With Answers! | Download the ESL Lesson plan here: Topic-Affirmative-Action-uppIntermediate.doc
Affirmative Action ESL News Lesson Plan : Warm-up
1) How did you get your current job? Did you compete against many others?
2) What type of social group dominates your field or area of study?
3) If you were a homosexual minority of the opposite sex, would your professional life be different?
4) Are the below minority groups discriminated against in your country? How so?
Topic: Affirmative Action
Affirmative action is defined as positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in the areas of employment, education, and business. These steps are taken as redress for past discrimination. Affirmative action is known as positive discrimination in the U.K. and employment equity in Canada. When adopted as a policy requiring preferential selection, affirmative action generates intense controversy.
American President John F. Kennedy introduced affirmative action in 1961 as a temporary remedy that would end once a “level playing field” was established for all Americans. The policy has faced opposition by conservatives who see the system as a zero-sum game that opens doors for minorities by excluding whites.
One identified drawback of affirmative action is a phenomenon called mismatching. This occurs when students are placed in academic programs that are too difficult for them, resulting in higher dropout rates. Critics also argue that affirmative action devalues the accomplishments of those who belong to groups it is intended to help, therefore making it counterproductive. (247)
[Research sources: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/affirmative-action/ , http://www.infoplease.com/spot/affirmative1.html, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/teachers/lessonplans/us/jan-june09/affirmative_action.html , http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2010/0330/Malaysia-cautiously-challenges-longtime-affirmative-action-policies]
Affirmative Action ESL Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions
1) True or False: affirmative action is known as employment equity in Canada.
2) What’s the difference between equal opportunity and affirmative action policies?
3) What is one criticism American conservatives have of affirmative action?
4) True or False: Preferential treatment policies in Malaysia have strengthened the economy.
5) What is mismatching?
6) Why do some critics believe affirmative action policies are counterproductive?
Affirmative Action ESL Lesson Plan : Vocabulary Matching
level playing field
- redress – compensation, reparation, repayment
- persecution – cruel and unfair treatment
- inception – establishment, start
- envision – imagine, intend
- level playing field – situation in which one person’s gain is another’s loss
- segregation – separation of people based on race, religion, or sex
- inhibit – hinder, impede
- comprise – make up, constitute
- counterproductive – having the opposite effect than intended
Affirmative Action ESL Lesson Plan: Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.
government / uprising
|representation / women / government|
redress / slavery
remedy / problem
|establish / level playing field|
|minorities / exclude|
segregation / Malaysia
hinder / growth
|make up / women|
devalue / achievement
|asset / 20 billion|
|policy / counterproductive|
- The new plan was designed to increase representation of women in the government.
- African Americans demanded redress for over a hundred years of slavery.
- Financial assistance was given to Greece as a remedy for their economic problems.
- Kennedy’s policy was established to create a level playing field.
- Minorities felt like they were excluded from the political process.
- Affirmative action policies have caused segregation in Malaysia.
- The policies have also hindered the growth of the economy.
- Women make up 35% of the population in my town.
- Critics worried that the policy would devalue the achievements of minorities.
- The company’s assets were worth 20 billion dollars.
- The government’s policy to save money by stopping its recycling programs was counterproductive.
Affirmative Action ESL Lesson Plan: Debate: Bakke v. California
Student A: You are Allan Bakke, a white male. You have been rejected for two years in a row by the medical school of the University of California. You have heard, however, that other applicants with lower grades were admitted because the program reserves 16 out of 100 places for minorities. You think this is unfair. Think of reasons to support your argument, and then present your case to the Supreme Court.
Student B: You represent the medical program at the University of California. Your program reserves 16 of its 100 places for minority students. A white man, Allan Bakke, has applied to your program and been rejected twice, despite having higher scores than some minorities who were accepted. Bakke has taken you to court for this. Think of reasons to defend your program’s rules. Bakke will present his case first.
Affirmative Action ESL Lesson Plan: Role-Play
Affirmative Action ESL Lesson Plan : Discussion Questions
(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish).
- What affirmative action programs does your school, employer, or country have?
- What does the election of president Barack Obama say about affirmative action, if anything?
- Is affirmative action a zero-sum game (in other words, must the preferential treatment of one group negatively affect another)?
- Was the situation for Europeans who settled in North America a hundred years ago different from that of immigrants who arrive nowadays?
- Level playing field: do you think a level playing field, if achieved, would stay level?
Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com