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Sometimes in an English lesson you may be asked to discuss a topic which many people have different views on. In S1 and S2 this could be on issues that directly affect pupils of that age, such as homework policy, television viewing, responsibilities in their home. By S3/S4 the topics may have widened to include issues of public concern, like capital punishment, terrorism, the future of the Monarchy, the role of the Scottish Parliament. The teacher may give you the job of presenting arguments, in favour or against, that you may not really believe. However, the point of the task is to show that you can present arguments to convince other people and not to present your personal beliefs, so you must research arguments for the topic as you were given it.


It can be helpful to work with another pupil, as does Alan in the video clip. This gives you the opportunity to think about how to put forward views to a partner who you are comfortable working with. If that is successful it should give you the confidence to take the next step.

The next step

The teacher may now ask you to present a talk to persuade others of your arguments and to answer questions at the end. You could ask if your audience could first of all be made up of friends whom you are used to talking with. Then finally you could feel confident enough to speak to the whole class, as many pupils who stammer do, and gain a good mark.

Remember, if you plan, prepare, practise and communicate your ideas well, then you can gain a good mark.

In S3, Alan and partner plan prepare for a debate about capital punishment.