Advent Calendar Day 8: Get Students Debating

In a series: ADEPT Teaching and Learning Advent Calendar 2016
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In Day 8 of the ADEPT Teaching and Learning Advent Calendar, Sophie Cooper talks about starting debates in class.

This is the Day 8 post of ADEPT’s Teaching and Learning Advent Calendar, sent as an email on December 8th 2016.

This image depicts two brown goats fighting - they each have their horns pressed against the other's.

Get Students Debating

Sophie Cooper writes that ‘Debates work well in my American History seminars’. Getting students to debate an issue is a great way to get them engaged with a topic and working with one another. You can ask groups to prepare arguments for or against a proposition in advance, or take a less formal approach and ask them to come up with contributions on the spot.

Glen Jankowski also suggests arranging your seminar into a debate and has written a blogpost about implementing this here.

Although open-ended questions are great, sometimes ‘What do you think’ can feel a bit broad and daunting when students are facing a new topic and don’t quite know the terrain. A debate gives them a slightly more structured way to contribute and to test their ideas.

Photo by Peter Dargatz, via Pixabay.