THE DEBATE AS A SUCCESSFUL LEARNING TOOL
Passive educational techniques are thought to be less productive than active learning. We thought that one of the methods which can be used effectively for class sessions is preparing for and participating in a debate as a teaching/learning tool. This tool would be an effective, active way to learn about a controversial topic. Using students’ natural talent of arguing, we can channel student energy into a positive learning assignment. Debates offer that natural avenue for teachers to facilitate analytical thinking.
Debates enable students to work cooperatively, engage in conducting comprehensive research into the topic, brainstorm ideas, gather supporting evidence, develop vocabulary and read to support an opinion. Through researching students are taking notes to summarize, to question, and to clarify information. Students are identifying the main idea, deleting less important information, collapsing, categorizing, and labeling information. Questioning allows students to explain and to explore additional facts for clarification purposes. Moreover, debates allow students to develop the critical spirit and to get a personal opinion.
Debates allow students to become more proficient in speaking, researching, reading, and writing skills, and they promote reasoning as well as communication skills. This tool allows collaborative learning, delegation of tasks, and developing leadership and team-skills. Debates provide the incentive for students and are a vehicle for students to express their opinions assertively in a respectful manner on a relevant issue or topic. So, debates is a funny way to develop some specific and a lot of transversal competences in universitary students.