University of Arkansas at Little Rock students in the Intensive English Language Program will take part in public debates on Thursday, April 19, as part of their course work beginning at 10 a.m. in the EIT auditorium.
Their main challenge isn’t the assigned topic or even their personal uneasiness with public speaking. It is the challenge of debating in their non-native language.
The 18 students come from 12 countries: Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Peru.
“We have some super-advanced students participating, so it should be very good,” instructor Pam Henline said. “Several of the students already have master’s degrees and doctorates and are taking English for various reasons, such as bettering their communication with patients and getting help with standardized test-taking. These ESL students demonstrate remarkable facility with their non-native language.”
For the debates, students choose topics and and then draw to see who will argue which side.
For the first debate at 10 a.m., students will debate on whether texting and messaging destroy intimacy. At 11 a.m., another group of students will debate whether the use of social media causes anxiety and other mental disorders.
The debates are open to the campus community.
In the photo above right, students in the Intensive English Language Program participate in student debates in fall 2017.