“Which could be a meaningful topic, one which would motivate my students to engage in a heated discussion and collect data to write a report as a follow-up activity?” I wondered. And then, while watching the news on TV, it dawned on me that my students would very likely be casting ballots in 2013 Congressional elections and I thought about the Teen Suffrage Bill.
When I put forward the idea to my First Certificate classes in Cultural Centro and Cultural Norte, everybody responded enthusiastically and in no time at all they put pen to paper to design a set of questions to prepare a questionnaire. They decided they would visit other classes and find out how their peers thought about “being given a right they haven’t asked for”. Here I´m quoting Sofia Rossin, one of my students, who very solemnly established her position about the TSB.
A total of 47 students were interviewed – FCE “C”, FCE “E” and FCE “H” in Cultural Centro- and in Norte we visited Pre -First. We were warmly welcomed by the “host classes”, who willingly answered all the questions my students had so conscientiously prepared. They took down notes of ALL the opinions, arguments and viewpoints provided.
The next step was talling the information gathered and drawing conclusions. Finally, working in groups, they wrote a report considering the suitability and acceptance of the bill.
Although most of the students interviewed were familiar with the TSB and said they usually discussed politics with their friends, families and teachers, they vehemently opposed the bill. On which grounds ? Basically, it seems they do not feel responsible enough to vote and that being given voting rights at 16 would definitely not motivate them to participate in the democratic process of our country.
To sum up, I believe it was a truly fruitful, interactive activity. All the students, the interviewers and the interviewees felt they were being listened to, that they had a say on their future. In other words, they felt they had A VOICE.
Teacher: Laura Lupo
Class: FCE G and Norte