Click for English subtitling on the Subtitle button on video.

Camera & sound: Anna De Clercq
Idea & subtitels: Mark Saey

Competition debate as didactic tool 

1. make up forceful propositions to debate any content given 2. make teams 3. assign the teams to positions for/against 4. let the teams prepare for ten minutes 5. rules: take turns, always address the audience not your opponent, 20 seconds maximum to think about your opponents last argument, the audience never intervenes 6. build levels of competence (with/without paper on the desk, obliged/not obliged to talk for a minimum of time, let one make a summary, go beyond the prepared arguments, enter into direct debate on one argument, let them prepare at home for a more serious debate, …) 7. practice, practice, practice 8. only intervene when rules are broken or when something can or should clearly be done better 9. accredit both the manner and the content, add some points according to the audience preference…

This didactic is but a variation on existing debate competitions in the world, gave me the idea for the Flemish debate competition now being organised by the WLE – community of ethics teachers in Flanders / Digimores, and is a very good format to build self-confidence in students, for active and integral learning in any course, and to practice critical thinking skills – and it is a very handy way to work with large groups and/or groups that (sometimes) are (somewhat) disinterested. Just something to bring more life and light to teaching and schoolculture.

Extra: critical thinking skills. (The pupils can:) clearly denote a problem or proposition, search for reasons, be well informed, search for alternatives, be of open mind, take in or change a position on sufficient grounds, orderly handle parts of a complex whole, be sensitive to the ideas of others, analyse, ask questions to clarify or challenge, deduce and induce, search for presuppositions, argue and decide.