Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.

USE OF FORMAL DEBATE AS AN EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION TOOL FOR EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF HEALTH SCIENCE STUDENTS

S.D. Paredes1, L. Rancan1, C. García1, J.C. García2, I. Garutti3, C. Simón3, J.A. Zueco1, J.A.F. Tresguerres1, E. Vara1

1Complutense University of Madrid (SPAIN)
2University of Alcalá de Henares (SPAIN)
3Complutense University of Madrid-Gregorio Marañón University General Hospital (SPAIN)
Instructional debate is a methodology that incorporates the theory of lifelong learning coupled with the active participation of students. It has the advantage of being less complex than structured problem-based learning. In fact, this teaching tool is currently an accepted form of teaching method in several professional schools and faculties of Health Sciences throughout the world, where successful experiences have long been described. However, its use in our local context and in the particular field of Biomedical Sciences is quite limited. Ideally, the use of debate as an innovative teaching-learning method should focus on developing students' reasoning and logical communication skills. Thus, a well-designed discussion should require the student to think, gather information, read and write critically, summarising and subsequently exposing complex concepts to their peers and teachers in a coherent, well-researched way, supported by the scientific literature. In relation to this, there are many forms of debate strategies, such as the informal debate, also known as expository debate, where students are asked to come prepared to discuss a specific topic in the next class. Nonetheless, there is another approach, the formal debate, which offers better results in the medium and long term. It involves taking a controversial issue, framing it within a resolution statement or affirmation (for example, make a proposal or a recommendation on that topic) and requires that a group of students stand in favor and defend the claim and that another group argue against it, refuting it. Students are asked to present their arguments in a pre-established and previously prepared format under the supervision of the faculty involved. It frequently alternates point and counterpoint in a pre-established time that is usually timed by the facilitator who acts as a moderator. On the other hand, the deficiencies in communication skills and emotional management in the health professions are a verified reality. In fact, health professionals argue that they have not had apprenticeship or training in the context in which they perform their work, or that it has been insufficient. Formal debate appears as an useful too to develop those skills early and, in turn, fostering critical analysis in Health Science students.