Those educators serving junior high through high school students who are looking for a quality media resource to study Middle East issues and current events have a fantastic freebie available to them at the click of a button. Read on.
The Doha Debates, carried regularly on CNN, have a web site of their own. What’s great about this is that if you miss an episode, you can catch the podcast, transcript and both high and low resolution video versions of each debate via their archives, which are organized by season.
They tackle such issues as marital choice, the wearing of hijab, and the ongoing Palestinian problems. There are also special debate sessions scheduled regularly where high ranking officials are brought to Doha for the students to ask direct questions. This recently included Shimon Peres, the first high ranking Israeli official to visit Qatar in more than a decade. Other guests have included Bill Clinton and Desmond Tutu. Occasionally, the debates are scheduled at an overseas location. For the most part however, they take place in Doha.
Since they are conducted (except for the special visitation episodes) in debate format with two speakers for each side of every motion, these make for an excellent classroom discussion resource. Work the archived episodes in as you see fit. Incorporate research from a free ESL current events resource or turn them loose to discover titles and URL resources from regular media. When the new seasons start each year, consider assigning research ahead of time based on the subject. Then host a classroom debate and vote prior to watching the high resolution video episode in class and compare results.
However you decide to incorporate it, I don’t think you’ll be sorry. This is a quality resource with a high degree of political balance and professional quality. Available at DohaDebates.Com.
Photo Credit: Doha Debates