Tag Archives: debate

Students debating

Balancing perspectives in civics education

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I just listened to this podcast from the New Books in Public Policy podcast, which was an interview of Diana Hess about her new book The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education. There is a lot to the interview and I recommend a listen (as well as subscribing to the podcast on iTunes if you have an interest in Public Policy issues). But I just want to highlight one point today.

She describes a high school in a very progressive district where a large majority of the student population (and their families) have strongly liberal political views. The teacher was perhaps even more liberal than the students. He was teaching about abortion rights and he realized that all of his students were pro-choice and he was intensely so. To be a good teacher, he made it a point to find an outside speaker who could come in and give the pro-life side of the debate.

Immersive Role Playing in Education

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I just finished reading Mike Carnes’ thought provoking book Minds on Fire. The book goes through his experiences using “Reacting Games” in his university courses. Reacting Games are role playing, debate-style exercises that take up the entire course (in-class, out-of-class preparation, student evaluation, the whole thing) for months at a time. Students are assigned roles from great debates and conflicts in history. The key advocates have to convince the others to join their sides. Why are so many students intellectually disengaged? Faculty, administrators, and tuition-paying…