I'm teaching a lot of debate classes, these days: more, by almost an order of magnitude, relative to previous terms at Karma. And I make video of all my students' speeches. And I evaluate the speeches and give scores. This is a laborious process, and part of why I'm feeling overwhelmed with work. But I have decided it's a really great way to get middle schoolers actually talking in English class. The combination of natural adolescent reticence on the one hand combined with the horrifying discomfort of speaking a foreign language they don't feel confident with, on the other, means that getting middle school English students to actually talk is about as easy as pulling teeth from a chicken. But if you turn on a video camera and tell them it's a test, they'll stand up at the podium, shaking and quaking, and give their damnedest. It's a bit coercive, relative to my most preferred methods, but overall I'm pleased with how well it works.
Here's one of my favorite classes, giving some speeches on the debate proposition: "Immigration to South Korea should be encouraged." They complained that this topic was difficult, but they all said it was interesting, too.
As a bonus, this video has a complex connection to an earlier blog post: I'll have to give a door prize if anyone actually identifies the connection. I don't know if I have any blog readers loyal or attentive enough to do this. So this is a kind of stealth-test.