Source: Independent Lens: "Please Vote for Me"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
This video segment adapted from Independent Lens documents the first school government election allowed in Wuhan, the most populous city in central China. It was an experiment that was conducted with a class of third grade students who had no experience with elections or the democratic process of voting for a class monitor. In the first part of the video, Cheng Cheng and Xu Xiaofei debate their strengths and weaknesses, followed by a second debate between Luo Li and Cheng Cheng in front of their classmates. To learn more about this election, see the second segment, "Final Speeches," where the race for class monitor continues.
Global studies, government, public speaking
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for middle school students using this video in an English language arts or social studies lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) Have you ever participated in a class debate or given an oral presentation in front of the class? How did you prepare for it? How did you feel when it was your turn to speak?
Focus (ELA) As you watch the video, critique each candidate's presentation style and technique. Which methods work well? Which do not? Is there anything they could do to improve their presentations? Why do you think that?
Follow Up (ELA) Do you agree or disagree with how the debates were conducted? Is there anything participants could have done to be more persuasive and give better presentations? Write a list of recommendations for each candidate. Once each list is completed, notice if any recommendations overlap.
Frame (SS) What do you know about a democracy? What do you know about the government of China? How does it compare to the government of your country?
Focus (SS) What are some of the tactics used by the students to get their classmates to vote for them? Are these tactics effective?
Follow Up (SS) What are some other examples in society or everyday life where persuasive techniques are used? In your opinion, what techniques tend to be the most effective? Support your opinion by providing examples of how people react to these presentation techniques.
XU XIAOFEI: You’re often late, and don’t do your homework.
CHENG CHENG: What else do you want to say?
XU XIAOFEI: That’s it!
CHENG CHENG: Now it’s my turn. You lack confidence. You cried during the talent show. How can you control the class when you’re so delicate? Speak!
XU XIAOFEI: I didn’t cry when I was supervising the class. I don’t cry that much anymore, since third grade.
CHENG CHENG: Another one, you eat too slowly.
XU XIAOFEI: Eating slowly is a personal habit.
CHENG CHENG: As Class Monitor, one sets an example, if you eat fast, other will follow. If you eat too slow who’ll be in charge?
XU XIAOFEI: I didn’t get that.
CHENG CHENG: And you’re too picky! Quiet! Speak!
XU XIAOFEI: I’m not picky anymore.
CHENG CHENG: You always gossip and don’t concentrate in class. I was sitting right behind you, I was watching you!
XU XIAOFEI: I only spoke for a moment.
CHENG CHENG: Didn’t you say you were picky “sometimes”?
XU XIAOFEI: Yes Cheng Cheng: It’s wrong to be picky even once. Are you proud of being picky? That’s why you are not qualified.
XU XIAOFEI: I forgot to mention one more. He’s a blabbermouth.
CHENG CHENG: Being talkative is a way of communicating. I will be totally different from Luo Lei I want to be a manager, not a dictator. What’s a manager? A manager will be equal to others, to help teachers manage the class and help others. What’s a dictator? Raise your hand if you’ve been beaten by Luo Lei. I don’t need to say much more what a dictator is.
LUO LEI: I have a question for you. Who are you going to vote for?
CHENG CHENG: Who will I vote for?
LUO LEI: Yes, who will you vote for?
STUDENTS: Vote for yourself!
CHENG CHENG: I’ll vote for myself.
LUO LEI: You are a liar! A Class Monitor should be honest! “Honesty and bravery” is written up there. But you kept telling me that you’d vote for me! Liar! You told me you’d vote for me no matter what.
CHENG CHENG: You always beat people. You’ve been Class Monitor for two years, when we make mistakes, you don’t help us but beat us. We’re all equal, we should love and help each other. How can you beat your friends, like a fascist? This is what a dictator does…Quiet! This is a dictator, not a Class Monitor.
LUO LEI: Even parents beat their kids, do you think for no reason? Because they did something wrong. If my method is wrong, I’ll change it.
CHENG CHENG: But you’re only a kid, not an adult.
LUO LEI: How many times do I have to tell you that I can change?
CHENG CHENG: Sure, you could change, but have you?
LUO LEI: Didn’t I change?
STUDENT #1: Yes
GROUP OF STUDENTS: No, you didn’t!
CHENG CHENG: You always pull people’s clothes, and leave them hanging like this.
LUO LEI: Can’t they pull them up?
CHENG CHENG: They’re scared.
LUO LEI: Of what?
CHENG CHENG: You!
LUO LEI: They’re so scared of me, they can’t pull up their clothes?
CHENG CHENG: You’ve been a monitor for two years, everyone is scared.
LUO LEI: They’re scared because I am strict. They only listen when I am strict.
CHENG CHENG: What kind of method is that? That of a dictator!
LUO LEI: A dictator?
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