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Arguments, Debates, and Other Types of Classroom Discussions: Giving Your Students A Voice
3 Graduate Level or In-service Credits/ 45 hours Instructor Valerie Hanley May 1-30, July 1-30, September 1-29,  November 1-30, 
University of the Pacific

Today’s students need to be taught ways to voice their opinions and beliefs. This course will provide teachers will numerous ways to add more conversation and discussion opportunities in their classrooms. Teachers will work on creating activities that help students learn how to construct a proper written argument and evaluate the arguments of others. Students will learn how to teach debate skills and how to find ways to add classroom debates to current units of study. Teachers will emerge from this class with a wide variety of ideas and activities that will help add the rigor and relevance demanded by the Common Core standards. This course is recommended for teachers from Pre-K to 12.


Course Behavioral Objectives:

This course will present students will ideas for using classroom debates, Socratic Circle Discussions, argument writing, and games to teach students how to speak and write effectively. Students will be required to create lessons and activities that encourage discussion, collaboration, and analytical thinking. Assignments in this course range from creating formal lesson plans to designing games. Students will be presented with many interesting resources and ideas that should make creating a classroom environment where discussions and debates are the norm easy and rewarding for all.

How will this course help educators to meet the Common Core Standards?

The CCSS put a new emphasis on writing and evaluating arguments. This course will give you the tools and ideas you need to make argument writing an integral part of any class you teach. You will learn creative ways to teach argument writing, learn how to incorporate debates into your classroom repertoire, and work on lessons that increase student participation in class.

How will this course benefit my classroom instruction and learning objectives?

This course will inspire you to make changes in how you teach your classes. After being exposed to new ways of teaching writing and debating, you will be inspired to create more meaningful activities for your students that require them to be active participants rather than passive learners. You will see the importance of making every class one in which your students are reading and writing. 

Foreign Language and LOTE Teachers

This course will give you new ideas on how to incorporate the CCSS standards for ELA into your foreign language and LOTE classes. You will learn ways to make debates and Socratic discussions part of your regular routine. Get new ideas on how to use games to spark more conversation into your classroom.

Mathematics Teachers

Writing and discussing has an important role in every classroom…even in math classes! This course will show you ways to incorporate the CCSS for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language into your math lessons. In addition to teaching students to show their work, now you can require them to explain their process in a written argument. Get new ideas on how to use games to spark more conversation into your classroom.

Science Teachers

There are so many fascinating topics to explore in the field of science. This course will give you ideas on how to bring discussion, debating, and argument writing into your classrooms. You will learn easy and efficient ways to apply the CCSS standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language into your existing lessons. Your classroom will become more interesting as your students learn new ways to question and discuss science-related topics.

Social Studies Teachers

Socratic circles, debates, argument writing, and class discussions fit perfectly in any Social Studies classroom. This course will teach you simple, yet effective ways to incorporate the CCSS standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language into your existing curriculum. Your classroom environment will become one in which more meaningful, engaging discussions take place. You will also learn efficient ways to evaluate the students’ arguments and ideas.

Teachers of the Arts

Socratic circles, debates, and cooperative games are just some of the activities that you will learn about in this course. Your classroom will be transformed into a livelier place where students feel very confident expressing their ideas with each other. This course will help you incorporate the CCSS for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language into your classes in fun and interesting ways. 

Special Education Teachers

This course will equip you with the ideas and tools you need to make your students more confident speakers and writers. You will learn new ways to teach your students to argue, debate, and explain their points of view. You will also learn about various games to make learning more fun for all.

Social Workers, Guidance Counselors, and School Psychologists

Being confident speakers and writers is a vital skill that all students need to possess to be successful. This course will give you ideas on how to help your students be more skilled speakers and writers. You will learn how to incorporate the CCSS for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language into your classes in fun and interesting ways.

Elementary Education Teachers

All children love games, talking, and arguing. This course will give you new ideas on how to make speaking and writing a part of your daily routine. You will get new ideas on how to incorporate the CCSS for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language into your classes in fun and interesting ways. Your students will be more engaged and more inspired to share and discuss new ideas in class.

Secondary Education Teachers

The argument writing piece of the CCSS is a perfect fit for middle school and high school students. This course will teach you new ways to incorporate argument writing, class discussions and debates, and games into your repertoire. Your students will love being able to share their ideas in class more frequently and in more interesting activities.

Media and Technology Specialists

You will learn new games and programs to use with your students of all ages. This course will help you incorporate the CCSS for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language into your classes in fun and interesting ways.

Career and Vocational Specialists

Being able to express yourself clearly and in a meaningful way is essential in all aspects of life. This course will help you incorporate the CCSS for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language into your classes in fun and interesting ways. You will find new ideas to help your students become more confident and skilled speakers and writers.

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