Active Learning In Virtual Environment/Debate

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Activity: #in-class/short-term, #offline/long-term, #group-work, #discussion, #critical-thinking, #quick-preparation

Outline[edit | edit source]

Debates allow students to become more proficient in speaking, researching, reading, and writing skills, and they promote reasoning as well as communication skills. This method allows collaborative learning, delegation of tasks, and developing leadership and team-skills.[1] Teachers can use debates in almost any discipline, include students of all reading levels, and, when properly orchestrated, help students comprehend important and complex issues. Debate focuses specifically on resolutions or topics that communities are undecided on but see as critical, and students are required to speak for both sides. Through this process, students become much more deeply engaged in understanding their own ideas and the ideas of others around them through examples, routinely questioning the relationships between society, place, and individuals as related to complex topics.[2]

Debate Illustration

Activity arrangement[edit | edit source]

  • Divide the students into teams of three for example.
  • Present the debate topics to the students and give them time to do research on their debate topic. As students investigate their debate topics and then listen to the debates of others, they add knowledge to the foundation of classroom lessons.[3]
  • On the day of the debate, each group chooses a moderator from the audience. Moderators assume responsibility for maintaining the rules of the debate, including: honoring time limits, staying on the subject, showing respect for speakers, and maintaining decorum.
  • Each debate begins with opening statements by both teams of a group. The moderator then asks clarifying questions and allows time for each team to respond.
  • Five minutes before time runs out, each team summarizes their position.
  • Provide feedback on the debate both positive and negative and then announce the winner of the debate.

Pointers[edit | edit source]

  • Is specifically designed to teach skills related to strong critical thinking and to support students in rendering informed judgments.
  • Focuses specifically on resolutions or topics that communities are undecided on but see as critical, and students are required to speak for both sides.
  • Teaches the skills necessary to continue to learn effectively beyond formal school including the ability to pose complex questions for inquiry, research skills, effective listening and note taking, critical thinking, and the conceptualizing of diverse ideas around complex themes.

How to use this method in online class?[edit | edit source]

Inform the class via Zoom that there is going to be a debate. Divide the class into groups and give each group time for example to the next class to do research. On the day of the debate instruct the students to listen to the opponent but also give their own opinion. In Zoom this can be a little challenging but once the students are given instructions to talk on their turn and respect the opponent it should work. Also you can add that cutting the opponent of too much gives minus points to make sure that the debates are equal.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. M. Conzález, et al., ‘The Debate as a Successful Learning tool’, 2010, received from
  2. Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association, ‘Debate as a Tool for Learning’, n.d., received from
  3. Michael D. Evans, ‘Using Classroom Debates as a Learning Tool’, n.d., received from