This seems like a dull subject but here are some things that I think many of my students would enjoy discussing:
1)How much we turn a blind eye to corrupt politicians and why.
2)Who’s really controlling politicians?
3)How many people only care about politics and laws if it hurts them personally
4)Is there any point voting? And why many people don’t.
5)Does anyone actually care about politicians wasting tax payers money on ridiculous expenses?
6)Politicians personal life scandals and why we are/aren’t bothered.
7)Are we really living in a democracy and possible benefits of communism?
8)Who’s really gaining from socialism?
9)Why did Obama sell out and why did people fall for his ‘talk’ in the first place?
Now, I wouldn’t walk into a class with one of these topics. I’d use a reading, listening/video or even a general topic and see where it goes but I’d have these topics written down for branches which we could follow.
1)Give each student a different country to research and then present how corrupt or not the politicians are. Followed by comparisons and debate.
2)A text about the financiers of political leaders and how they have influenced their policies followed by a discussion of how/why those companies run the country.
3)A text/video about a corrupt politician(s) followed by a discussion about why he was corrupt and the effects on the people and whether it is impossible to stamp it out.
Drafting new laws that will impact on the students and getting them to fight them.
4)Groups discuss who they voted for, why and if they think it was useful. Also, why they/others don’t vote.
A talk on why people don’t vote, if votes are rigged why 1 politician is just as good or bad as the next.
5)A list of British politicians who’ve frittered away tax payers money and what on. Followed by real reactions and discussion on if it matters and why it has become such a big issue. Who is benefiting?
A video about politicians frivolous use of tax payers money followed by reactions and a discussion about whether it would cost too much to bring them to justice or just let it go. After all, isn’t it better that we know their doing something bad rather than not knowing?
6)Text-based examples of scandals involving politicians from gambling to affairs, gay lovers etc and who really cares? Does it affect their job? Are they just normal people or have they gone too far?
7)A controversial debate about the pros and cons of democracy vs communism or other form of government including dictatorship. I mean, who are we to say that our system is superior and if so why do we think that? Who will gain from widespread democracy and the fall of communism?
8)A look at the French system and how people are actually getting a rough deal under socialism ie paying half of their medical cover, being monitored, having to show ID for everything etc. Then brainstorming how socialism should really be about the people and how to achieve it.
9)A list of Obama’s promises and a discussion of how he succeeded/failed to meet them. Followed by why we fell for him. Was it just a PC thing? Marketing? Or just a backlash after Bush? Also, why did he fail? Is it because the people in the background are actually running the country?
As topics go, I would say that this could be quite safe. In a mixed nationality class with open-minded students I’d love these subjects and would enjoy discussing them via texts, audio and videos. I’d also love working on written and spoken output, especially satirical ones like recorded political rants, chat show debates, letters to leaders, comical commentaries of events and of course I’d have to have political elections and presidential debates and Q&A sessions.
Would you cover these topics? Why/Why not?
Any other ideas or comments?