DEMO: Teaching the 21st Century Student

Perfect handbook for teaching critical thinking and developing higher order reasoning skills.


methods and activities through critical thinking and interaction

Dagmar Sieglová and Ioana Kocurová-Giurgiu

Illustrated by Viktor Melkes


Scientific reviewers: Joel Ian Deichmann, Ph.D. , Associate Professor of Geography, Global Studies, Bentley University, USA Prof. Dr. phil. Doris Fetscher, Fakultät Angewandte Sprachen und Interkulturelle Kommunikation, Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau, Germany Prof. RNDr. Luděk Sýkora, Ph.D. , Faculty of Science, Charles University, Czechia

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© Dagmar Sieglová, Ioana Kocurová-Giurgiu 2018 Ilustrations © Viktor Melkes 2018

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Printed in Czech Republic ISBN 978-3-946915-22-5

“Learning is about so much more than just filling in the right bubble.”

Barack Obama

ABOUT THE AUTHORS Mgr. DAGMARSIEGLOVÁ, M.S.Ed., Ph.D. receivedhermaster’s degree in inter- cultural communication and language education from the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA. She completed her doctoral degree in Linguistics at the School of Philosophy, Charles Uni- versity in Prague, Czech Republic. During her doctoral studies, she returned to the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting scholar where she spent two years pursuing her dissertation thesis research in child second language ac- quisition and learning; she cooperated with the Coffin and Gerry Schools in Marblehead, MA, and the Bernice A. Ray Elementary School in Hanover, NH. During her professional career, she gained managerial experience as a direc- tor of the study abroad program Lexia International in Prague, and later as an executive director of the Multicultural Center Prague. She also worked as a language teacher of English, German, and Czech for foreigners, and partici- pated in research projects focused on multilingualism, language policy and teaching, conversation analysis, and speech recognition. Dagmar hasmultidisciplinary interests. Her researchandpublishingactivities embrace topics from diversity management, marketing communication, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, and teaching methodologies. She provides training, workshops, lectures, seminars, and consultations to edu- cational institutions and companies. She develops teaching methodology materials, elearning programs, and conducts research in teaching and learn- ing at the tertiary level. She is interested in modern educational methods enhancing motivation, critical thinking, and peer interaction. Currently, she works as a lecturer, researcher, and methodologist at Škoda Auto University in Mladá Boleslav, teaching academic and business English, marketing com- munication, and intercultural management to both students and employees. Contact information: Mgr. Dagmar Sielgová, MS Ed., Ph.D. Teaching, training, consultations, methodologies, research Department of Language Training and Intercultural Competences Škoda Auto University Na Karmeli 1457 293 01 Mladá Boleslav Czech Republic Phone: +420 604 635 240 Email: LinkedIn:


IOANA KOCUROVÁ-GIURGIU, MA graduated from Lucian Blaga Universi- ty in Sibiu, Romania, with a major in Journalism & Communication and earned her M.A in Translation Studies at the same university, focusing on holy writings and script adaptation for television. Her passion, however, has always been the human interaction in different environments and how it reflects on information and language acquisition. Before teaching, her career path led her through various projects, from writing to PR to sales, where different skills were required. She realized soon enough that such essential aptitudes were not taught in universities, despite being a core requirement of most jobs. She has taught all varieties of English to business people, university students, and academics, and helped her cli- ents achieve their language goals successfully while inspiring in them a desire for self-study and personal growth. Currently, she works as a trainer and lecturer at Skoda Auto University in the Czech Republic. She built Academic English and Business Communi- cation courses that are run successfully and they incorporate workshops that promote transferrable skills required in the current labor market. As an IATEFL member, she regularly presents at international conferences around Central Europe and is a returning guest lecturer at RosenheimUni- versity of Applied Sciences, in Germany. Apart from also being a certified examiner, Ioana is a regular contributor to Modern Trends and Resources for Teachers of Foreign Languages Journal, published by the American Council, Moldova. Her current interests include a focus on learner motiva- tion and alternative examining methods. Contact information: Ioana Kocurova-Giurgiu, MA Teaching, couching, consultation Department of Language Training and Intercultural Competences Škoda Auto University Na Karmeli 1457 293 01 Mladá Boleslav Czech Republic Phone: +420 720 632 811 Email: LinkedIn: 0a014534/






5 6






11 11 12 15 15 17 21 22 26 26 26 28 29 30 31 32 34 37 39 40 41 43 44 45 46 35

Who can use the book How to use the book


Generation gap

Critical thinking and Bloom taxonomy

Cooperative learning

The three-phase learning cycle


Teacher-student relationship Teacher role and responsibilities Student role and responsibilities

