Reading assignment: Roth (1966)
Before class begins, ask students to read the reading and to send in short comments. I will let students know they are going to have a debate over issues in the readings.
In their comments sent to me before class, students need to indicate which sides they will take. They could also indicate that they are undecided or neutral.
The debate in class will take different formats depending on how students choose sides. If roughly same numbers of students fall in the three groups: for, against, and neutral, then have each group discuss among themselves and choose representative to take part in the debate. Representatives from the neutral group will be the judge.
If one group is significantly larger than other two, then combine the other two groups and have a debate between the large group and the combined group. I will be the judge. If, unfortunately, all students choose to be in one group, then I will debate with them.
Rationale and goals:
This is a group exercise designed for a small class. It must be somewhere in the middle of the semester, when the students have had some knowledge about research methods but need further development on critical thinking. The way of debate is to engage them into active learning. They can learn to formulate their own arguments, through choosing sides and taking part in the debate. To be judges themselves, they can also learn to evaluate arguments. In addition, they can learn to work in a team when discussing in their groups and choose representatives.
The debate topics actually can be changed to any topics that easily provoke disagreement. The goal is to make the students begin to think in different ways and to be open to opposition opinions.