I have one fussy high-level class this month who take a lot of work. One lesson that I spent hours designing and creating was reduced to a long po-faced silence in no time. So, working on the concept that I had to come up with a topic for the next class that even they couldn't not have opinions about, I racked my brain for contentious issues. What follows are some of the ones that worked really well (;p), grouped into vague categories for you to peruse.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King Jr.
"사람들에 대한 궁극적인 판단방법은 그들이 편안하고 안락한 순간에 취하는 태도가 아니고 도전과 논쟁의 시기에 취하는 자세에 있다." - 마틴 루터 킹
The goal is to provoke learners (and yourself) think, to present a compelling topic for them to express their views on. It can also be used to practise discussion skills, and potentially debating skills too.
"God is dead." - Friedrich Nietzsche
"Imagination is greater than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
"Eighty percent of success is just showing up." - Woody Allen
"Laughter is the best medicine." - saying
"Innovators are inevitably controversial." - Eva Le Gallienne
“There is nothing wrong with our faces or bodies that social change can’t cure.” - Naomi Wolf
Hitler was the greatest criminal ever.
Beauty is nothing more than a matter of taste.
A woman's place is in the home.
"Fan death" is nothing more than a Korean urban legend.
The Korean education system is a robot assembly line.
The lack of sleep that Korean high school students put themselves through is damaging.
A related activity is to play them Savage Garden's catchy song "Affirmation" (lyrics below) and ask, To what extent do you agree?
I believe the sun should never set upon an argument.
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands.
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you.
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do.
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem.
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone.
I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned.
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned.
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side.
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye.
I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality.
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy.
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul.
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold.
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair;
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires.
I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness.
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed.
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists.
I believe in love surviving death into eternity.