The debate methodology described in the booklet is implemented in the ethics classroom in order to get students to discuss ethical topics in a systematic way.
Debate in the ethics classroom
A booklet that offers a description of the principles of debate and a collection of debate motions on ethical topics.
|Author / creator||Curator||Date|
|Floris Velema, Devin van den Berg & Kiki Varekamp||Floris Velema||03/2021|
Aims and objectives
The booklet offers a description the debate format of the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC). Each speaker role is addressed separately. It also includes a glossary of key terms in debate, an evaluation form, and a collection of debate motions around ethical topics.
Materials and resources
The booklet was developed within the Erasmus+ project 'A Debate And Philosophy Typology' (ADAPT). Dr. Natascha Kienstra from Tilburg University is currently researching the effectivity of the debate format in the philosophy classroom.
The debate methodology described in the booklet was implemented in the philosophy classes at Wolfert Bilingual School in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
In the ethics classroom, the time of a standard WSDC debate is reduced by half. The first, second and third speaker of each team have four minutes to present their arguments. The final 'reply speeches' are two minutes each. The total debate then consists of twenty-eight minutes.
Debate is a student-centered learning activity, in which the teacher assumes the role of facilitator.
Grouping / classroom
In the WSDC format, a debate team consists of three members. The class is divided in teams of three, while those students that are not participating in the debate become the audience. The audience is expected to give constructive criticism to the speakers during the evaluation.
The debate methodology offers some advantages over a classroom discussion: (1) students get equal speaking time, (2) opinions are not only voiced but effectively challenged, and (3) the appointed sides in a debate allow different perspectives to be explored separate from an individual’s own beliefs. This helps students to see that there are always competing viewpoints, develops empathy and helps guard against confirmation bias.