Using Debating and Listening Circles - Palm Beach State College
Using Debating and Listening Circles Megan Tomei-Jameson Associate professor, Speech Communication Goals Promote critical thinking Teach students that arguing is not about winning and losing Debate should be used to promote a civil dialogue in which everyone learns something It is important to actively listen in order to be able to learn from your opponent
Inspiration: Socratic Circles Inner and outer circles that ask students in interior circle to listen to thoughts of outer circle Outer circle can question statements of others in the outer circle and the instructor should lead the discussion through the use of the Socratic Method Step One Get students away from the idea of verbal combat
Get students to understand what constitutes a solid argument Help students understand active listening TED Talk Argumentation https:// www.ted.com/talks/daniel_h_cohen_for_argument_s_sake?l anguage=en Creating an Argument The challenge for most students is backing up their arguments
In order to get students into the habit of referencing evidence I make sure students use Toulmins Model of Argument Toulmins Model of Argument Claim the conclusion or position you are advocating Data Warrant
the evidence you use to support the claim your explanation of how the data support and prove the claim Would You Rather . . . ? You and your partner will be given two different worst case
scenarios Each of you will pick a side and then come up with a short impromptu speech that convinces the audience that your option is better Make sure to create two arguments using Toulmins Model of Argument: 1. Claim 2. Data 3. Warrant Have your childs guidance counselor be Paula Abdul OR Simon Cowell? Paula Abdul
Simon Cowell Claim: She is nice and cares for others Claim: He is tough and tells it like it is Data: She was always kind to contestants on American idol Data: On A.I. he always gave sound and honest advice
Warrant: Guidance counselors needs to gain trust of students and help them, so her attributes will make her a better fit. Warrant: A guidance counselor needs to prepare students for the real world, and Simons honest approach will help students. Toulmins Model Junk food negatively affect the brain's
Argument: Junk food should not be sold in school vending machines Claim: Junk food causes students to perform poorly in class. Data: Studies show that eating sugary foods cause children to be less able to focus in class. synapses, according to Fernando Gmez, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science. He states that brain connections and several molecules related to
learning and memory are adversely affected by unhealthy diets. A study done by him also showed that children who eat more chips, pizza and junk in general have a lower IQ when tested five years later. Warrant: This is a dangerous cycle, it not only sets off a dependency on snacks but a non-availability of them causes low energy levels, lack of concentration and lethargy. All Active Listening Thirteen aspects of active listening; only focusing on two in this activity
Restating To show you are listening, repeat every so often what you think the person said not by parroting, but by paraphrasing what you heard in your own words. For example, Lets see if Im clear about this. . . Summarizing Bring together the facts and pieces of the problem to check understanding for example, So it sounds to me as if . . . Or, Is that it? Set Up Divide the room into four groups: two pro groups and two con groups
Each pair (pro and con) receives a different topic and both are given research that they must review and are instructed to reference during the debate Before the debate begins give a short lecture or show clip that gives foundational knowledge on each of the topics Pro Con
Example Divide students into four groups Two pro and two con The groups that are on the same side do not work together Recently I have given each of the pairs separate topics so there isnt overlap in their arguments Give evidence Pass out articles to both groups that
offer evidence from both points of views on Affirmative Action Worksheets Pass out worksheets that ask students to document their arguments in Toulmins Pass out worksheets that ask students to actively listen to both pro and con Example Day of Class before debate:
Day before debates: Mention topic: Affirmative Action in the Have students watch TED Talk outside of class Previous class: lesson focused on Toulmins college admissions process Ask students about Affirmative Action in order to access knowledge on topic
Review basic definition Show news video on recent supreme court case Ask students which side they support Worksheets The Debate Members of the pro will give reasons for their side of the case Then members of the con side will do the same
Both sides are given five minutes to come up with a cross examination question Each side gets an opportunity to ask and respond The Listening Circles Before debate started the students in the listening circles were instructed to take detailed notes about each sides arguments After debate, the circles need to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each side
Dissuade them from saying who won or loss and instead encourage students to analyze the merits of each argument Pro Con After the Debate Ask listening groups to summarize arguments of both sides They may ask probing questions only to clarify their
understanding of the arguments Then ask for best and worst argument of each side Ideas for Other Courses American History: Debate important events Should we have dropped Hiroshima? Should we have left England? Psychology: Debate which theories best explain certain aspects of human behavior Does Freud or Erikson usage of psychoanalytical better explain the developmental stages of children?
Ideas for Other Courses Political Science: Positions of candidates/Solutions to current problems Who offers the most effective solution to income inequality? Is the electoral college an effective system? Literature: Analyze plots and specific characters To what extent are Romeo and Juliet victims of fate or their own poor decisions? Who is responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
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