Spatial conditions

Material needs

Institutional support


Common misconceptions




1.1.1 Peer dialogue 1.1.2 Peer reading

1.1.3 Reading through questioning

1.1.4 Mirror reading 1.1.5 Peer listening 1.1.6 Peer writing 1.1.7 Peer editing



47 48 49 50 52 54 56 57 58 59 60 62 64 66 73 75 77 79 81 83 85 88 90 92 94 96 98 70

1.2.1 Three-phase dialogue

1.2.2 Blindfold

1.2.3 Some stay - some stray

1.2.4 Jigsaw


1.3.1 Buzz groups 1.3.2 Opinion groups 1.3.3 Expert teams


1.4.1 Snowball

1.4.2 Circles

1.4.3 Round robin

1.4.4 Carousel








2.9 DICE








102 105 108

3.1 NOTE-TAKING: Coding systems 3.2 ORGANIZING THOUGHTS: Mind maps


3.3 CASE STUDIES: 6WH method 3.4 DILEMMAS: Binary analysis

111 114 116 119 123 126 130 133 140 141 145 148 151 153 155 157 159 161 163 165 167 169 171 173 175 177 179 180 182 137

3.5 PROBLEMS: Cause-and-effect analysis

3.6 STRATEGIES: Strategic analysis

3.7 COMPARISONS: Compare-and-contrast analysis 3.8 DECISIONS: Decision making process 3.9 SEQUENCING: Consecution and overlap 3.10 QUANTIFICATION: Counting and measuring




4.1.1 Asking questions 4.1.2 Presentation skills 4.1.3 Argumentation skills 4.1.4 Problem resolution skills

4.1.5 Negotiation skills


4.2.1 Gallery visits

4.2.2 Visitors

4.2.3 Poster sessions 4.2.4 Panel discussions


4.3.1 Grilling

4.3.2 Academic debate in four

4.3.3 Discussion web 4.3.4 Devil’s advocate 4.3.5 Four corners 4.3.6 Thinking hats


4.4.1 Role plays

4.4.2 Simulation games





187 189



192 195 197 200 203 206 209 212 216 219 222 225 229 231 233 235 237 239 241 244 246 248 251 253 255 255 256 257 258 259 260 229

5.3.1 Argumentative essay 5.3.2 Cause-and-effect essay

5.3.3 Strategy essay

5.3.4 Compare-and-contrast essay

5.3.5 Decision making essay

5.3.6 Narrative essay



5.5.1 Abstract

5.5.2 Academic poster

5.5.3 Thesis



6.1 SAMPLE LESSON 1: Introduction to economics

6.2 SAMPLE LESSON 2: Sectors of economy – pencil production chain 6.3 SAMPLE LESSON 3: Innovations in the automotive industry

6.4 SAMPLE LESSON 4: Autonomous cars 6.5 SAMPLE LESSON 5: Unconditional income 6.6 SAMPLE LESSON 6: The world great powers 6.8 SAMPLE LESSON 8: Presidential elections 6.9 SAMPLE LESSON 9: Work and motivation 6.10 SAMPLE LESSON 10: Gender gap 6.11 SAMPLE LESSON 11: Quota for women 6.12 SAMPLE LESSON 12: Global warming 6.7 SAMPLE LESSON 7: Migration


TABLE 1: Activating techniques TABLE 2: Content analyses

TABLE 3: Speaking

TABLE 4: Compositions




I. THE RATIONALE BEHIND THE BOOK What happens when teachers ask students a question? Teachers’ most common answer to this question in the previous century would have been “silence”. In recent years, however, matters have changed. In the age of information technology, the internet, and social media, the students’ si- lence has a new meaning. Instead of diverting their gaze down or out the window, many of them grab their smart gadgets in the hopes of finding the answer there. New teaching approaches must be used to keep up with the phenomena of the information and communication era. Students’ active engagement needs to be maintained, and critical thinking refined. This book offers a set of techniques to help both new and experienced teachers change their pedagogy in the face of 21st century challenges. Who can use this book debate and professional exchange of know-how for effective instruction in the digital age. The publication builds on the latest findings in the are- as of modern teaching, such as Reading and Writing to Critical Thinking 1 (RWCT), second language acquisition 2 (SLA), or (Business) English as a lin- gua franca 3 ((B)ELF). It also reflects on modern concepts of practical lan- guage education adopting a functional approach accenting communica- tion and intercultural competencies, such as Content-Based Instruction 4 (CBI) or Content and Language Integrated Learning 5 (CLIL) as part of the current language and competence policy of the EU 6 . The approach described in this book is suitable for most subjects taught across the educational spectrum as it focuses on developing communica- tion and study competencies necessary for tackling educational tasks and challenges. It can be adapted to the very early stages of education; from pre-school or elementary learning, to the highest educational degrees. The publication is designed for all teaching professionals who are interest- ed in and motivated to incorporate modern teaching and learning meth- ods into their classroom interactions. It offers a student-centered approach which helps tackle classes of varied sizes as it presents a variety of work- ing arrangements for classroom management. These make teaching more interactive. The book is suitable for teachers of varied subjects because The book aims to create a shared space for practical application of the theoretical concepts relevant for 21st century higher education. It provides the teaching community with theory and practice for modern ap- proaches to instruction, ultimately promoting a social


