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Silent Debates

Silent Debates: Place a statement in the middle of the page. In silence students have 5 minutes to state a point and explain. Students then move around the room to the next page, they then have 5 minutes to argue against the point made by their classmates.

For topics where contrasting opinions are involved, a silent debate can be an ideal way to ensure all students are actively engaged. Decide how many groups you’d like to split the class into and create a sheet for each of the groups (A3 or bigger is ideal). In the middle of each sheet write a statement for the students to annotate - they should be able to contribute points for and against the statement. Once the students are split off into their groups, ask them to spend 5 minutes carefully stating and explaining a point in favour of the statement (this should be done in silence!). After 5 minutes, swap + move groups, students now have 5 minutes to argue against one of the points already made. Students may respond to points made to defend their argument. Keep repeating this process until it is clear they students have run out of points, at this point it is good for students to pick up their notes and check what is written and develop/correct where applicable. 

Differentiation / Extension ideas:

  • Ask students to come to a justified conclusion
  • If possible, each student should then be given a different coloured pen (this helps identify who has written what).
  • Instead of moving groups, you could have 2 students allocated to a page. 
  • Students could create the statements to be debated.