Dispute, discuss, develop
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015,
Date de fin: 31 août 2017
In the framework of this project, the four partner high schools from Greece, Hungary, Latvia and Spain intend to cooperate in order to improve their students' verbal skills in their native languages and English using debate as an educational tool, in an international environment.
Although rarely used in a general educational context, debating develops the participants' skills in public speaking, listening for the logic of arguments, self-expression while reacting, reading comprehension while researching the topic, and concise writing during, for instance, online debates. Critical and logical thinking are inevitable for successful communication, and can be improved through building up arguments in a debate. In addition, debates can enhance students’ skills in information management and research as well as cooperation. Debating also builds empathy and tolerance helping the acquisition of democratic values. Debates in the classroom highlight the differences of perspectives, deepen the knowledge of the subject and foster organized interaction among peers. Debate contests provide a source of motivation and a controlled environment for sharing distinct arguments.
Teaching debate or teaching with the help of debate require plenty of preparation from unexperienced teachers. The project will involve teachers of different academic subjects including languages (native and foreign) with different debate experience but equal enthusiasm for learning or perfecting this practice in order to serve their students' needs with an innovative and interdisciplinary pedagogical approach.
The objectives of the project include the methodological preparation of teachers, the improvement of students' verbal skills and linguistic competences, international cooperation and sharing of good practices among teachers and the opening of a new window to the world for students.
The 2-year project would start with a teachers’ meeting, where they share their experiences and ideas about debating in the classroom, prepare the final debate format to be used in the student contests, agree on topics and discuss the content of the assessment instruments. The main short-term teaching/learning/training activities of the project will be four one-week contests in each partner country, where the first two days will be spent with debates of national teams on a previously announced topic with the teachers as judges and observers. Then, international teams will be formed with one student from each country, and will debate on a topic announced on the third day of the week, with one day of preparation. Both contests will have a winning team and we will choose the best speakers of English, as well.
These contests are to be filmed and edited into a tutorial video made by and for students on how to debate successfully. In addition to these contests, the partners will launch a debate website, where different topics are going to be discussed in the same debate format, but in writing.
Teachers will prepare a self-assessment instrument for students, where they can examine how much and how these activities improved their skills. In addition, teachers are to prepare a booklet with topics, lesson plans, an assessment rubric on debate skills, pieces of advice and experience to make it a starting point for teachers of foreign languages as well as other subjects who want to introduce debate in their classrooms.
As for the project's impact, we expect improved student performance on oral exams, language exams, school-leaving exams and national assessment studies in reading comprehension, an increased number of classroom debates led by motivated teachers and the establishment or continuation of debate clubs also active in contests outside the institution.
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