Урок-дебаты по теме "Is Television a Malign Influence on Society?"

Разделы: Иностранные языки

Формат дебатов предусматривает:

  • участие двух команд из трёх человек (Speakers). Одна команда ‘Proposers’ утверждает тезис (тему дебатов), другая ‘Opposers’ опровергает eго;
  • участники заранее знакомятся с ролями и регламентом;
  • команды имеют право на 5-минутный тайм аут;
  • за соблюдением регламента игры следит тайм-кипер;
  • дебаты судит судейская коллегия (Jury), состоящая из 3-5 человек;
  • команда, набравшая большее количество голосов судей, побеждает.


  • Образовательные: обучение умениям и навыкам устной речи и аудирования;
  • Развивающие: развитие коммуникативных умений учащихся, формирование ораторских способностей, умения чётко выражать свои мысли;
  • Воспитательные: формирование умения слушать и слышать собеседника, работать в команде.


Nowadays television plays a significant role not only in social and political life, acting as a tool for spreading information, but also in the everyday life of people as a source of entertainment. Some people claim that this might be harmful as television shows more and more aggressiveness and violence, sacrifices the quality of the programmes for the sake of commercial benefit. On the other hand, it is impossible to imagine the life of modern society without television, especially keeping in mind the crucial importance of spreading information around the globe.

Debate procedure

Time-Keeper: Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, let me open the debate. The motion is ‘Television is a malign influence on society.’ It is proposed by the first team. So, the floor is given to Speaker 1 (P.). Time: 4 min.

Proposer 1

Good morning, Honourable Jury, Time-Keeper. Good afternoon, dear colleagues.
Let me introduce myself and my team. I am S., the first speaker. The second speaker in our team is… and the third speaker is…
This problem is of particular interest to any age groups. Statistics show that more and more people are getting used to watching TV a lot. Our team presents the points for the motion of the debate.
I’d like to begin with the definition of the words of television and influence.

Television – the programmes that are shown on a television set.

Influence – the effect that a person or thing has on someone’s decisions, opinions or behaviour or on the way something happens.

Our first argument is that television does a lot of harm to people’s health, I mean the eyesight. The ability to see is one of the main abilities of a person. Scientists state that if you watch TV 4 hours per day you may lose 70% of your eyesight.
It’s important to bear in mind, especially in the case with children, because they are the most vulnerable viewers, and it’s difficult for them to limit their time spending in front of the TV-set.
Our second argument in favour of the motion is that watching television might cause some psychological problems.Television affects people’s minds and shapes people’s image of ‘real life’ promoted by TV but it differs from our reality. And when a person returns to his ordinary life he can’t get rid of the scenes of glamour, success and prosperity which he has seen thousand times. It’ difficult for him to solve even simple problems of everyday life.
Television makes people apathetic, weakens their desire to achieve a goal and distracts them from social life. Involving people into imaginary life of TV, it prevents them from doing some other activities.
Besides, it affects family relations . People replace live conversations by artificial life problems shown on TV. Instead of communicating within a family sharing each other’s joys and troubles people experience other people’s emotions and feelings.
Our third argument for the motion is that television can be the reason for some children’s problems, first of all, behavioral problems. Children see a lot of violence and aggressiveness on TV, some of them try to imitate such stereotypes which results in higher rate of crimes.
According to scientists children who watch a lot of TV have problems with concentration on some particular idea in other words they experience difficulty in mental activities.
Moreover, they become obsessed with some ideas, their parents are helpless in such situations and even ask a psychiatrist for help.
Our fourth argument for the motion is that there is nothing to watch on TV. If we take a TV programme and examine it carefully, we’ll see that the majority of prime time is occupied by various serials, soap operas, detective serials, reality shows, etc. If you want to see the programmes of high quality you have to pay additional money, I mean satellite TV. Not all people can afford to pay.
As for some serious programmes, such as current affairs news, news, documentary films, can we be sure that all the information given to us is true?
Our last argument for the motion is that people are becoming like a couch potato without any other interests except lying on the sofa and watching all the programmes imaginable. Gradually, they are losing their physical shape which results in obesity.

Time-Keeper: Your time is over. Thank you. Now the floor is given to the second team. Would you like to take time out to discuss questions to the speaker?

Opposer 3:

  • Do you really think that TV is a source of all the evil on our planet?
  • Should we destroy TV?
  • What would you suggest instead of TV?

(Proposer 1 answers)

Time-Keeper: Time is over. Thank you. The motion is opposed by the second team. The floor is given to the 2nd Speaker (O.) Time: 4 min.

