Mary Ehrenworth’s (@MaryEhrenworth) Closing Workshop on Day 4 of June 2014 Writing Institute was named, “Role of Debate in Your School and Across the Curriculum” in the Trail Guide and it totally lived up to its name! From the opening, Mary encouraged participants to stagger the study of debate across the curriculum so that students would have enough opportunities for repeated oral practice to be successful later in writing.
What is the Progression of a Debate?
What should this look like?
- Argue to prove a point
- Argue to come to a richer, more nuanced understanding
- Arguing to increase coalition and advocacy on ethical issues
What are Some Different Kinds of Debate Topics?
- Social topics
- Literary argument
- Science disputes – implications not just following a procedure
- Social Studies critical moments
- Current events
Application: Which of these are you currently using? Which ones would you consider adding next?
What is the Role of Debate?
- Strengthen kids’ logic
- Increase transference across the curriculum
- Develop critical thinking
- Broaden perspectives
- Support opinion and argument writing
- Introduce ethical stances (Should we take care of our water? Choices in Life?)
Application: Of all of these, which will you take back to your colleagues?
What Debate Tips Will Help You?
Introduce protocol and use it often
- State a clear claim
- Support with evidence
- Consider counterclaim
- Acknowledge points of counterclaim
- Rebut with conditions, nuance or shift in thinking
“Flash debate” for short chunks of time
Coach into kids logic and language – in talk before in writing (less to fix)
Be alert for authentic issues/topics/arguments