On November 21, 2018 teachers of English in Mariupol took part in the seminar “How to Conduct a Class Debate”. It was arranged by the public organization “For Quality Education” along with city school authorities. The event took place in the city technical lyceum.

Speaker of the workshop – Popova Elena, teacher of English, a debatable coach, head of the English Speaking Club for adults and children.

Basics of debate, a variety of formats, responsibilities of both affirmative and negative teams were presented to the participants. They got to know how to build up arguments, research the topic, keep track of time. Useful internet links were proposed to find discussion topics.

What’s more, the teachers were offered some resolutions to debate right at the seminar to get some practice. They were the following:

  • “School authorities and teachers are equally responsible for teacher’s professional development”.
  • “Feminism is a harmful ideology”.
  • “Civil disobedience is a form of protest”.

Preference was given to the first resolution. It took the teams up to 15 minutes to prepare their arguments for and against the proposed topic. Everybody got involved in the discussion and all were quite enthusiastic and active.

At the end of the seminar, they discussed how schoolchildren can benefit from this debate activity and what skills can be developed. All completely agreed that thinking skills are taught in the Debate in the first place:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Classifying
  3. Comparing
  4. Contrasting
  5. Setting priorities
  6. Examining opposite points of view
  7. Analyzing

Obviously, students learn to organize their thoughts, present them clearly and effectively, work in a team, see the logical connections, find flaws in the analysis, speak in public and be tolerant.

A debate can help to improve cultural awareness, bring together young people from diverse backgrounds, boost confidence, broaden horizons, increase aspirations for higher education, foster creativity and critical thinking skills.

The proposition to arrange Debate tournament for schoolchildren in near future was unanimously approved.