8 Ways to Encourage Healthy Debate in the Classroom - Deepstash

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8 Ways to Encourage Healthy Debate in the Classroom

https://medium.com/@MoveThisWorld/8-ways-to-encourage-healthy-debate-in-the-classroom-53124a7cfe00

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8 Ways to Encourage Healthy Debate in the Classroom
This Election, many students are sitting up and paying attention to politics for the first time. This year's debates may have been the first some generations have tuned in - and they weren't exactly demonstrations to be proud of.

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No ideas are silly

Everyone is entitled to their own unique opinionIt is important that your students feel that they have a safe, supportive environment where they feel encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings openly without fear of rejection or judgement. 

Play emotional charades. Prompt students to act an emotion out using a facial expression or movement to express their unique voices and feelings.

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Actively listen

In order for you to contribute to an ongoing discussion, you must be paying attention to the points that your classmates are bringing to the table. 

Remember how it felt when others were actively listening to you by showing the same respect to others when they speak.

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Step up, step back

If you notice that you are speaking up more than your classmates, take a step back to allow others’ opinions to be represented. 

If you notice that you are offering fewer points in the discussion, speak up — your opinions are valued.

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Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

It is important to remain respectful when you do not share the same views as your classmates. Attempt to at least try to see things from another perspective. 

One exercise you can to do to practice this in the classroom is kinesthetic mirroring. By mirroring what another person is showing in their body and face with your own body, you can develop a more profound empathetic connection than you would be able to express with words.

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Breathe before you speak

... to calm any nerves you may have. 

Take this time to collect your thoughts and organize your ideas to ensure you’re presenting your position thoughtfully, and not just speaking from emotion.

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Arrange the seating

For a debate setting, unless your speakers are standing at the front of the room, move the desks into a semi-circle shape to invite more open dialogue between students.

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Model respectful conflict management

Accept that there will not necessarily be a resolution. 

Conflicts are okay when managed in a healthy way. It’s important to remind students that despite differences, we must always respect the thoughts and opinions of our classmates.

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Welcome diverse voices

In inviting diverse voices in the classroom, you’re reminding your students that it is okay to have different perspectives and that they should be viewed as an opportunity to learn something new.

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Identify your passion

Everyday leadership begins with a passion and a mission. Ask yourself: “What am I passionate about? How can I turn that passion into a mission?”

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Listen

Try listening more than you speak. Listen to experts and fellow enthusiasts, including those with whom you disagree. Absorb their perspectives, insights, and experiences.

From listening to others, we can gather valuable insights from both their successes and their failings.

You have a voice. Share it

But remember that using your voice as an everyday leader comes with a responsibility.

When sharing your opinion—in-person or via social media—be clear, be concise, and be constructive. That is the best way to be heard.

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Parent-teacher groups

Creating parent-teacher groups enables parents to share their opinion in regards to topics that concern directly their children, such as classroom activities, field trips, or homework. 

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Parents and field trips

Allowing parents to participate in their children's field trips can prove an inspired idea, as they often have great suggestions. 

Moreover, getting their feedback both before and after the trip might lead to the improvement of such activities.

Parent mentor programs

This kind of program often results in successful cooperation between parents and teachers, therefore ensuring that no feedback is lost. 

Parent volunteers get in contact with other parents for topics related to their children and forward their opinions to teachers, enabling an efficient communication of everybody's thoughts and suggestions.

Dancing

It is the physical expression through movement and rhythm of relationships, feelings and ideas.

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Dance benefits

  • In an evaluation of Dancing Classrooms in New York City, 95 % of teachers said that as a result of dancing together, there was a demonstrable improvement in students’ abilities to cooperate and collaborate.
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  • Arts benefit everyone regardless of their vocational pathways.