Class Debates Can Make Students Become More Politically Involved

July 31, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. political / pəˈlɪt ɪ kəl / (adj.) – concerning politics
Example: The class discussed the country’s current political issues.

2. debate / dɪˈbeɪt / (n.) – a discussion between people with different opinions
Example: Many articulate students participated in the debate.

3. informed / ɪnˈfɔrmd / (adj.) – having the knowledge about something
Example: We need to have an informed decision on whom to vote for in next year’s election.

4. participate / pɑrˈtɪs əˌpeɪt / (v.) – to take part in doing something
Example: Many young adults no longer want to participate in discussing politics.

5. equipped / ɪˈkwɪpt / (adj.) – being ready or having what is needed for a particular activity
Example: Gerald is equipped to run for school president.


Read the text below.
A study suggests that discussing political issues in the classroom encourages students to become more politically involved. 

The University of Edinburgh [ED-n-bur-uh] surveyed 800 students for the said study. Half of the students were from Scotland, while the other half were from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Results of the study showed that classroom debates influenced the attitudes of 16 to 17-year-old students toward politics. Students from Scotland, who took classes that discussed politics, had a tendency to find politics easier to understand. Results also showed that the Scottish youth were more politically informed than the youth from other parts of the United Kingdom.

In fact, the study found that 67% of the Scottish students would want to vote in the general election, while only 39% from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland wanted to do so. Among the Scottish students, 57% were willing to participate in non-electoral political activities, as compared with 40% from other parts of the United Kingdom. The survey also revealed that 63% of the students from Scotland and 39% from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland had discussed the UK government with their families.

Other than being politically engaged, a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University found that taking part in debate leagues has other benefits for students. Among these advantages are having better grades, having a higher chance of graduating from high school, and being better equipped for college.

According to Alfred Snider from the University of Vermont, debating also helps students improve their critical thinking skills, how they express their ideas, and how they interact with other people. Also, debaters tend to be better leaders, as they can communicate well.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A 

·         Do you agree that students should be more involved in political issues? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think class debates make students become more politically involved?

Discussion B

·         What can be the advantages of being politically involved at a young age?
·         How can we encourage students to become more involved in politics?

July 31, 2015