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Teaching Tip: Using Debates


A debate is a competition in which two opposing teams make speeches to support their arguments and disagree with those of the other team. A proposition is stated, with one team agreeing with the proposition and the other team disagreeing. Debates are an effective way to help your students develop critical thinking skills and oral presentation skills. They foster organizing information, distinguishing fact from fiction, identifying bias, and teamwork. When selecting a proposition for a debate, make sure that the proposition is compatable with the interests and knowledge of your students. Here are some suggested propositions that are appropriate for students in upper elementary and middle school.
  • Students should wear school uniforms.
  • Global warming is a real threat.
  • Professional athletes make too much money.
  • School should be offered all through the year.
  • Students are assigned too much homework.
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