Topic 3: Classroom debate

WHAT IS IT?

As the name suggests, a classroom debate is an engaging form of students‘ partic ipation, through which students (ideally) engage more purposely with their readings.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Through a debate, students can recognize multiple perspectives on the issue.
  • Students learn to actively listen their peers, which means they need to listen carefully in order to respond meaningfully.
  • Apart from articulating and argumenting, students may master skills, such as listening and reflecting.

Start with a „silly“ proposition / question to warm-up students for a debate.

CHALLENGES

  • It might happen that only some of the more active students take part in the debate.
  • Students who are more skilled at debating can demotivate more reserved colleagues.

Activity 2 : Motivating students for a debate

Play a „polarization game“ with students.

A) Prepare content-related statement that students can respond to on a scale from „completely disagree“ to „completely agree“.

B) Read the statement in the class and present one corner of the „room“ (for example Miro board) as a „completely agree“ area and the corner on the opposite side of the „room“ as a „completely disagree“ area

C) Then ask students to position themselves (with the mouse) anywhere between the two corners, according to their opinion.

D) After all students position themselves, open the space for the debate. The goal of the debate is that each student – through arguments – defends their position and strives to attract others to position themselves closer to them. After or during a round of the debate anyone can adjust their position.

E) After that, the next round of the debate with the same goal takes place.

F) After several rounds, you may close the debate and reflect with the students about the possible changes and adjustments of their position (which reflect their opinion).