While teaching in Ulaanbaatar in the fall of 2010, I was approached by the national public broadcaster (MNB) to develop a weekly television show that would feature school students debating the day’s relevant issues in English. I agreed to host the show, recruit and prepare the students, and develop a companion web site.
I’ve heard that MNB still broadcasts episodes occasionally, but I took down the web site — debate.mn — two years ago. They never did give me electronic copies of the episodes. Thus, I was surprised to find out that our audience polls were still on Polldaddy’s servers after all this time. For the sake of memories, here are some of the results:
This was one of the most-spirited debates. The familiar nature of the topic at hand meant that the students were able to dig in and provide plenty of examples and arguments.
Debates about Mongolian governmental policies:
This debate was interesting. The proposition opened with a strong case based on brain drain and the challenge of getting intellectuals to care about their homeland if they didn’t feel attached to it. By the end, however, the opposition was able to cast the motion as close-minded and unhelpful for development.
The deel (дэл), a full-length robe, is Mongolia’s traditional form of clothing. This debate ended up revolving around two test cases: Middle-Eastern businessmen who wear thawbs, and Japanese businessmen who wear suits.
Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution is worse than almost anywhere else on the planet. The situation is complex but, for residents of that city, visceral.
The Bogd Khan Uul is a forested mountain located on the southern edge of Ulaanbaatar. In recent years, development — schools, apartment buildings, resorts — have been built on the slopes of the mountain.
This topic was designed for a debate involving younger students. I tried to find a topic to which they could make connections and provide insight.