You already learned the story of the Who is to blame? The woman, her husband, her lover, the stranger?
Such stories cater ideally for the students’ need of discussion. Teenagers with their morality still forming enjoy heated debates over who is guilty, who should be spared or sacrificed in the name of justice, freedom … Even so implaussible stories as the one I present you now they are engaging and stirring the students’ motivation to speak. They may contain a grain of truth but definitely present sparks of genius.
Procedure is as with any written stimulus for discussion:
You may want to pre-teach structures for expressing opinion, agreeing/ disagreeing. Make students read the story and ask to pair up in order to debate over the blame of the characters involved. If they cannot find the only one person responsible, encourage to make an ordered list starting from the most responsible to the least.
Facilitate and monitor, jotting down all the communication fails which will be dealt with in follow-up stage. After the matter has been discussed in pairs, you may form bigger groups to confront students with other’s opinions.
Age: 13 and more
Level: Intermediate and more
Time: 20-30 minutes
You are in ancient Athens before the time of Theseus. In order to ensure peace, every year a number of young people must be sent to the Labyrynth to be devoured by the Minotaur (a horrible creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull). All but one of them have been chosen and the last is to be one of five girls: which is the least worth saving?
The usual system of casting lots has been discarded in a favour of a decision by a committee of elders (your group). As a group select which girl is to be sent and be able to explain your decisions to the citizens of Athens. Use the notes below to help you reach your decision.
Chloe – One of six brothers and sisters, family very influential, so children have so far escaped being sent. Chloe is very talented, has won several prizes for singing and, music. Engaged to be married to rich businessman who threatens to withdraw financial support form the government if Chloe is sent.
Arete – Only child, mentally retarded, adored by parents. An incredibly cheerful, loving person. Occupies herself with simple sewing jobs.
Charis – Orphan, rather a wild character, has lived on the streets, kept alive by charity and occasional thieving. Has recently come to live with a middle-class family, responding well to affection and teaching, shows signs of exceptional intellect.
Thalia – One of five children, but her brother was sent last year. Thalia was very close to him and wants to be sent, hoping he may be alive, but her parents are naturally violently opposed to her going. Very popular, an excellent athlete.
Euphro – Eldest of six brothers and sisters, the family is fairly well-off. Ugly, nobody likes her very much, as she is intolerant and given to unkind gossip. Mother often ill, so Euphro spends a lot of her time looking after much younger brothers and sisters.