Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Debating the Internment of Japanese Canadians
Explain to students that they will be debating the government's right to intern Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. As a class, review the preferred procedures for preparing and holding a debate, reminding students that they must support their position with details they find on the topic Relocation to Redress: The Internment of Japanese Canadians on the CBC Digital Archives website.
Outline the Opportunity
Present the following resolution: Be it resolved that the Canadian federal government had to intern Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.
Divide the class into teams of four. Two students on each team will argue the affirmative position and two will argue the negative position. Direct students to the website and have them review it in its entirety, including the additional materials. They should take detailed notes and develop their arguments.
Have each group of four engage in formal debate on the topic, with the rest of the students as the audience.
Alternatively, divide the class into two large groups. Each group can research its assigned position, then choose two students to represent it in formal debate.
Revisit and Reflect
As a class, determine which position has won the debate, based on persuasiveness of arguments and supporting details. Students who vote on the winner should be prepared to explain why they chose that position.
After a thorough debriefing of the debate, students can write a position paper either defending or supporting the federal government's position on the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.
Students can research the internment of Japanese Americans during the same time period and compare and contrast the different approaches of the two federal governments.