Conference Papers

The use of debates as a teaching strategy in increasing students’ critical thinking and collaborative learning skills in Higher Education

This paper will explore the use of debates as a teaching strategy that has the potential to heighten students’ critical thinking and collaborative learning. Students undertaking a Childhood studies degree had weekly debates that linked media represented topics to theoretical content from the module. This module covered a range of theoretical and practical perspectives in relation to the child, family and society. Therefore, weekly debates included the changing nature of childhood, the diversity of family relationships, childhood obesity and the differing ways in which children are socialised. The research focused on students’ perspectives on the use of debates as a teaching strategy in this module. The data was collected using a card-sort and structured interview questions. This research found students held positive perspectives on its use to further critical thinking and presentation skills in session. However, this research found that students sought more structure and placed importance on all students contributing for learning to be extended further. This paper will reflect upon the use of debates in this module and critically consider how the use of debates could have been adapted to better meet the needs of these students and further enhance critical thinking and collaborative learning.

Brown, Z. (2014) 'The use of debates as a teaching strategy in increasing students’ critical thinking and collaborative learning skills in Higher Education', paper presented to The 10th Annual Conference of the British Education Studies Association (BESA), 26–27 June, viewed 13 August 2020, <https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=1992>