Life and Death [Part 2]: Is It A Right Or Not?
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level
To provide Ss with an opportunity for freer speaking practice within the context of humanity's unalienable rights associated with life and making life (i.e. getting pregnant and giving birth).
To provide Ss with an opportunity for gist and comprehension reading of a very dense article on the topic of IVF treatments for older couples.
Procedure (100-119 minutes)
Write on the WB LIMITLESS LONGEVITY. "If your great-great-grandparents (who were born before the 20th century) were still alive today, what questions would you want to ask them?" Write on the WB 120. Elicit from the WC who would like to live to the ripe old age of 120, or longer? "Why or why not? What would be some of the benefits and some of the disadvantages of having such a long life?" Write on the WB ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES and some of the Ss answers. Refer Ss back to the previous lesson's topic, on euthanasia. "What would be some potential problems (on an individual and a societal scale) associated with an ever-increasing (limitless) life expectancy?" [T Note: the older that we live, the more likely we are going to develop incapacitating health problems towards the end of our lives.]
Write on the WB GENERATIONAL CLEANSING. Try to elicit from the WC what this term means. [T Note: a form of euthanasia, on a societal scale, to make sure that the older generations don't negatively impact the future and health of the younger generations.] Divide the WC into groups and inform the groups that they are going to read a short article on this term 'generational cleansing.' "The article is titled 'Dead Wood.' Based on the text, with your partner try to define the term 'generational cleansing.'" Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Elicit from the groups their thoughts on Dr. Baker's theory (that with limitless longevity, society will have to do something unnatural to the older generations to maintain a balance). "With our ever-increasing (limitless) population and our planet's limited space and resources, in this hypothetical future of people living extremely long lives, would we have to pick and choose to end certain people's lives to make room for the next generation? Who would have the responsibility, and the power, to make such decisions?"
Write on the WB MULTI-GENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLDS. Elicit from the WC how common, in Turkey, it is for parents and grandparents to live with their married children. "Is it common in Turkey to have 'multi-generational' household units (reference the WB)?" Write underneath the header CHILDREN, PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS (70 years old), GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (95 years old), and GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (120 years old). "Imagine living in a household where 5 or more generations share the same living space. What advantages and disadvantages might this type of family unit experience?" Write some of the Ss answers on the WB. IF TIME: In the same groups, have the Ss read through some famous quotes (on life and age) and discuss their thoughts on the meaning, and message, of the quotations. Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB.
Write on the WB IN-VITRO FERTILIZATION. Elict from the WC some warmer questions. --"Do you know any couples who are childless? Do you think that these couples are childless because they don't want children or because they can't have children?" --"Do you think there are more childless couples today than there were 20 or 30 years ago? Why (not)?" --"For couples who cannot physically have children, for whatever reason, what options do they have to create a family? What options should they choose to create a family?"
Refer the Ss to the pre-lesson reading task--the article on older moms ('Older Mom Not So Bad'). Elicit from the WC their general response to this article. --"Do you think it is appropriate, and acceptable, for a 59 year-old woman to have a baby? Why (not)? Should this be allowed and legal?" --"What about men? Is it appropriate, and acceptable, for men to become fathers in their 50's and 60's? Why (not)?" --"Should there be limits to the procedure of in-vitro fertilization, and if so, what kind of limits?" --Focus Ss on the pre-lesson reading comprehension questions. "The author talks about the 'suitability' of some mothers. Based on the article, how would the author define and describe a 'suitable' mom and an 'unsuitable' mom? Do you agree?" --Briefly mention the Octo-Mom story (2009) as well. "What about how many children a couple--or a single parent--can have? Should there be limits to that as well?"
Present three different scenarios where IVF treatments can be applied (see below). Elicit from the WC which of the options they think are acceptable for couples who cannot have children. "1) IVF treatment in which the mother's egg is fertilized with the sperm of her husband or partner [write on the WB MOTHER'S EGG AND FATHER'S SPERM]; 2) IVF treatment using the mother's egg and sperm from a sperm bank [write on the WB MOTHER'S EGG AND SPERM BANK]; 3) Paying another woman (i.e. surrogate) to have a baby using your husband's or partner's sperm [write on the WB SURROGATE AND FATHER'S SPERM]." Divide the WC into groups and inform the groups that they are going to read an article that discusses a situation similar to the first IVF scenario (on the WB). "However, things are a little different in this context, compared to the scenario that we just discussed." Instruct the groups to read the article and then discuss the proceeding questions. Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Focus the conversation on Turkey and Turkish law. "How would this situation be dealt with in Turkey? Is Turkish law strictly against what Mrs. Blood wants to do? Is it very difficult, or easy, to do something like this in Turkey?" Inform the WC that there is more to the story on Mrs. Blood and her children. In the same groups, have the Ss quickly read the second half of the story on Diane Blood and her family. Once every group has finished reading, bring the WC together for a response. Are the Ss shocked? Is it acceptable and appropriate that her second child was born using IVF treatment seven years after the death of her husband?
Write on the WB ADOPTION. Refer the WC to their earlier discussion, on limiting (or not limiting) IVF treatments for some women (and couples). "When thinking about and considering adoption, should there be limits on how old a couple--or a single parent--can be? Why (not)?" In groups, have the Ss analyze six different situations and decide, in which situations, should the people be allowed to adopt a child (or children). If there is time, expand the activity further with some questions on inter-cultural and inter-racial adoption. Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB.