Moving Debate

Submitted by aniko.makkai-k… on

This fun activity allows the teacher to involve students in a topic by empowering them to express their views, without forcing them to speak. A special feature of this activity is that it allows for a live change of mind.

The teacher can also use it to observe the acquisition of concepts by using peer tutoring.

  • Group size: Small Group, Medium Group,
  • Equipment needed: Few (A4 sheets x2)
  • When: In Classroom
  • Work by: Individual, Small Groups, Full Group
  • In order to: Approach a content, work in groups, observe acquisition 
  • Length: ≤ 20 min 
  • Keywords: Activity, debate, peer tutoring, physical movement

Example :  

The teacher will have prepared 2-4 statements beforehand.

In the session space, he/she signifies two zones by posting "Agree" / "Disagree" sheets at two ends of the room. The exact middle between these two zones is called the "river of doubt". In each zone, the closer you are to the river of doubt, the less you "agree" or "disagree" with the statement.

The teacher explains the rules of the moving debate and then states the first statement. The students move to the areas corresponding to their personal opinion. Once each student is in place, they have 5 minutes to exchange arguments with those of the same opinion as them (the "agree" together on one side, the "disagree" together on the other). 

Then the debate can begin.

One after the other, each group can present an argument justifying their opinion. At any time, a student can physically change sides (from "agree" to "disagree" and back again). Here are three principles to help the process run smoothly:

- Only 1 argument per speech

- Do not comment on the other person's argument

- Do not judge the other person's speech

Once the debate has been exhausted or the time limit has expired, the teacher rephrases the strong points of each party and can (re)launch his or her intervention based on the exchanges.