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Debatepedia:Lesson plan

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Title of the lesson Debate

Instructional objectives

  • Students will be able to formulate reasons in support of and in opposition to views and opinions on a number of issues.
  • Students will be able to use appropriate vocabulary in number of specialised contexts.
  • Students will be able to interact with each other in a structured and systematic manner.
  • Students will be able to defend their position on certain issues, support and/or critique in a polite and constructive manner the opinions and views expressed by others.
  • Students will be able to record oral information.
  • Students will be able to think critically and build their responses under time pressure.

 Students will be able to appropriately structure their oral presentations to fit the assigned time limits.  Students will be able to take notes and use the notes in their presentations as well as when offering feedback.  Students will be able to communicate in teams and assist each other in order to achieve common goals.  Students will be able to use various specialised vocabulary appropriately.  Students will be able to understand information from the text, select relevant information from the text and apply it in oral presentations.  Students will be able to ask and answer appropriate questions.  Students will be able to actively connect new information to information previously learned.  Students will be able to analyse, synthesize, and infer from information.  Students will be able to use the appropriate degree of formality with different audiences and settings.  Students will be able to practice variations for language in different social and academic settings.  Students will be able to recognize and use standard English  Students will be able to observe, model, and critique how others speak.


Description of Lesson This lesson involves students in a structured debate on a chosen topic in which students are divided into 2 teams: affirmative and negative team. The affirmative team supports a given topic while the negative team opposes the topic. Both teams must present reasons for their positions as well as respond to reasons presented by the other team. Students are encouraged to prepare prior to a debate by brainstorming different arguments, conducting research and preparing their presentations. Since the sides in a debate are determined by a draw, students may have to present and defend views which are not necessarily their own. A debate is usually limited to a small group of students directly participating in it (depending on the format: from as few as 2 to 8) but other students in a class should act as audience who can have an active part in the exercise as well: from judging a debate and providing feedback to debaters or asking questions and making their own presentations at appropriate times during the debate. During a debate the teacher should be a facilitator when necessary (e.g. prompt beginner students on their roles and order of speeches) as well as assess students’ performance and offer feedback. Debate can be used in conjunction with other deliberative methodologies (e.g. Open Forum –page….) and it can be spread out over a few lessons with one lesson being dedicated to the actual debate.


Time Allotted for Lesson 45- 60 minutes

Materials, tools and resources  A copy of debate formats and roles and responsibilities of speakers.  A short article (s) on the topic of debate (optional)  An entry from Debatabase , listing arguments for and against a given issue (see http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/index.php ) (optional)  A televised debate on tape (e.g. from the House of Commons, or US Presidential debate, etc.) (optional)

Teacher preparation

1. Choose an appropriate topic for a debate- make sure that the topic will allow students on both sides to present reasonable arguments (see the Appendix Section at the end of this book). 2. Print out a copy of the formats and roles and responsibilities of speakers. 3. Print out preliminary research materials (optional)


Class layout and grouping of students For the purpose of a debate set the classroom as an auditorium with two desks and sets of chairs for debaters facing the audience (see the lay-out at the end of the Lesson Plan). Procedures Before the debate 1. Explain to the students that they will participate in a debate on a selected topic. Some students will be debaters while others will be the audience. You can also introduce a role of the Chairperson or Moderator of debate (optional). Emphasise that at one point during the course, each student will have an opportunity to participate in a debate as a debater. 2. Provide a brief introduction to debate, explaining its history and tradition and making appropriate references to British and American Culture and politics. You may be able to show your students some excerpts from political debates in English on a VCR or DVD player. Using the following questions hold a Socratic discussion with the students on the value of debate for a democratic society. Discussion questions:  Where are you most likely to see debates?  Why are debates held before making important decisions?  What do you think of the debates you have seen so far: what did you like and what did you dislike? 3. Provide students with a debate format that you intend to use during the planned lesson and explain the roles of speakers. You may either do a presentation or hand out copies of formats and speakers’ roles and address potential questions that the students may have. 4. Select two teams that will participate in a debate and assign sides to the teams (affirmative or negative) Ask the selected students to brainstorm different ideas on the topic, research evidence and support for their arguments. If available distribute a copy of a short article on a given topic to all the students. Provide enough time for the students to read the article and come up with a list of ideas (usually between 2 days and a week) in support of and against the debate topic. Encourage the students to research a given issue using a variety of sources in English: reference library, internet, etc. and to make notes and bring the results of their research to the debate in the form of notes. Encourage students to prepare as teams and support each other in their preparation for debate. During the lesson 1. Unless you have selected a student to serve as a moderator of the debate, welcome everybody to the debate and introduce the topic and the teams. 2. Conduct a brief survey before the debate: ask the students in the audience to declare what their position on the debate topic is. You can use a simple show of hands as a method to determine which students agree with the topic statement, which students disagree and which students are undecided. Tell the students that after the debate you will conduct a similar short survey to determine if the students’ views have changed. 3. Commence the debate by inviting the moderator to take the floor and begin the debate or, in the absence of the moderator, ask the first speaker of the affirmative team to deliver the first speech. 4. Monitor the progress of the debate and take notes for the debriefing and feedback. 5. If you are employing a debate format that allows for direct audience participation, allow time for students from the audience to ask questions or to make their points. 6. Conclude the debate by thanking the speakers, congratulating them on their performance and thank the audience for their attention and contribution. Recognize the moderator if applicable. 7. In the debriefing phase following the debate, ask the students for the show of hands regarding their view on the topic. Determine whose students’s views changed. Using the following questions, hold a Socratic discussion on the outcomes of debate:

Discussion Questions

 Which arguments influenced your change of opinion?  What other arguments could be made in support of/against the topic?  Which side in the debate was more persuasive? Why?  Did any of the debaters presented arguments with which they did not agree? (a question to debaters)  What is the value of looking at both sides of an issue? Assessment By observing interactions and students’ responses to each other during the debate, you will be able to assess how well students can think on their feet and how quickly they can formulate their thoughts in English. You will also be able to assess how well students have researched a given issue and how well they have mastered relevant vocabulary.

Extension When your students have gained more experience with debates, you can ask the students in the audience to judge a debate. That means they will need to evaluate the debaters’ performance and arguments presented during the debate and determine which side (affirmative or negative) have won the debate. You can also assign a written task for all the students: to write a speech for the first speaker of the affirmative or negative team.

















DEBATE FORMATS


Three-on-three debate There are two teams in this debate and each team is composed of three speakers.


1st Affirmative Speaker’s (A1) Constructive speech 5 minutes

1st Negative Speaker‘s (N1) Constructive speech 5 minutes

2nd Affirmative Speaker’s (A2) rebuttal speech 4 minutes

2nd Negative Speaker’s (N2) rebuttal speech 4 minutes

3rd Affirmative Speaker’s (A3) summation speech 4 minutes

3rd Negative Speaker’s (N3) summation speech 4 minutes


In addition, each team has 6 minutes total of preparation time (the time can be used before each speech) during which members of each team can consult each other before their speaker is up.


Roles of individual speakers

A1 presents a constructive speech. In this speech the first speaker of the affirmative

           side presents the team’s debate case  which includes the team’s understanding and
           interpretation of the topic and the team’s arguments supporting the 

topic (usually not more than 4)


N1 presents a constructive speech. In this speech N1 must respond to the arguments

           presented by the opponent (refute them). After refutation, the N1 may move on to 
           the presentation of his/ her team’s arguments negating the topic.


A2 presents a rebuttal speech. A2 extends arguments presented by his/ her

           predecessor A1 (by providing additional reasoning and evidence). A2 should re-
           build arguments presented by A1 and attacked by N1 (rebut) as well as refute the
           arguments presented by N1 in the negative constructive speech.


N2 presents a rebuttal speech. N2 extends arguments presented by his/ her

           predecessor N1(by providing additional reasoning and evidence). N2 should re-
           build arguments presented by N1 and attacked by A2 ( rebut) as well as refute the
           arguments presented by A1 and A2 in their constructive and rebuttal speeches.


A3 summarizes arguments presented by his/ her team – emphasizing the most important elements and attempts to demonstrate why the affirmative team should win the debate.

N3 summarizes arguments presented by his/ her team – emphasizing the most

           important elements and attempts to demonstrate why the affirmative team 

should win the debate.


Two-on- two format with floor speeches There are two teams in this debate and each team is composed of two speakers.

1st Affirmative speaker – constructive speech 5 minutes

1st Negative speaker- constructive speech 6 minutes

2nd Affirmative speaker – rebuttal speech 6 minutes

2nd Negative speaker – rebuttal speech 6 minutes

FLOOR SPEECHES Members of the audience are invited to make short speeches (1 min.) in support of either team and/or related to the topic of debate.

1st Negative speaker – summation speech 4 minutes

1st Affirmative speaker- summation speech 5 minutes


The roles of the speakers in two-on two debate are not much different from the role of the speakers in three-on-three debate.


ROLE OF THE MODERATOR (CHAIRPERSON)

The Moderator has the following role to play in the debate:

 To welcome the teams and the audience to the debate.  To briefly explain the format and the order of speeches (and inform the audience of floor speeches if applicable).  Keep the time and inform the debaters how much time they have left (e.g. by ringing a bell before the end of each speech).  Invite each speaker to take the floor.  Thank the debaters and the audience for participation in a debate

The Moderator should adopt a courteous manner and attempt to use humour where appropriate.


LAY-OUT OF THE CLASSROOM FOR DEBATE

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