Debate project teaches students to support arguments, act professionally

Posted: February 17, 2016 in Academics, Language arts, Project-based Learning
A student presents his case during a debate in Mr. Leal's class. (Photo by Robin Marshall)

A student presents his case during a debate in Mr. Leal’s class. (Photo by Robin Marshall)

By Chelsey McCarthy
Cougar News Blog

     Everyone likes to be right about something. Cactus Canyon teacher John Leal is starting a debating campaign for the students in his classes for the eighth grade.
     The students were in groups of four or five and debating with the team cross from them about the same topic. One team would be in favor and the other was the opposition.
     “Since we did the debates I learned how to discuss an argument and I learned how to back up what I’m trying to support,” Emily Lewis said.
     Students debated topics such as lowering the voting age and whether young people who commit crimes should be charged as adults or minors.
     “The topics on the debates were chose by thinking what would be fun for the students to debate about,” said Mr. Leal. “I wanted students to have an opinion on them.”
     Mr. Leal asked his students to dress appropriately because presentation is the key to creating and confidence. Confidence is crucial for convincing others to agree because it shows the presenter cares about himself or herself, as well as the topic.
     Students who were not debating were asked to decide which group was the winner in the debate.
     “Students would be deciding how relevant the examples are convincing; essentially voting for who has the stronger case,” Leal said.

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