Opposer 3: Good afternoon, Honourable Jury, Time-Keeper and dear colleagues!
I’d like to introduce myself and my team. I’m M., the second speaker if…,
the third is … .
We agree on the definitions given by the Speaker of Proposers and we’ll try to follow them in general. But we can’t agree on the motion of the debate.
First of all, my honorouble friend S. has given convincing examples to support their idea. But these are not the only justifications to be considered. I agree that watching a lot television affects badly people’s eyesight, however, people have to decide how long to watch TV.
Secondly, scientists from Tallahassee proved that TV can make you calmer and less stressed. How? Very simple. After work or school you feel exhausted and unable to concentrate on anything. Then you come up to your favourite sofa, press the button of the remote controle and start diving into a fascinating world of imaginary characters or on the contrary into a real life of important events which happen in the world. Such things help people to relax and to restore their energy. I don’t agree that watching TV prevents from communication among the family members. Why not watch TV together? Afterwards ,you may discuss everything you watched together. It will have a positive effect.
The fourth argument is not true. You have said that there is nothing to watch on TV. In my opinion, all people can find something useful for themselves, according to their taste. You know, there are a lot of sports fans in our country, people who are really interested in sports and who want to follow all the sports events taken place in any county. The only opportunity for them is TV. Besides, watching such events positively influences people’s mind, making them be proud of their country. By the way, it’s a good example for children to follow.
Not only sports programmes exist on TV. Here you can find scientific, cultural and musical programmes to your taste. They give new educational opportunities for our society.
You have stated that the information given on TV is not always true, I can’t agree with you. I am sure that people have the right to be informed about the world they live in and its problems. This kind of information is the first step towards solving them. Besides TV shows, comedies, musical channels perfectly serve as a source of entertainment and positive emotions.
Lastly, people are conscious creatures and they can choose the way to spend their free time as they like. In any case, young people in many countries are now spending less time watching television, preferring to surf the Internet instead.

Time-Keeper: Time is over. Thank you. The floor is given to the proposers. Would you like to take time out?

Proposer 3:

  • What sources of information did you use?
  • Is it good that many people prefer watching TV to reading books?
  • How much do you watch TV? Don’t you consider it to be harmful pleasure?

(Opposer 1 answers.)

Then Affirmative Rebuttal Speech and Negative Rebuttal Speech follow, after that 2 rounds of questions.

Time-Keeper: Now we are coming to the end of our debate and it’s time to draw a conclusion. The floor is given to Speaker 3 (P.). Your time is 3 min.

Proposer 3:

We have heard a lot of facts, arguments and justifications in favour of TV and its programmes. On the one hand, I agree that there are good quality channels, such as ‘Discovery’, ‘Animal Planet’ and some others. On the other hand, I would like to reveal the results of one survey which took place on 26-27 May,2008, 58% of people think that television affect negatively its viewers.
Moreover, when we watch television the hormones are created and they have the same effect as the drugs have. You become calmer while you are watching TV, but this calmness is the first step to apathy.
Television plays a great role in our life nowadays, I don’t think it will carry on constantly. The Internet is gradually replacing the TV. In my opinion, the Internet is a more objective source of information than TV. It makes you think while TV offers you ready images and expects you to consume them.
So, our team thinks that TV destroys our minds, it has no future.

Time-Keeper: Time is over. The floor is given to Speaker 3 (O.)

Opposer 3:

So, the topic is of particular interest for discussion. We admit that TV is not the only source of information and entertainment. However, it has been broadcasting its programmes for a long time , people get accustomed to it and don’t want to get rid of it completely.
It’s the wrong thing to claim that TV is a source of all the evil in the world.
Television is like nuclear energy, it can destroy all our planet, however, it can warm houses of people. It’s up to you to decide what to do.
As for the harm which television does to our eyes, it’s easy to solve this problem. First of all, new modern TV sets don’t influence negatively on the eyesight. Secondly, if you don’t want to be influenced by television  badly, take care of your health yourself. Thirdly, parents are responsible for the habits of their children and their preferences. They should limit the time and the programmes which their children watch.
Speaker 1 (p.) has said about some psychological problems people might have, when they transmit themselves into another reality. Such people have another problem, of a medical nature and they have to consult a doctor. Such people can find another reality in their own flat or even everywhere.
To sum up, television has the right to exist. However, people should be responsible while choosing what to watch, how long to watch it and whether it’s necessary to do.

Time-Keeper: Well, our debate is over and finally, the floor is given to our Honourable Jury.

(Judges should make their decision on which team won or lost the debate based on performance  of the team as a whole.)

Time-Keeper: Thank you, Honourable Jury. Thank you everybody. Our Debate is over.