AP Language Arts Students Debate

AP Language student and debater Simon Sun making his point.

AP Language Arts student and debater Simon Sun making his point.

by Adrian Munteanu

Students of AP Language Arts teacher Gayle Martin clashed, not with guns or swords, but with the weapon of words.

Over the week of Feb. 10, students formed their own debate which they, and a partner of their choice, would use against another pair of students. This was to test their capability to form an argument with given material and even support stances they may actually oppose.

Topics were focused on current events and included gun control (specifically assault weapons), drug-testing welfare recipients, taxing “junk” food, and a variety of other relevant issues.

“For the debates, I choose the topics and I choose the sources, and I assign the topics and the sides so no one gets to choose what they argue,” Martin said. “Which is a good actual thinking activity for them anyway, and a lot of times they are assigned to argue something they don’t think they agree with.”

AP Language Arts student Simon Sun entered the debate without having strong feelings toward any side for his topic of whether or not welfare recipients should be drug-tested. In the duo, Sun served as the “lead debater,” the individual who would give the points in favor of his argument. His partner was responsible for rebutting the opponents’ arguments.

After the debate, Sun left with a different outlook on the matter.

“After I did a lot of research I saw a lot of arguments for both sides,” Sun said. “I think I kind of lean towards the side I had to argue against.”

To learn more about the issue of  drug-testing welfare recipients, check out this link at ACLU.org.


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