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Split-Room Debate
Essential Characteristics:   Pages:
Primary Mode Collaborative 202-206
Activity Focus Discussing
Duration of Activity Single Session
Online Transferability High
Description and Purpose

After a brief presentation on a topic or case study, students are invited to sit on one side of the room or the other corresponding to their position on a controversy related to a key course issue. Instead of the teacher selecting who is allowed to speak, students call on the next speaker after they have finished their own remarks. Students are encouraged to move to either side of the room as their attitudes change.

Debates provide a framework to help students develop more mature ways of thinking as they start to recognise the range of perspectives inherent in complex topics and internalise a view of knowledge that is dialogic, contingent, and ambiguous. This SET takes advantage of the teaching and learning opportunities inherent in debates, while providing a structure that allows students to move around in the room and to see how their own opinions and those of others can change as understanding deepens.

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