Wednesday 8 February 2012

Discussion / Listening / Writing - Is smacking a child ever justified?

You are going to
  • listen to a discussion and do a gap-filling exercise
  • practise verbs used to report speech
  • discuss parenting and children's behaviour
  • prepare and write an IELTS task 2 question on this theme

  • What's the best way to educate children?
  • What's the best way to teach children about right and wrong?
  • How should parents discipline children when they do wrong?
  • Do you think it is ever right to smack a child who has done wrong?
  • What is the law in the UK with regard to smacking?
  • What is the law in your country?
  • How does the education of children affect society? 
  • How did your parents raise you?
  • Are you a parent? How do you / will you raise your children?

You are going to listen to a short discussion from the BBC Radio 4 Today programme

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham and former minister, sparked controversy when he said parents in his constituency were confused about the law on smacking.
Cindy Butts, adviser on the Metropolitan Police's Operation Trident, and Sunny Hundal, Guardian writer and editor of left wing blog Liberal Conspiracy, discuss whether smacking is ever justified.

Listen to the discussion

1) Who says the following? Cindy Butts or Sunny Hundal?
  • some families don't understand the law
  • was beaten as a child
  • people are more willing to ignore authority nowadays
Click play to listen

Is smacking ever justified? (mp3)

2) Listen again and fill in the gaps with a verb from the drop-down menu.

Printable version available here

Grammar - Reported Speech
Look at the text again.
The verbs in the gaps in the summary can all be used to report speech. We can also use Say and Tell but the test of good English is being able to use varied vocabulary.
What other verbs in the text are used to report speech?
Highlight for answers = dispute, maintain, claim, consider

Practise reported speech here

  • The law in the UK states that a parent can smack a child without reddening the skin. Do you agree that the law is fair and sensible?
  • What are the alternatives to smacking?
  • Do you think parents should have training to raise children?
  • Are people more willing to ignore authority nowadays? Is this good or bad? What are the causes?
  • Do you agree there has been a breakdown in discipline in young teenagers?
  • How much are parents responsible for the actions of their children?

Choose one of the following IELTS questions
  • Some people think it would be a good idea for schools to teach every young person how to be a good parent. Do you agree or disagree with this opinion? Describe the skills a person needs to be a good parent.
  • Firm discipline is a necessary part of teaching children. To what extent do you agree or disagree
  • In some countries children have very strict rules of behavior, while in other countries they are allowed to do almost anything they want. To what extent should children have to follow rules? Give Reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
  • Behaviour in schools is getting worse. Explain the causes and effects of this problem, and suggest some possible solutions.

More Practice
More reported speech

Reporting verbs lists


Daily Mail - Labour MP: Smacking ban led to riots because parents fear children will be taken away if they discipline them

More BBC Radio 4 Today stories on Facebook

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