Last Wednesday, 9 december we decided to organize debates at the school. In the English lessons we proposed some topics to be followed. I was glad to see the reaction of the pupils: they were really interested in doing something new aside from their typical English lessons.
We suggested they speak in English, but they explained that it was easier for them to express their thoughts in Romanian. After deciding on the main language and topics, the real debates began to sound like a “battlefield”. Some of the students got a bit aggressive in defending their opinions and took the whole thing very seriously. We actually tried to explain, at no avail, that this is merely a little exercise in getting them to reveal what they think.
The notions as to what is normal really differed from class to class. The older students expressed themselves much more confident and aggressive, while the younger students were easily influenced by other's opinions. Some would say one thing, but when the leader of the class would express a different point of view, everybody would agree with it. In fact, I noticed that in those classes where we used video cameras the students' behavior was more calm and serious comparing to the times when we did not use them. Without the meticulous eye of the camera, they were quite distracted and difficult to engage.
After experiencing these debates and handling the classes, I finally realize that being a teacher is not an easy task at all and I really respect the people that chose this profession.