Organize a Call-in Radio Show

Show Topic for the Day
Banning Books: Should school administrators have the authority to remove books from public school libraries?

The Four Groups
Divide students into four groups to create their own call-in radio show. Within each group, students will have different tasks.

Group One: Radio Hosts/Producers
This group will include co-hosts, producers and a screener. The radio show is an unbiased public-interest program. It has engaging co-hosts who will need to ensure all sides are presented to their listeners, often through provocative questions. The producers and hosts need to write an informative and catchy introduction to the show and prepare questions for the co-hosts to ask those representing each point of view. The screener will select the order in which both speakers and "callers" get to ask their questions on air. Producers will arrange the classroom for the show. This group will want to write a commercial or two to help pay for the show.

Group Two: Advocates for Removing Books
This group of three or four people may represent these or other roles: legislator, county/jurisdiction treasurer, member of clergy, parent. They will advocate that school administrators (school boards, superintendents, principals) should have the authority to remove books from public school libraries and must create persuasive arguments as to why students' education benefits from close control of library content. They must understand their opponents' arguments in order to counter them. During "broadcast," advocates who wish to respond to the current speaker let producers know their points of view, and producers advise the screener.

Group Three: Opponents To Removing Books
This group of three of four may play these or other roles: American Civil Liberties Union attorney or constitutional law expert, school librarian, English teacher, parent. Those who oppose giving school administrators (school boards, superintendents, principals) the authority to remove books from public school libraries must create persuasive arguments as to why the proposal conflicts with the freedom of speech guaranteed in the First Amendment and with students' right to learn. They must understand their opponents' arguments in order to counter them. During "broadcast," opponents who wish to respond to the current speaker let producers know their points of view, and producers advise the screener.

Group Four: Listeners
This group may represent these or other roles: book publisher, student, parent, taxpayer with no children in the school system, clergy, author. The listeners must be able to ask questions that address both sides of the debate effectively, as well as bring their own views to the show. During "broadcast," listeners who wish to address the current speaker's message raise their hands to let producers know their point of view. Producers advise the screener.

The procedure
Students in all groups research their positions. The hosts/producers and the listeners must generate a variety of intelligent questions. The advocates and opponents must be able to express their positions briefly, with clarity and persuasive supporting details, and should have an understanding of the issues of school control and educational mission, selection and purchasing procedure for library acquisitions, student rights and First Amendment principles.

The co-hosts introduce the program and the panel of experts (advocates and opponents). One advocate and one opponent should be selected to start the discussion by presenting the key issues from the perspective of both sides. The co-hosts ask questions of various panelists, then invite callers to participate. The screener for the show will call on advocates, opponents and listeners. If the debate is not balanced or a follow-up is needed, the co-hosts should ask another question.

At the end of the program, the co-hosts summarize what they have heard.

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