Counter Argument to Stop Smoking

Discussion in 'General Education' started by luckyal29, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. luckyal29

    luckyal29 Companion

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    Jan 9, 2011

    So my students are starting a persuasive/research project soon. We've been brainstorming ideas, topics, etc. I've hinted to my students "Stop Smoking" would be great as they would find loads of evidence/stats in articles to support not smoking.

    This is their first full research paper and I want to focus on the research process to find evidence to support their topic. I want to do away with the counterargument but the district rubric calls for a counterargument so I can't eliminate it. My students need to write a paragraph to address the other side of the topic.

    How do they write a counterargument when an issue is so one-sided? Several of my students are leaning to "stop smoking," "don't join gangs." How can you write a paragraph to support "join a gang" or "going ahead and smoke?"

    I'm not sure how to tackle this counterargument component. Two choices I see

    1. Now we haven't picked topics officially yet, so should I make my students pick more debatable topics?

    2. For students with one-sided issues, their counterargument would be "freedom of choice"

    3. Just ignore the district and forget the counterargument
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    I am 1000% against smoking but for the sake of argument they could research how much money is made in the tobacco industry,how many jobs it supports, etc. They could talk about how many jobs would be cut if everyone stopped smoking?
     
  4. luckyal29

    luckyal29 Companion

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    TeacherNY - That's a great idea! That counterargument can be used on the other issues such as fast/junk food. Thanks!

    Love how I posted a topic and got an answer within five minutes
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Well, I am avoiding cleaning my house right now so I had time to kill LOL
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Yes, in Kentucky it's easy to argue against a ban on smoking because it will truly financially ruin families.
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jan 9, 2011

    You could argue the fat that people gain weight when they quit smoking... LOL I've heard that one from some friends when they would try to quit. They replaced one bad habit with another one.
     
  8. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Jan 9, 2011

    Or you could frame it as why people make certain choices - why some people choose to smoke while others choose not to smoke, or why some people do join gangs while others don't.
     
  9. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    How about the argument that to continue smoking in a climate that so clearly favors non-smoking is an expression of individual liberty.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 9, 2011

    Or the idea that it's a slippery slope when government tells us what we can't do for our own good?
     
  11. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jan 9, 2011

    I don't think you would write a paragraph in support of the counterargument. To do so would be misleading the kids...if they are supporting a position of stopping smoking, they shouldn't turn around and write a paragraph that goes against that view.

    Rather, they should address what other people's counterarguments would be, and how those counterarguments are not valid. Cover all bases...like, how would you address someone who said they can't stop smoking because they will gain weight.

    I would imagine that's what the guidelines mean.
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jan 9, 2011

    -The slippery slope of government telling us what we can and can't do with our bodies

    -The financial ruin of people and economies dependent on tobacco

    -Nicotine speeds up metabolism, causing certain people to lose weight, or keep from gaining weight.

    -Nicotine has been linked to the delay and/or prevention of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
     
  13. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Jan 10, 2011

    I'm thinking you could pick two or more viewpoints of the same arguments. You could have them argue HOW the government should regulate smoking. Should the government ban smoking? Should the government increase taxes on cigarettes? Should the government provide free nicotine patches? Is this the government's place to regulate this? Etc....
     
  14. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Or, have them interview someone who does smoke, or is in a gang (if that's an option for you).
     
  15. Ruby2011MA

    Ruby2011MA Rookie

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    I remember one school I went to a parent threw a huge complaint when the students were faced with a counterargument like this. (We also did have to present in front of the class) The parent thought there was to much positive on negative problem. While I understand that there will always be parents like that I would suggest maybe giving them choices of topics of your own doing?

    for example:
    1.) Uniforms at school
    2.) Being Vegetarian
    I would just google "debate topics" that are appropriate for your students

    Giving them options still allows for them to have their pick but also lets you have the control of goes.
     
  16. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Jan 10, 2011

    The nicotine link is for people who get Alzheimer's and then start smoking. Regular smokers get no known benefit from the nicotine once they start to develop Alzheimer's.

    I think on the whole, you shouldn't be casting the issue as "Stop Smoking", but rather something more specific. Whether the the US should limit and/or ban smoking, or whether smokers should be able to recover money from tobacco companies.

    For gangs, the issue might be whether the government should take steps to keep gangs from forming, such as enacting curfews or restricting gun ownership.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    What grade do you teach? That certainly makes a difference. :)
     
  18. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 10, 2011

    I have done smoking - not just smoking, but the law that says there is no smoking in public places (it was a recent law when I did the paper topic but it is older now). Counterarguments were that restaurants and businesses would lose money.

    For gangs, I bet there are many people who could testify to their reasoning - protection, being targeted if they don't join, something provided for their family.
     
  19. Special-t

    Special-t Connoisseur

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    Jan 10, 2011

    I just did this unit with my students. If the argument is to "stop" smoking then personal freedom would be a counter. One could also site anecdotal evidence of some smokers living longer than some non-smokers (thus, a willingness on the part of the smoker to take their chances). If the argument is to "ban" cigarettes altogether, then the financial repercussions would be a strong counter-argument.

    You can't just ignore the counter-argument, no matter what the topic, because predicting potential counter-arguments is one of the reasons we teach the students this unit. It's possibly the most useful tool they'll get out of the experience.

    You may want to restate your topics so they are not just personal suggestions. Make them legal or policy issues like banning smoking in public areas or adding time to criminal sentences for gang members. This allows for more diverse counter-arguments.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I was just throwing out counter-arguments...with no opinion on their validity. Besides that, with the nicotine/alzheimer's link, there's nicotine is many green, leafy vegetables...so there's no need to smoke to get it.
     

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