Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Silent Debating

(Download full hi-res image <here>)

A teacher's dream! 

"Are religious experiences of any use in discussing God's existence?"

What I did:

I gave the teams the rules:
  1. Once the debate starts, there is no talking or conferring.
  2. You are either arguing YES they are or NO they are not.
  3. Everyone must write at least twice.
  4. Only one person may write at a time.
  5. Think carefully before you write.
  6. Try to keep it logical!
I split the class into two 'teams', each given a separate side of the argument. They had 10 minutes to prepare.

What happened:

We all gathered around the table, with 9 sheets of A3 stuck together. The question was in the middle.

Each team nominated their first scribe and we took it in turns as they got the hang of it. After a few goes each, they were allowed to both be writing at the same time. After about 10 minutes, we upped it to two people from each team. For the last two minutes we had a free for all to get the last bits of information down!

Throughout, there was absolute silence!

The Results:

The students really enjoyed it. On an Edmodo poll give the choice of role playing, speed dating or this, they all (bar one!) choose this!

The arguments started off all coming from the middle, in a random kind of way. However as they got more into it, the flow developed with people 'silently arguing' and literally bursting to get back to the table to write!

All students were fully engaged, even the weaker students found themselves able to add to comments or scholars to other students posts.

It was only possible to do it for as long as students already 'knew their stuff' on this topic. It was an excellent way to build confidence, share understanding, develop evaluation skills and ensure full engagement in the lesson.

The students keep asking, "when are we doing it again?"

Further Reading:

This Pedagoo post details further ideas: <read>

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