it draws on a wide-range of topics ranging from social sciences, natural sciences, and with a certain degree of adjustment and creativity, it can be used by teaching professionals in technical fields. It promotes working with real life materials, and increases relevance by addressing current issues. The approach is oriented to communication skills and critical thinking which is particularly suitable for classes focused on language learning and communication. It especially serves those who are teaching other school subjects in English as a foreign language or who work with material which is published in English or other languages of international academic or professional debate in their classes. It also targets teachers of English for specific purposes, including academic English, business English or Eng- lish used in other professions. It can, however, be easily used in general English classes at all proficiency levels or courses adopting the CLIL or CBI approach or in any type of training which accentuates communication skill development. The book provides a wide-range of techniques for working with resources of various origins, such as text, audio, or video. It develops skill in research- ing credible resources, how to create perspective about the topic, how to organize, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize, as well as reflect, and present the material. It allows for a critical view and helps to formulate opinions. It also offers qualified advice for study strategies, i.e. writing composition techniques and formats, as well as speaking and presentation skills. The publication is also a valuable source for developing the essential com- munication competencies in a foreign language. It focuses on cultivating productive skills such as oral expression (speaking, presenting, arguing, or defending one’s own points), or writing composition (writing techniques, composition formats). At the same time, it helps promote receptive skills, such as reading or listening comprehension. While focusing on work with real life material from natural resources, not textbooks, it advances un- derstanding. It also addresses cooperative learning techniques, to hone skills in expressing opinions, or negotiating meaning among peers. How to use the book This book is designed to meet the criteria of 21st century educational ob- jectives and develop strong critical thinking in students, and is organized to reflect the structure of the three-phase learning process including ac- tivation, analysis and application. Chapters 1 through 5 make a complete set of techniques to design a lesson from the beginning to the end, includ- ing each activity set-up and organization.


Chapter 1 sets the foundation for the rest of the book. Called COOPER- ATIVE LEARNING, it describes varied interactive techniques for the class- room, applicable to the activities in the following chapters. Chapter 2 introduces general ACTIVATING TECHNIQUES for opening a les- son that help motivate and prepare students for work with content. Chapter 3 describes techniques for CONTENT ANALYSIS of any resourcema- terial used in lessons. Individual methods teach students how to analyze, synthetize, critically evaluate, and solve problems using the newly acquired knowledge. Each method shows related visualization techniques helping to extract and reorganize data for a given purpose. Chapter 4 prepares students for practical application of their knowledge in SPEAKING practices. Students learn strategies for presentations, de- bates, group discussions, negotiations, or sessions resolving conflicts, and practice them in various simulated real-life scenarios. Chapter 5 applies new knowledge and skills in writing practices. Students learn a variety of formats for COMPOSITIONS needed in business, admin- istration, professional, or academic settings. Chapter 6 provides SAMPLE LESSONS showing the teacher how to struc- ture lessons while applying the techniques described throughout the book.

Each sub-chapter consists of a set of sections. Sections What & Why in- troduce the concept of eachmethod or technique and explain its purpose, benefits, and basic use. Sections How to set up describe the procedure for application in a lesson. The techniques presented throughout chapters 2-5 also suggest links coded in purple , indicating which cooperative learning methods from chapter 1 are best applicable for varied activities. Links in green , then, in-


terconnect the activity with methods and activities from the other chap- ters, to help the user construct a complete lesson covering all phases – activation, analysis, and spoken, as well as written reflection. At the bottom of each method there is a TEACHER TIP box, suggesting hints that the teacher may use in explaining each activity, motivating the students through, or guiding them to self-study.



