3. "If I Ruled the World"
This game is a great debate exercise for students at any age and stage of ability. It is designed to introduce students to ideas of problem identification and solving, argument construction and how to build a good first proposition case. It also helps to get them thinking about the world around them and tries to get them to engage with some big ideas.
It focuses on the idea that most debates are "change" debates, that means that most debates require students to argue in favour or against change a particular thing in the world, be it a law, or the behaviour of people, or the relations between governments or between states and citizens. The key aim is to get students to identify a big problem and proposed how they would fix and explain why they want to fix it.
1. Students will learn how to construct a basic first proposition case
2. Students will be able to identify problems in world and come up with viable solutions to them
3. Students will be able to give reasons about why they want to solve a particular problem and be able to explain why their solution is a good idea
· This game can be played by students on their own or in groups.
· They will need pen and paper.
· Ask students to imagine that they are ruling the entire world for a day.
· They are able to make one change to the world.
· Ask students to write a short speech (1 to 2 minutes long) which does the following:
Ø Tells us what they are going to change/what problem they would like to fix
Ø Tells us how they are going to change it/fix the problem
Ø Tells us why they want to implement this particular change (one good reason is usually enough for the first go)
· Give students about 10 minutes to write their speeches, 15 minutes if they are working in groups.
· Go around the students asking them to stand up and give their speeches.
· After all students have spoken (or each group), explain how this approach is the same as writing a first proposition case.
After you've done the above exercise with students, there are a number of ways that you expand it to use it in the future as students become more confident and skilled.
· Ask other students to come up with reasons why a particular solution might not work or isn't a good idea. This gets them to think about rebuttal and engage with the arguments that they have just heard. It also encourages them to listen, which is a key skill in debating.
· After they have finished playing the game, give them an actual motion (for example "this house would ban smoking") and get them to replay the game with banning smoking as the thing they would do if they ruled the world.