Do You Debate?

Do You Debate?

I believe that critical thinking, analysis, and the ability to pull ideas together are essential to learning. However it has been my experience that in the current context of content based testing, time for complex analytical discussions, examination of multiple perspectives and allowing time for students to draw their own conclusions has been limited.

I was wondering if its absence in the classroom had been replaced with time outside the classroom.  In my high school and college days debate clubs and teams were very common.  In fact debate was also part of my language arts and history classes in high school.  I do not know of too many debate clubs or teams in my area so I asked my network if they have debate teams.
10 said no, 4 yes and two were not applicable.

Some had alternatives though I do not know if they truly are equivalent:
Mock trial, Mock/Model UN, Robotics, Improve and Eteam (economics @elementary level). One respondent taught at a middle school and thought that might be too young. I do no think that is too young. As a former middle school teacher it was debate and discussion that made my students come alive.  Middle school students love to talk.

How do you incorporate true critical thinking and the analysis of ideas in the classroom?

2 thoughts on “Do You Debate?

  1. juxtaposition: put two things side by side generates higher-level questioning, i.e. put two poems in front of the students and ask them to vote on which one is “better” and be able to explain why. With didactic discussion, students begin digging beneath superficial layers of questioning and thinking as they challenge each other to determine which is best.

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