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debate with Year 9

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by jessiejump, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Hi - I really want to do a good quality debate with my large Year 9 top set on abortion.They are a tricky bunch and need real challenge. It is ages since I have done a class debate. Any good ideas fior structure and ways to approach it so it will be successful and not dominated by a few or end up collapsing.I want it to last 20 mins approx I was thinking of the house motion being 'This house believes in the sanctity of life and that abortion is a sin.' One student said they wanted to be the chairman but I think it will be better be in with the first go. I am covering the religious responses in the first part of the lesson. I was going to split the class in 2 - 16 on each side and one side FOR the motion and one AGAINST, Then in groups of 4 to prepare thought shower good ways to persuade others of your side of the argument - 5 minute task. Then when it is the debate present some guidelines (raise your hand to speak, listen to everyone ect) and the rule that every one in each group of 4 hads to speak at least one so they can nominate a spokes person. Vote on the motion before and after the debate? Any good ideas appreciated, Thank you J x
  2. I always use a squidyg ball and have a rule that only the person with it can make a point - the ball goes back to the chair who then redistributes it.
  3. You could pick 4-6 of your best/keenest students, split them into teams for and against the motion, and assign one person from each team to be main speaker, rebuttal speaker who replies to the main speaker from the other team, and possible one person to handle questions from the audience (though this could be done instead by the other two students on the team instead)

    Allow a set period of time say 3-5 minutes for each main speaker, then perhaps 2-3 minutes for the rebuttals, followed by a one minute summing up by the main speakers.

    You could allow questions/comments from the audience (i.e the rest of the class), directed at either team perhaps with a rule that everybody must contribute at least once. Make sure there are rules that nobody speaks over each other - e.g. by only allowing speaking when people are standing and/or have been allowed to speak by the chairperson. Finally take a vote and see who's one.

    You could chair the debate or get a student to do the role - I've used students before and it's worked well.
  4. There's an idea i've used from the 'Teachers Toolkit' which works really well, and resulted in me getting 'teacher of the week' after a deputy head walked in and saw my class!!
    Basically, each student has 3 tokens (these take hours to make!) You can only speak/contribute when you hand over a token, if you run out of tokens you cannot speak anymore. I found it really helps get the quiet ones talking. Make sure you encourage the higher ability ones to help the lower ability ones with what to say, this means they feel more confident and the talkative ones can still say something, but via another student. You cannot give your tokens away.
    Oh, and make sure you wear flats 'cos you end up running around collecting tokens! [​IMG]
  5. Have you ever watched the comedy programme "Argumental" on Dave? My pupils love Argumental lessons.

    I split them into six teams and they have to prepare arguments for and against the topic for discussion. I then choose a goup at random and tell them whether they are presenting their argument for or against the statement. They then have five minutes to make their case to the rest of the class, who may ask questions of them. Then a second team is chosen at random to counter their argument and are given the same time limits.

    The rest of the pupils vote at the end of the second speech on which group they thought presented the strongest case. We then unpick the arguments as to what went well and what could have been added to improve the argument. Sadly, my reigning champion was in Year 11 and has just left - he adored getting up and arguing. However, the most memorable occasion was when the class got fed up of his cockiness and all automatically voted for the opposing team to teach him a lesson!
  6. Thanks all for your time and as always great ideas. I will use the counter idea to 'cash' in when they want to speak and will let you now how it goes after I deliver it on Tuesday. J x
  7. WillowFae

    WillowFae New commenter

    I use the counter idea with a pupil who is causing disruption in lessons, but it is for general interruptions and silly comments. But rather than counters I use lolly sticks - you can buy them from Hobbycraft so no making anything!
  8. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    I think that's a really great idea! It will make them much more aware of their disruptive behaviour. I remember reading that in the past psychologists used to talk about attention-seeking behaviour but now they have recognised that human beings actually need attention as much as food. So if they are not getting attention outside school they will come into school actually 'starving' for attention. So now they call it Attention Needing. I wonder if that's something that you can talk to this student about and discuss ways that you may be able to offer him or her special responsibility which can mean they get attention in a positive way.

    I think all the suggestions are good for producing a great debate - but I am a bit uneasy about using abortion as the focus for such a debate. The whole scenario behind pregnancy and the uniqueness of each situation is so complicated. In the future, if I remember, I will try to uncover some group-work and role-play activities which I have used on this tppic which encourage thinking and discussion. The only problem with it is it spreads over 3 or 4 lessons when you may have to cover this in just one or two lessons. If you are pressed for time then a debate would be much better than a dry text-book approach.
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hmm. How about getting a doctor to come and talk about abortion, rather than having a debate?
  10. grandelf

    grandelf New commenter

    I buy a job lot of poker chips for 'the works' or the likes, or even a jar of plastic buttons/discs. They make the token idea far easier and reusable. (Also like the other poster said, can be removed as a sanction with a class i.e. those with 3 left at the end get a credit/merit etc)
  11. Hi Jessie,

    You might be interested in a visual debate tool - aMaps www.amap.org.uk

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