Conference Papers

Debating the use of in - class debates in Education Studies: A comparative investigation into the use of debates as a teaching strategy in Higher Education

This paper investigates student’s perspectives on the use of debates as an in-class teaching strategy in Higher Education. In limited research carried out in this area debates are considered to compliment other teaching strategies and provide variety in teaching to keep students actively engaged in the content (Oros, 2007). Moreover, debates are seen to provide students with increased active involvement in their learning to “…learn more effectively by actively analysing, discussing, and applying content in meaningful ways rather than by passively absorbing information” (Bonwell and Eison, 1991, in, Kennedy, 2007, p.183). Debates, according to Walker and Warhurst (2000) enable lecturers to stand back from delivering taught content and provide students with the space to educate one another. In doing so the literature tells us that the use of debates provides students with a mastery of content and the development of skills such as critical thinking (Brown, 2014; Zare and Othman, 2013).
However, the structures of these debates are diverse and as such have been carried out in a variety of ways in research. This paper considers differing debate structures that were planned at levels four, five and six to represent the student’s level of study. In this research students at the University of Wolverhampton and University of East London carried out comparable debates in terms of structure and provided their comments in questionnaires. The findings will focus on matters including student’s perspectives on the use of debates as a teaching strategy and their
perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of the debates structure at each level of study.
Brown, Z. and Wilson, M. (2015) 'Debating the use of in - class debates in Education Studies: A comparative investigation into the use of debates as a teaching strategy in Higher Education', paper presented to The 11th Annual Conference of the British Education Studies Association (BESA), 25–26 June, viewed 19 January 2020, <https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=7050>