French debates prepare students for AP test

By Graham Deshazer | Copy Editor

French Debate

AP French 4 and French 5 debate in class on Friday Sept. 12. These debates are meant to strengthen the students' knowledge of French culture. Photo credit: Graham Deshazer

Over the past few weeks, the AP French 4 and French 5 classes have been holding debates every Friday on a varying range of topics, including unemployment, teaching foreign languages in schools and whether schools should take kids on field trips. These debates are designed to help students prepare for the AP exam this spring.

All students have been assigned a French-speaking country, and they have been debating issues pertaining to their country. These debates are supposed to help the students work on research and verbal skills.

“Debates are supposed to help students in many ways,” AP French teacher Eric Castaneda said. “They help them to make good arguments, to become well informed and to be able to discuss their topic intelligently.”

So far, students have responded well to the debates.

“I’ve gained valuable skills from participating in these debates,” senior Becky Groves said. “At first they were kind of awkward, but now that everyone knows what to do they flow much better.”

In each debate, there is a topic at hand and students are split into two groups, the government and the opposition. This is supposed to mimic a real-life parliamentary debate.

“For the AP exam, the student must speak for two minutes on a comparison of French and American culture,” Mr. Castaneda said. “The best way to prepare for this is by having studied and discussed a French country in depth.”

Students must also prepare to argue both sides of the subject, because they don’t know which side they will be on until the debate begins.

“It definitely adds an element of surprise,” junior Izzy Fanucci said. “It can be a little annoying, but I think it helps us prepare for a real-life situation.”

Currently, many believe the debates to be an accomplishment.

“I believe the debates have really succeeded,” Mr. Castaneda said. “I noticed that the flow of debate has improved as well as the arguments the students put forward.”

Categories: Features

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