Teaching and Learning through Debate

Debate is a teaching and learning tool that allows teachers to work with their students’ social and curricular issues in an engaging and rigorous way. The practice of debate requires teachers to focus their attention on helping their students to gradually build up their skills.

Instead of telling students what to do to debate, the debate as a new approach to learning sessions, that took place during 1st interim Transnational Meeting in the Miralmonte school from the 2nd to the 4th of November 2021, focused on helping students to learn by doing. Facilitators worked with their students to understand and analyze the context of the suggested topics by helping them articulate the big picture of a resolution, build, analyze, and unpack the nuances of each argument, and develop their ability to explain, synthesize, prioritize, and extend the most important arguments. The 4 stages that students followed during the 3 days’ workshop were:

Chart with different stages (Stage 1: organisation, prioritisation, Stage2: reasoning, evidence,Stage 3: expression, delivery,Stage 4: listening, response)

During stage 1 debaters become aware of the importance of quick thinking and clear articulation of ideas. The organization and prioritization skill helped students to develop their ability to convey their ideas clearly and effectively. During stage 2 debaters worked the argumentation skills. Students worked their ability to explain and justify their position when they had to do so during the activities. During stage 3 students work to convey their thoughts with the audience in mind. Given the opportunities that debate provided to students to engage with the ideas of others, during stage 4 students became aware of the existence and efficacy of this engagement.

The journey followed by the students during the workshop in 1st interim Transnational Meeting proved the contribution of debate to develop students´ argumentation skills. The debate activities used during the workshop were effective in involving students in argumentative activities that connected speaking, talking, and writing.

Javier Pagan, English teacher at Colegio Miralmonte