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Classroom assignment on the social impact of tourism.

The group of participants should be divided into groups of 2, 4, 6 or 8 participants and one group of 1, 2, 3 or 4 participants that will take the role of observer. The larger groups should be made up of an even number of participants so they can later be divided into two groups of opposites in the debate. Finally, the instructor (or a participant) will take the position of chairperson in the debate. He or she should structure the debate and take the elapsed time into account.


1. Each group is designated with an observer and one of the following statements:

​“Tour operators should show responsibility towards the Mursi people by not offering visits to the Mursi community any longer or by changing the promotional outings in their brochures and promotional activities regarding the visits.”

“Mursi people should not be paid for being photographed, so that they eventually will start searching for alternative and more traditional ways of making a living.”

“In order to achieve encounters that are more effective and relaxed for all stakeholders involved, tour operators should limit the number of tourists per year by stricter rules or by raising prices for the excursion.”

“Contact between tourists and the Mursi people is a great chance for the Mursi to develop and be part of the globalized world.”

“Social sustainability in tourism does not exist at all.”


2. The group divides itself into two teams of debaters, one team that agrees upon the statement (affirmative) and one team that opposes the statement (negative). For this assignment it is not important if the participants personally truly agree or oppose of the statement, the point of the exercise is to practice one's argumentation skills and explore how ideas and arguments can be formed in debates.

3. Each group gets 10 minutes to write down their ideas about the statements, why they agree or oppose to it. Participants can also use part of this time to read into information that could provide evidence for their arguments, apart from ideas that the participants have already formed for themselves on the topic.

4. After writing down their ideas and arguments on the statement, participants should agree upon which point of argument each participant will take on during the debate.

5. It is the role of the chairperson to open the debate, and explain some of the basic rules (reader) that guide this debate, and within which timeframe the debate will take place. The debate should take no longer than 10-15 minutes. The chairperson concludes by presenting the statement and gives the word to the team that agrees with the statement.

6. At the start of the debate, each team will first present points in favour or opposed to their statement.

7. Following, the participants are allowed to criticize the arguments presented by the other team. During the debate both teams should explain the evidence that supports their arguments.

8. In the 10-15 minutes both teams should be able to convince the observer with their arguments.

9. At the end of the debate, the chairperson gives the word to the observer who gives feedback on the debate. The observer explains which team was most convincing during the debate and why. What helped and what hindered the observer to get convinced by a team. And finally, what could be improved.

The feedback that the observer gives should be focused on the argumentation skills that the participants demonstrate, the feedback should not address personal traits or characteristics of the participants.

The feedback should have a positive affect on the participants. Rather than criticizing aspects of the debate that went 'wrong', the emphasis should be on evaluating in such a way that the feedback is either positive or constructive and helps the participant improving skills.

The instructor follows up the debate with a brief discussion on the outcome of the debate.

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