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A GCSE English Language / Literature Assignment

by a Concerned Adult Student

Last year [2007] the teacher asked us to play a game in one of the GCSE lessons. We had to imagine that we were all in a hot air balloon that was going to crash land in a desert island. The balloon was too heavy and the only chance to survive was to throw one person overboard to a certain death.

Before the game started, as far as I remember, every pupil in the class had to pick up and open a piece of paper that was folded up to find our what was going to be our job/profession in the game.

Then everyone had to introduce themselves using their real name and the profession from the folded paper.

They also had to argue a case to explain why they should be allowed to live. They also had to explain what skill they had and what contribution they could make for the survival of the whole group after landing on the desert island. Pupils were allowed to volunteer to be thrown overboard. It would have been considered a heroic decision. The idea was that someone had to be thrown overboard for the group to survive so if you did not want anyone else to die you should volunteer to throw yourself overboard. Saying that no one was going to be thrown was considered selfish and irresponsible because you did not make the decisions that had to be made to allow the others to live. They considered it to be irresponsible and evil to let everyone die because you did not want to make a decision of throwing just one person that could be yourself.

After everyone introduced themselves and they debated a case for the right to live. The people had to vote and decide who was be thrown overboard. The person with the highest votes would be thrown.

I do not remember all the details of the game because it happened over a year ago. I did not like the game at the time. In fact I hated it. Also I did not consider that the game was important enough for me to make an effort to remember any detail.

However, I strongly believe that I do not have the right to make life and death decisions with my life or other people's lives and I do not enjoy playing about making such decisions either. I believe that only God has the right to make this type of decisions.

The game however did not help me to improve my English although some people may argue that it helped to develop debating skill and the skill needed to argue for anything successfully.

February 2008