Thursday, May 31, 2012

Conversation Starters & Hypothetical Situations for Adolescents and Teens

Kick Start: Should violent video games be banned for children under a certain age?  If so, what age?  If not, why not?

Kick Start: Is fairness the same as treating everyone equally?  Can a teacher be fair while treating different students differently?

Kick Start: Consider the following situation: Jared is a very good student who gets good grades and does not usually get in trouble.  William has been suspended three times already this semester and has Cs and Ds in most of his classes.  Both Jared and William get caught while vandalizing the boys’ bathroom.  The assistant principal decides to give Jared five days of in-school suspension while William is suspended for 10 days out of school.  What do you think about the difference in these punishments? Is this fair?

Kick Start: Jennifer knows her parents won't let her go to a party if they find out the host's parents are out of town. Should she lie about it?

Kick Start: What do you do when your friend's dad comes to drive you home from the movie theater, and you can tell that he's drunk?

Kick Start: Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Do you agree with this quote?  What do you repeatedly do?  Do you repeatedly do something that you wish that you did not do? 

Kick Start: Do you think television has a negative or a positive influence on people?  How can television be used negatively?  Positively?

Kick Start: Is being polite the same as being respectful?  Explain your answer.

Kick Start: Your best friend Hillary starts dating an older guy that she met through Facebook.  You think it’s a terrible idea and that Hillary is in danger but she wants you to keep out of it.  What would you do?

Kick Start: Can you think of a situation in which it might be right to give someone a special advantage?  Do certain people have advantages that they did not earn?

Kick Start: Discuss the two quotes below.  Do you agree or disagree with each quote?  Are they saying the same thing?  Why or why not?                                                       
"The injury we do and the one we suffer are not weighed in the same scale." – Aesop             
 “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” -- Mahatma Gandhi

Kick Start: Katie cringes every time she hears her friends use words like "retarded" or "gay" in a derogatory manner. Should she voice her objection when it happens, or should she let it pass so people won't think she's weird?

Kick Start: Someone left money sticking out of an ATM machine and there's nobody in sight. Nobody but Ben, that is. If he takes it, does that make him a thief? What should he do?

Kick Start: Erin's chemistry teacher made a huge mistake on Erin's final grade. A mistake that brought her grade UP from a C to an A.   Should Erin point out the mistake to her teacher, or accept her good fortune quietly and gratefully?

Kick Start: Do you think a 15 year old who commits a murder should be tried as an adult?  (This means that they would not be involved in juvenile court and would get treated as an adult criminal.)  What about an 11 year old?

Kick Start: Do you think that people are usually meaner over text message or the internet than in real, face-to-face conversations?  Why?

Kick Start: Who has it harder: boys or girls?  Defend your position.

Kick Start: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why?

Kick Start: What is the difference between respecting someone and treating them with respect?  Are there people who you do not respect but who you treat with respect?

Kick Start: What does it mean to be a hero?  Who is your hero and why?

Kick Start: Imagine yourself in ten years. What will you be doing? Where will you be living?

Kick Start: As a general rule, should we start off trusting people and only stop trusting if they prove that they're not worthy? Or should we be cautious and not trust them until they prove themselves worthy? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each position?

Kick Start: Is life better for little kids, teenagers, young adults, middle-aged adults, or the elderly?  Explain your choice.

Kick Start: “Helping others keeps your own problems in perspective.”  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?

Kick Start: What’s the difference between cheating on a math test and lying about your age to save money on a movie ticket?

Kick Start: Could you be President of the United States? Why or why not? Would you want to? Why or why not?

Kick Start: What do you think about year-round schools?  What would be good about it?  What would be bad?

Kick Start: What advice would you give to one of your younger friends about your current year of school? What are some things that helped you get through this year? What do you wish you had done differently? What things are you glad you did?

Kick Start: What job would you never want to have?  Why not?

Kick Start: If you ever become a parent, what is one thing that your parents currently do that you want to do with your own kids?  What is one thing that you would do differently as a parent?

Kick Start: Mark Twain once said that, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. When I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." What does this quote mean?  Do you believe that teenagers often misjudge what their parents know or don’t know?

Kick Start: Do you act differently around certain people?  Why or why now?

Kick Start: Do you believe honesty is always the best policy? Explain.

Kick Start: Would you be willing to commit perjury (lie in a court while under oath) for a close friend? What if your lie would save his life? Keep in mind: Perjury is a felony.  If you were found guilty, you could go to prison for up to five years.

Kick Start: Ben Franklin once said that “He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else." Do you agree or disagree with this quote?  Why?

Kick Start: If your friends were here right now, would they say you were trustworthy? What would your parents say? Are you more trustworthy with your friends or with your parents? Do you think your parents should trust you automatically? Why or why not?

Kick Start: Grade your school on an A-F scale.  Explain one thing about your school that you would like to change and why.

Kick Start: Would you give money to a stranger on the sidewalk who asked for spare change? Why or why not? Would it make a difference if the person were a) a mother with a young child, b) disabled, c) wearing expensive-looking clothes?

Kick Start: How many lies do you get to tell before you are a liar?  Are there good lies?

Kick Start: What do your siblings do that gets on your nerves?  What do you do that gets on their nerves?        

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