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Debate: Innovating Teaching Strategy For Enhancing Students’ Critical Thinking And Communication Skills

2276 words - 10 pages

Debate: Innovating Teaching Strategy for Enhancing Students' Critical Thinking and Communication SkillsABSTRACTThere are a lot of teaching strategies outside. Each of them has its own characteristic and speciality. Debate, one of teaching strategy, has an innovative characteristic in enhancing students' critical thinking. Debates have the ability to reinforce and enhance knowledge in a topic area, to engage students in the learning process, to verify that students have the ability to analyze the sources to various topics given. The purpose of this paper is to describe the utilization of structured classroom debates as a teaching strategy for critical thinking and enhancing communication ...view middle of the document...

" In other words, we can say that speaking requires both language skills, and language components. People cannot find a topic to be spoken if they have not read something. They cannot go along the conversation if they do not listen to others. Overall, in speaking we need correct grammar and pronunciation. Besides, the vocabularies are really needed in conveying message to the receiver.There are several methods that are used to teach speaking. Typical activities to teach speaking include: dialogue, drama activities, role plays, simulations, games, discussions, informal classroom chat and debates (Thornbury 2006: 208). Among such activities, debates are seen as one of the most active learning activity since besides using language skills and components, debates require students' knowledge and critical thinking in expressing their ideas to oppose their opponent. Kurfiss (1988: 2) defines critical thinking as an investigation whose purpose is to explore a situation, phenomenon, question, or problem to arrive at a conclusion or hypothesis about it that integrates all available information and that can therefore be convincingly justified.Harmer (2007: 84) emphasize that the teacher must assign tasks which are indeed capable of doing rather than opting for over-challenging ones which have the potential to humiliate them. Therefore, according to him, the teacher should stimulate critical thinking activity and also aid students to be aware of any contrasting ideas and concepts which they themselves can resolve through speaking. Debate is the most suitable activity to activate students' critical thinking and also practicing speaking itself. Tumposky( 2004: 52) states that when students engage in debate, they take an active role in their education, while subjects which may once have seemed dull and abstract come vividly to life.Founded by The Open Society Institute, the International Debate Education Association defines debate as a formal contest of argumentation between two teams or individuals (International Debate Education Association, n.d.). More than a mere verbal or performance skill, debate embodies the ideals of reasoned argument.Debates differ from lectures and discussion whereas debate has pre-arranged definite sides to the topic given. It is uncommon for students to have debate the side of a topic they feel strongly against. Therefore, students are asked to weigh the pros and the cons of both sides by reflecting on their own views while collecting the date. Moreover, the process of preparation, anticipation, and participation should be emphasized rather than the competition and the grade (Garret and Schoener 1996; Darby 2007).METHODSThe Explanation of Debate and Its ProcessDebate has been described by Lubetsky, LeBau and Harrington (in Lieb, 2007: 73-84) as highly sophisticated form of immediate, interactive communication which assumes an elevated level of discourse skill, the mastery of which is often elusive even for native speakers. In other...

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