Debating societies may seem to be the preserve of Oxbridge and private schools, but there is a place for debating in classrooms everywhere, argues Gemma Jones
Debating societies may seem to be the preserve of Oxbridge and private schools, but there is a place for debating in classrooms everywhere. From ‘Why William Won the Battle of Hastings’ to ‘causes of the First World War’, history is a natural subject to use debates to deepen knowledge in lessons. However, across the curriculum, there is scope to engage the pupils in a structured debate to challenge misconceptions, structure arguments and encourage independent study. Additionally, participating in debates can develop confidence and public speaking skills.
Research conducted at Warwick University showed that pupils that participated in extra-curricular activities did better at the end of year examinations. Of the activities available, debating scored best in translating to examination success. This is assessed as being due to the need to think deeply, structure arguments and consider counter arguments thus leading to a balanced argument and well-evidenced judgements. Surely in today’s world of ‘fake news’, debating issues honestly and with facts is more important than ever.
So do not delay, spark an argument today. As Desmond Tutu said – “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”
@History__Girls History Teacher – Cheltenham
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of UKEd Magazine
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