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Polemic Topic Practice

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This idea is similar to "Choose an Issue" and "Mini-Debate."
I like the idea of using debate in class, but some of my
students get intimidated by the format. I started using this
idea as an alternative:
Write a controversial statement on the board, like "Nonsmokers
rights are more important than smokers' rights." Students
must decide if they agree or disagree by going to one side of
the room if they agree, another if they disagree, so that they
are facing each other. Students must take a stand, one way
or the other. Give them a few minutes to talk amongst their
groups, then ask one student to start. Ask the other side if
they have any response. You can let them talk, or if it gets
silent, continue by choosing students to tell why they chose
their particular side. I like using several related sentences
within a topic we are discussing in class (the sample sentence
above came from a discussion on the day of the "Great American
Smoke Out").

Karin Abell,
Carrboro, NC

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