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Classroom Debates: Turn Them Into an Effective Teaching Tool

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Concept by: Cristina Salvatori

Description

School debates are a rising star in the interests of teachers, and the reasons for this are numerous and clear: debates increase students’ engagement and sensitivity towards delicate issues, and help them acquire new researching skills. However, although this activity always had space in many school systems around the world, it is fairly new for European schools.

This course provides specific tools for teachers to activate, facilitate, and dig deeper into meaningful discussions that lead to learning.

As a participant, you will acquire all the tools to introduce debates in your teaching practice, both as a “stand-alone” activity meant to enhance soft skills (such as active listening, researching, empathy, public speaking) and as part of your curriculum. You will learn to energize discussions that will improve student engagement, develop critical thinking skills, and deepen understanding and appreciation for diverse views.

The instructor will provide discussion tools and model exercises to enliven classrooms and ensure that all voices are heard, by demonstrating ways for listening and responding to one another with empathy so that all students’ values and needs are respected. Finally, you will become familiar with creating a lesson plan for a debate, as well as evaluation tools, and you will be able to provide your students with all the tips that they need to excel in their debate! After an intense week of practice—where you will plan, analyze, participate and evaluate debates—you will feel confident in implementing debates and take advantage of all the amazing benefits in your classroom.

Learning Outcomes

The course will help the participants to:

  • Stimulate meaningful, constructive, and engaging discussion in the classroom while ensuring that all students are heard.
  • Develop students’ ability to articulate an informed understanding of different topics.
  • Model and facilitate deeper listening skills resulting in improved collaboration, group dynamics, and collective learning. 
  • Cultivate empathy amongst their students while fostering an appreciation for different perspectives.
  • Identify in which area of their practice to introduce debates as a teaching tool.
  • Design interesting lesson plans involving debates.
  • Create evaluation tools for their debate sessions.
  • Implement debates as an outcome for curriculum subjects.

Tentative Schedule

The schedule describes likely activities but may differ slightly based on the requests of the participants, and the trainer delivering the specific session. Course modifications are subject to the trainer’s discretion. If you would like to discuss a specific topic, please indicate it at least 4 weeks in advance.

Day 1 – Course introduction and needs analysis

  • Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities.
  • Icebreaker activities.
  • Analyze the need for debate classes.
  • Presentations of the participants’ schools.

Day 2 – The skills for debates

  • Theories behind debate practice.
  • The concept of active listening.
  • The art of public speaking.

Day 3 – Lesson planning with debates

  • Implement debates in your curriculum.
  • Choose the right topic for your debate.
  • Carry out accurate preparatory research.
  • Create evaluation tools for your debates.

Day 4 – Let’s debate!

  • How to facilitate the emergence of debates.
  • Support debating activities while avoiding taking control of them.

Day 5 – Supporting your students

  • Reflections about debating activities.
  • Create a sustainable debate lesson plan.
  • Create tools to help your students prepare for debate sessions.

Day 6 – Course closure

  • Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

Audience

  • Teachers: primary, secondary, vocational, adult, special needs;
  • Teacher trainers;
  • Careers officers, educational guides and counselors;
  • Headteachers;
  • Principals;
  • Managers of schools.

Specifics

  • Activities: All courses include at least one guided city tour and one full-day excursion (usually on Saturday).
  • Certificate: Certificate of Attendance guaranteed for participants who attend at least 80% of the course.
  • Lessons: Classes take place in the Morning (9:00 – 14:00) or in the Afternoon (14:00 – 19:00).
  • Price: 480 €

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Next courses in Florence

  • 5-10 Apr 2021
  • 3-8 May 2021
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  • 7-12 Feb 2022
  • 7-12 Mar 2022

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  • 29 Nov - 4 Dec 2021

Next courses in Novi Sad

  • 19-24 Apr 2021
  • 17-22 May 2021
  • 21-26 Jun 2021
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  • 26 Apr - 1 May 2021
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Reviews about this course

The course in Florence was a wonderful experience! The two instructors, Marisol and José are passionate and inspirational professionals. Not only did I learn how to make students more willing to talk and how to make them good and attentive listeners, but also how to become a good and attentive listener myself. Very friendly and active atmosphere during the workshop, lovely group and … Florence. I came back home with a head full of new ideas for the classroom and memories of all the wonderful people I met.

Thank you, Marisol and José, and thank you, my group.

Kinga Kasperczyk-Pliszka

We have started our new school term and there is no day I don’t use the ideas or activities from the course with you. Some of them have great success, and I find them very useful…

Once again THANK YOU Marisol and José for such a great experience. You have created very inspirational atmosphere and I am full of unforgettable memories.

I hope and I wish we all will keep in touch.

Jana Jenny Beníková

I would like to thank Marisol and José for an amazing time we had in the classroom in Florence. I am grateful for your enthusiasm, passion and patience. I learnt so much about communication not only as a teacher but also as a person.

Now, I am really happy to use new communicative techniques both with my students and…with my family (sensitive listening – quite hard!).

For me, the course in Florence was a valuable experience full of openness, sincerity, and friendship which I will never forget

Anna Orzyłowska

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