Tagged Students Coaching Students in Debates

Debates Incorporating Students-Coaching-Students Model


Renee Jackson and I worked together on the students-coaching-students model of Socratic seminar, and she incorporated elements of the process into her team debates to positive effect.

Here is an overview of her general debate format:

Debate Format

Opening Speech by the Pro Side  3-4 minutes

Opening Speech by the Con Side  3-4 minutes

  •  6 minutes work period for the two sides

Cross Examination of the Pro Side by the Con Side    2-3 minutes

Cross Examination of the Con Side by the Pro Side    2-3 minutes

  •  6 minutes work period for the two sides

Rebuttals by the Pro Side    2-3 minutes

Rebuttals by the Con Side     2-3 minutes

Closing Argument by the Pro Side  3-4 minutes

Closing Argument by the Con Side  3-4 minutes

To incorporate more formative feedback and emphasize the use of cited evidence in the debates, Jackson incorporated the following:

  • Tally Keeper: A student who was not debating for the day stood at the white board and put a mark next to each students name when they used and cited evidence while debating
  • Coaching: The students who were not debating used the work periods to gather specific feedback for the team on their side of the room and shared that feedback with them before the team began the next phase of the debate
  • Sharing Out Formative Feedback: In the last couple of minutes of the work periods, all students were asked to share feedback and suggestions to the teams debating

Students also received and shared formative feedback when Jackson and I co-taught a lesson where students had mini-debates over solitary confinement following this lesson on about identifying claims, reasoning and evidence in an argument.

After the mini-debates, classes reflected on the process identifying strengths and weaknesses.  Students also gave suggestions for what they might do differently during the actual debates.

Additional Resource:

  • Debate Format and Roles– This handout was given to students to help them plan for the individual roles to be filled for the debate