I am a high school student, and I have some problems regarding what topics to choose for my English oral. I don't have any ideas. I wanted to have topics like bipolar disorders, multiple...

I am a high school student, and I have some problems regarding what topics to choose for my English oral. I don't have any ideas. I wanted to have topics like bipolar disorders, multiple personality disorders, and so on, but the other groups already had those topics. Please give me some ideas. 

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It would seem that the topics that are mentioned apply more to Social Science than they do to an English class, unless they are discussed with respect to some work of literature written about them. So, if these topics are being discussed separately from any connection to English, can you not tackle one of them with respect to literary works written about them?

Here are some ideas:

For a long time, authors of novels have effected social change. Even a simple book and touching novel of love of animals brought about change as the bearing rein was outlawed after Anne Sewell exposed the cruel practice imposed on carriage horses. Certainly, the famous Charles Dickens was a great influence in social forms which took place during the Victorian Age. For example, in his novel Oliver Twist, Dickens targets the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 which reinforced importance of the workhouse as a means of relief for those in poverty, demonstrating with his narrative the ineffectiveness of this law.

Another famous author who effected social change is Upton Sinclair who wrote about the horrible conditions and exploitation of immigrants who worked in the Chicago stockyards. Also, readers became concerned about his exposure of the unsanitary conditions of the meatpacking business at that time. His novel is entitled The Jungle.

So, here is one proposed topic: The author as social reformer. 

Another topic is in education, Daniel Keyes's novel Flowers for Algernon examines the question of being able to increase someone's intelligence. His ideas came from his teaching experience in 1957. He had an English class of students with special needs in which one student asked him if it were possible to move to a regular class if he worked hard enough and then became smart. In addition, Keyes was moved after witnessing dramatic progression in a learning-disabled student who greatly improved when he was put in a regular class, but when he was removed, the student regressed and even lost his newly-acquired skill of reading. (The movie Charley was based upon Keyes's novel.)

Another topic: Mainstreaming special needs students. (Does it work? Does it mitigate progress for others?)

There is an old saying in English: "The pen is mightier than the sword." This saying is proven true with the above-mentioned novels and many other literary works.

Sources:
elfr47's profile pic

elfr47 | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I am a Reading Specialist and teacher.  This is my professional opinion.  This is a High School English oral not a thesis for a psychiatric degree.  Who are the people who will assess you?  I would read a literary classic like Romeo and Julliet by Shakespeare, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald, or The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger.  Give an interpretation/summer of it's mean (not just the literary meaning of the words but the use of simile, metaphor etc.)  in both in English and your language.  This would show true synthesis of not only the English language but your own.  This would also be good experience for you and would be a lot more enjoyable than someone who is talking about bipolar disorder.  Do you have to have your topic approved because I am surprised that any teacher would allow a student to give a presentation about a mental disorder.  Good luck!  I am sure you will do fine.

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