Combat Units in the Army. 10

*Women Should Rule the World 10

*This House Supports the Prejudicial Assassination of Terrorists Advanced

*The Death Penalty Is Justified Advanced

* A Doctor Should End a Patient's Life in Cases of Extreme Suffering Advanced

*This House Would Not Try War-Criminals Internationally Advanced

*This House Would Oppose NATO Expansion Advanced

*The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword *Advanced *When There's No Peace, Walls are Erected 10

*Peace Is Possible in the Middle East /Peace in the Middle East Is a Dream 10
*Napster Faces the Music Advanced

Debating the Copyright and Sale of Music on the Internet

In this lesson, students debate the ruling on the Napster online

music service and consider its implications for intellectual property

rights in the future.

*Books Which Contain Dangerous Ideas Should Be Banned 9

*The Names of Minors Accused of a Crime Should Be Released to the Media

*Freedom of the Press in a Democratic Society Shouldn't Be Limited Advanced

*The Media Should Be Regulated for Children: 9

Students evaluate and debate whether movies, television shows, and other mass media cause violent behavior in children and whether books are the same as or different from these other media in their potential for causing violent behavior in

children. Students will participate in a round-table discussion

regarding the regulation of different media that can contain violent

content, and then students interview both adults and children in

order to compare their views on these issues.

*All workers should be allowed to strike. 10

*Israel Has Become a Materialistic Society 9

Lottery Winners Should Donate to Charity 10 *It's Acceptable to Stereotype People From Different Countries Because They All Have Certain Characteristics in Common 9

*English Should Become an International Language 9

*Large families are beneficial to society 9

*TV /rock music Encourages Violence 9

*Tougher laws are the best solution to the problem of crime 9

*Israel Should Forbid Conviction of Suspects on the Basis of Confessions Alone

*Gambling Should Be Legalized 10

*Soft Drugs Should Be Banned 10

*Alcohol Should Be Banned 10

* Cellular Phones Should Be Banned from Public Places 9

Youth Issues
*Youth is the Social Compass of our Society Advanced

*Young Generation Has a Lot to Learn from Old Generation Advanced

*Foundation of the Youth Party in Israel is Vital for Our Society Advanced

*Student Drug Testing Is a Violation of Student Rights 10

In this lesson, students will examine the different points of view

regarding testing students for drug use. They will then work in

pairs to create and perform dialogues that flesh out two sides of the

argument around this controversial issue. Finally, they will each

write a persuasive "letter to the editor" voicing their own beliefs on

the subject.

*Exploring the Issues Behind Computer-Based Learning 10

In this lesson, students learn how computer technology is used to

create lessons that, some hope, will replace live teachers. Students

also learn about the objections many have to computer education.

Based on this knowledge, students either develop their own outline

for a computer lesson that can teach the information taught in a

"live" lesson, or prepare an argument for "live" teaching as opposed

to a computer lesson. Students then engage in a debate on the topic

and assess the relative advantages and disadvantages of

computerized lessons.

* Juveniles Should Be Accountable for Violent Crimes 10

In this lesson, students explore the issue of the accountability of

children and young adults for their crimes. Through discussion of

both specific cases and general topics, as well as through personal

writings, students debate and draw conclusions about this complex


*Parents Should Be Accountable for Crimes Committed By their Offspring 10

*Teenagers should have curfews (be required to be home between 23:00 and 6:00). 9

*Students should be required to do volunteer service in order to 10 graduate from high school.

*School Days Are the Happiest Days of Your Life 9

*University Psychometric Test Should be Cancelled Advanced

*Honesty Exams Should Become an Integral Part of the School System. 9

*Students Benefit from Computer Games 9

*School Uniforms Should Be Compulsory 9

*Traveling After the Army Is a Waste of Time Advanced

*The Minimum Age for a Driving License Should be Raised Advanced

*English Should Be Taught SIX Weekly Hours in Israeli Schools 10

*Closed-Circuit Television Systems Should Be Installed in Schools 9

to Fight Vandalism and Theft in Schools

*Dropping Out of School Is the Right Solution for Students Who are 9-10

Failing or Have Behavioral Problems
Enviromental Issues
*The Trees in Neighborhoods Should Be Cut Down to Make Room for 9

New Shopping Centers

*A Clean Earth is Preferable Over a Higher Standard of Living 10

*Road Number 6 is a Blessing 9
Sources: The Web, encyclopedias, media, dictionaries, knowledge experts and printed materials

Principles of language learning and language teaching adherent to debating activities:

LLP (Language Learning Principles)

Language learning is facilitated when pupils

1) have maximum exposure to the target language and opportunities for using the language build on their prior language and world knowledge 3) are conscious of how they learn & how they can constantly develop better ways of learning the language 4) develop a positive self-image in the target language 5) are highly motivated and are willing to invest the effort & persistence needed for foreign language learning 6) feel that they are making progress and when they can see the usefulness of what they are learning 7)have opportunities to learn by doing 8) interact, share, exchange and work together in the language classroom 9) feel challenged within the range of their possible performance 10) have the opportunity to choose texts and tasks according to topics chosen 11) have opportunities for problem solving in the target language 12) are encouraged to experiment with their growing control of the language and are not afraid to make errors

Principles Underlying Language Teaching - Language Teaching Principles

Teachers: 1) activate pupils’ background knowledge 2) encourage the development of a positive self-image by providing success oriented tasks and positive feedback 3) create a language-rich environment, one that provides pupils with ample opportunities to encounter a variety of verbal and visual stimuli and use the language in different contexts and registers 4) create a supportive environment, one that allows pupils to take risks, to make errors and experiment with the language 5) are aware of and sensitive to pupils’ diversity and cater to it 6) take the pupils’ level of cognitive and linguistic development into account 7) allow pupils to make choices 8)provide opportunities for peer interaction 10) provide feedback that is on-going and formative 11) allow pupils to find out what they know or do not know by themselves 12) encourage pupil autonomy 13) create problem-solving contexts

Principles Underlying Assessment of the Debating Procedure:

*Assessment focuses both on the on-going process and on the end- product

*Self/peer/teacher check (using rubrics and rating scales which are discussed while setting / scaffolding performance and presenting the task)

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