The teaching-Chinese-as-a-second-language majors (my delightful freshmen) debated today. It was hard to get the old "dogs or cats?" debate going because, for 99 percent of my students, it's hands-down for the dogs.
Should high school students be required to wear uniforms? There were ideas about school unity, about focusing on studying, about cutting down distance between rich and poor students, and about how a uniform makes it easier for teachers to look out for student safety. But no one can stand the baggy sports-suit that passes as a school uniform in every high school and college in Sichuan. What about the Japanese-style school uniforms? Fashionable, but the skirts are a little too short. If it's not modesty that stops you, it's fear of "cold-knee" disease.
Should smoking be allowed in public places? The side that I assigned to support the statement gave great groans of protest, obviously feeling it was the harder argument (even though smoking is still allowed in most public places here?). Justine argued that limiting smoking in public areas would just make people smoke more in their homes. "Hurt your family or hurt strangers?" she asked, and we all laughed hard.