Why Teachers Should Add Debate to Their Curriculum

Mr. Jake Miller teaches 7th grade American history teacher near Harrisburg, PA.

When bringing debate to the classroom, make sure that you teach students the following:

  1. Disagree with ideas and not people. Decorum is a crucial component of debate. Far too many TV talking heads needs this lesson.
  2. Have students state the positives of their argument first.
  3. Then have students attack one position at a time. It’ll be easier for them to track and helps keep the “defensive” group in defensive mode.
  4. When they’ve exhausted their thoughts on that topic, punt and change sides. Put someone else on the defensive.
  5. At the end, have students re-state a positive. End on a good note. Have them shake hands.

Debate is something that can be implemented in any class. While it certainly speaks well to the liberal arts (think English / Language Arts, painting class, social studies), it’s very much applicable to STEM.

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