To Debate or Not To Debate . . . .

My second week at Mawuvio Outreach Programme marks the beginning of an after school program for a group of 18 students. I chose to teach them debate once a week. I focused on this topic because I want to be a Lawyer, so I think that this is a great outlet for them to enhance their critical analysis skills. The first debate activity that the students did was simple but educational. I split them up into two teams and I assigned them a simple debate topic, ‘football’ vs. ‘baseball.’ This was the beginning of The World Cup, so I felt like this was a topic that would be relevant to them. Each team had about 15 minutes to conduct research on the topic, that is, write down some points that showed that they were in favor of their sport. I asked them to work in teams to do this and immediately they were shocked. Normally, in the class they are taught to only work by themselves. They hesitated  at first and then they eventually began to share ideas with one another. Then, I asked for an individual on each team who felt that they were comfortable enough to debate for their subject. I chose two students, Komlavi and Benjamin and I asked them to debate against one another. Right away, the students on the opposing teams became very competitive. Their commentary included “he’s eating him,” which can be translated into “he’s beating him.” After five minutes of this debate, the alarm sounded which signaled them to stop. Because this was the first debate, I decided not to choose a winner.  The students were slightly disappointed but they understood my reasoning. I praised each of the opponents, and gave them feedback on how they could improve for our next debate session.

Week 2 of Debate 06/18/14. The students playing a debate game that I made up myself. The rules of the game were that if they agreed with the statement, they would step inside of the circle and if they disagreed they would remain in their spot. After each statement, we discussed the opposing viewpoints.

Week 2 of Debate 06/18/14. The students playing a debate game that I made up myself. The rules of the game were that if they agreed with the statement, they would step inside of the circle and if they disagreed they would remain in their spot. After each statement, we discussed the opposing viewpoints.

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