English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Things Fall Apart
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    A Debate On Perspectives

    A Debate On Perspectives


    As students have seen to this point, different characters react differently to the coming of the Christian missionaries. In this lesson, students will participate in a discussion in character: their characters will debate whether Christianity has been a good thing for the Igbo people.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Discussion Goals

    • If students are having trouble with this, invite them to look at the Grade 12 Discussion Rubric to help structure their responses.
    • Help your students set goals based on what you and they observed in the previous discussion. Review the Grade 12 Discussion Rubric to help students with goal setting.
    • Goals could be things such as encouraging everyone to speak more, using textual evidence, listening and responding to each other’s arguments rather than focusing on making a predetermined point, improving the tone of the discussion or the focus of outer-circle participants, or anything else you and your students decide based on what happened in Lesson 11.


    Think back to the previous discussion you and your classmates had in Lesson 11 about Umuofian society.

    • What did you do well? What could be improved?

    Open Notebook

    Share your responses with your classmates, and together, set a few goals for this lesson’s discussion.

    Look at the Grade 12 Discussion Rubric to help you frame your goals.

    Discussion Preparation

    • Review the preparation questions with students. Remind them that a different representative of their group will be in the inner circle this time.
    • Circulate as groups work, making sure students are finding textual evidence to back their arguments, and are anticipating possible counterarguments.
      • SWD: Be sure that all students participate in the presentation exercise, and monitor that they do not avoid this activity. ELL: Encourage other students to be patient if the pace of some ELLs is slower than native speakers, and explain that listening attentively is one way in which we show we care for others.
    • You may want to choose the group representatives randomly, or you may want to take volunteers.

    Work Time

    Go over Discussion Preparation 2 with your teacher and ask any questions you have. Then, prepare for the discussion with your character group members. Discussion Preparation 2 contains questions you may analyze in the second class discussion. For each question, write your answer from the point of view of your character . Then decide how you will back up your viewpoint. What evidence (quotations) can you find in the novel to support your character's opinion? Finally, think about possible counterarguments: things others might say to refute your points. How would your character respond to these counterarguments?

    • Complete Discussion Preparation 2 with your character group.
    • After you complete Discussion Preparation 2, list and answer any additional discussion questions that illuminate the role of Christianity in Igbo society in your Notebook.

    Open Notebook

    A different speaker will represent your group this discussion.

    Christianity and the Igbo People

    • Display the discussion questions in the classroom.
    • As before, you will want to rearrange the furniture so that there can be an “inner circle” of students speaking and an “outer circle” of students listening.
    • You may want to leave an empty chair in the inner circle, that students from the outer circle can move to if they have a burning desire to add to the discussion.
    • Alternatively, you may want to allow students to “tap in” for group members, briefly replacing their group member in the inner circle to make a comment or ask a question.
    • You may decide to hold a 3-minute break in order to let students reconvene in groups for a brief strategy session.
    • For this second discussion, your students may be ready for you to step back from your role as active facilitator.
    • It may be a good idea to have a timer visible so that students know how much time they have remaining.
    • After the discussion is over, take a few minutes to debrief with the class. Ask the outer circle students for their observations.

    Work Time

    Send your representative to the inner circle for the discussion! Whether you are speaking or listening, you should pay close attention and take notes in order to be able to analyze the discussion later. Remember that outer circle participants are responsible for active listening, note taking, and evaluation of the discussion. Use Outer Circle Tasks 2 for your notes.

    • Is Christianity a good thing for the Igbo people? Should they adopt it? (You might consider analyzing the questions below first, to help you frame your answer to this one.)
    • Whom, or what, does Christianity seem to value?
    • Whom, or what, does traditional Igbo culture and religion value?
    • What do individuals gain or lose by converting to Christianity?
    • What does the community gain and lose when individuals convert?
    • Which is more dangerous for the Igbo people—converting, or keeping their own culture and religion? Why?

    Discussion Debrief

    • If time allows, hear a few responses.
      • ELL: When completing the Quick Writes, be sure that ELLs have access to a dictionary and that they have some time to discuss with a partner before writing, to help them organize their thoughts. Allow ELLs who share the same primary language to discuss in that language if they so wish.


    Complete a Quick Write.

    • What do you think are the most important positive and negative effects of Christianity for the Igbo people?
    • Do you think your representative fairly portrayed your character’s interests? Explain.

    Open Notebook

    Things Fall Apart

    • Encourage students, as they read, to look for the aspects of colonialism that might have seemed appealing to Umuofians, as well as the problems that came along with it.


    Read Chapters 20 and 21 of Things Fall Apart. Add to Personal Glossary as you read.

    As you read, look for specific things that the British have done to gain power, control, and converts in Umuofia.

    • How many distinct strategies can you find—and which seem to be the most effective?

    Open Notebook