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Teaching Methods

Debate and Discussion

Discussion and debate are interactive ways to engage students in historical thinking. They help us to make sense of factual information. Students of history question the context, provenance and purpose of sources. Discussions can help them to understand: What actually happened? Why did it happen …then? Who was involved? By discussing in pairs, in small groups, or as a whole class, students can deepen their investigations by exploring different aspects of an issue, exchanging information on different points of view. A specific form of discussion is a debate. The discipline of history has debate at its core. Ongoing debate is based upon different interpretations of the sources, and upon different historical questions asked; which are dependent on time and place. A debate can be built up around a statement or an argument (sometimes using formal rules) so that students have to present their own evidence-based arguments and to respond to those of others. In this way students learn to use higher order concepts of analysing and evaluating, and an essential element of citizenship in a democratic society is trained.

Learning Activities