Friday, 2 June 2017

Debates in the classroom to help students handle the 4Cs


In addition to providing meaningful listening, speaking and writing practice, debate is also highly effective for developing argumentation skills for persuasive speech and writing. Debating is, indeed, an essential thinking skill that our students have to practise in order  not to be afraid to express their opinions when they are not the same as others’ . Equally important is the ability they will acquire to respect others’ opinions.

I would like to share a  lesson plan  that any teacher can use either for English language or for any subject which is implemented through English.  It includes some guidelines for the chairperson, the timekeeper and the audience. You will also find a very simple assessment tool so that the students who act as the audience can take an active part throughout the debating process. I reckon this peer assessment tool would be an effective way to engage students and foster their critical thinking skills  by asking them to assess their peers. 


Apart from the lesson plan above, teachers will also need   a tool to assess their students debating skills. 
(With permission from:    http://course1.winona.edu/shatfield/air/classdebate.pdf)

I believe that the 4 Cs which have become a must in our English classrooms can be developed in a natural way by setting  up debates in our lessons throughout the academic year. We can also use debates  as a tool to review argumentative language  and specific vocabulary before the exam period we  are immersed in right now.

Finally, I would like to recommend  debatingmatters.com, a website which will help you to develop debates with your students on a huge range of topics. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, Sport). Just brow subjects by A-Z here.

I hope that  this article provides those of you who are interested in debate with enough to get started. Then, you will need to adapt the resources to suit your educational  context  needs . The best argument to defend debates is to keep in mind that they bring creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking together. Therefore, let’s debate in our classrooms and  help students to become well-practiced critical thinkers.