Peer reading

PEER READING is a cooperative learning method that helps with comprehension of texts of varied difficulty. Its aim is to grasp the content step by step through in- terpreting and explaining it to each other in pairs. Peer reading is most suitable for theoretical or course relat- ed texts when the content is complicated, or informa- tion is compact. It is also a good method for self-study when peers or friends want to cooperate or help each other beyond the classroom. Ideally, the learners review the text individually first, to get a rough idea about the title, the area of study and the topic. They should also become cognizant of its author and his or her viewpoints. Readers then focus on the structure, review the chapters, sections, and individual paragraphs and try to capture the text organization, general outline, and logic. When studying the material together, numerous tasks can be pursued. Based on the text length, partners first agree on dividing it into mean- ingful small units, such as subchapters or paragraphs. Then, they apply multiple perspectives in capturing the content. They can start with agree- ing on key words, searching for leading ideas, or suggesting for each par- agraph or section a title. Partners may proceed to reviewing each section by summarizing its content, or paraphrasing its key ideas. They may alter- nate tasks and give each other feedback. Peer reading is also a goodpreparation technique formore advancedwork with resources. Partners may proceed to the content analysis (Ch. 3), de- construct the resource, develop a relevant visual key, such as a mindmap, graph or diagram, and further reconstruct the content together.




The JIGSAW constellations may at first appear to be more difficult to coor- dinate, but, they serve as a very powerful cooperative learning technique. The class gets divided into small teams of 3+ students. Either a single resource is divided into a number of sections, one per team member, or a set of varied materials of a common theme is distributed to individual students in each team. Every learner in the team works with his or her as- signed part. Students start studying individually first. Then, they explain the content of their part or resource to each other within their home team. When finished, they leave their home teams to form expert teams com- posed of the students who worked with the same material or section in the other teams. In case of a larger class, more expert groups or pairs may be formed for efficiency. Expert groups exchange their understanding, clarify meanings, or work toward an assigned task for the given section (e.g. they search for arguments, identify keywords). Then, they return to their home teams to complete their mutual task (e.g. design a strategy, suggest a solution, defend a point).

Jigsaw constellations are a very powerful cooperative learning technique, as they help handle and actively involve larger groups. The technique is ideal for sessions of 6+ participants. When applied in larger groups, though, the teacher needs to expect the task to be more technically chal- lenging and time consuming. The more students in each home group or the higher number of these groups, the more time that needs to be allo- cated for the activity. This technique also provides opportunity for work- ing with varied levels of learner competencies. The selected study mate- rial can either be split into equally demanding sections, or can be divided so it reflects varied levels of expertise by content or length. This cooperative learning technique is ideal for content analyses (Ch. 3). It was originally designed for working with text, but it can be applied to other types of material as well. The teacher can assign each expert group



Opinion groups

OPINION GROUPS are groups formed by participants who share a com- mon view on an issue, represent a special stance against other groups, or work on a shared topic or task. The assigned team’s task typically in- corporates a defense of a common view or a solution against the rest of the group. There is no prior role distribution within the team, unless roles naturally evolve, each member of the team contributes according to the situational needs. Teams can be flexible in size, but they stay working together from the beginning to the end. The opinion group set-up helps empower the participants to defend opinions and can yield strong and involved interaction.

Opinion groups are easy to organize and flexible in size. Prior to organizing the groups, the teacher introduces the topic or the task and the expected outcome. The groups need to be organized so they reflect the opinion or shared interest, rather than the social climate or cliques. The number and size of the groups may vary from two to many, or the class can be split in a half. Thanks to shared interest, opinion groups are easier to motivate and the individual teammembers’ commitment is likely to be high. Opinion groups are perfect for brainstorming sessions, and thus, adopt- able for many of the activating techniques (Ch. 2). Providing the materi- al or task is distributed among groups by interest rather than by teacher assignment, they are suitable for content analyses (Ch. 3) and follow-up group presentations (Ch. 4.2) of commonly generated results. Opinion groups are excellent training of argumentation skills (Ch. 4.1.3) and a very good preparation for group debates (Ch. 4.3). They can also form among term projects with assigned composition outcomes, such as the argumentative essay (Ch. 5.3.1), decision making essay (Ch. 5.3.5), case study (Ch. 5.4), or research project (Ch. 5.5).



Rotating flips

What & Why

ROTATING FLIPS is a potent brainstorming method drawing on participants’ active and passive knowl- edge and their lived experiences. The method is based on ‘sending’ a problem from one group to another to

share existing awareness about that issue. The result is a collection of knowledge and assumptions, as well as questions for further inquiry which create a fertile ground for new learning. The method not only raises curiosity for new topics, but also contributes to realization of meanings and building and retention of vocabulary and concepts.

How to set up This method is suitable for introducing terminology or key questions re- lating to a problem or issue. 1 The teacher selects a set of topic-relevant tasks, such as key terms, concepts, subjects, questions, problems, or dilemmas. 2 The students organize into the number of groups equivalent to the number of tasks. The number of tasks can be adjusted to the size of the class and the prospective groups, and vice versa. 3 Each group gets one task, a flip-chart sheet of paper, and a few mark- ers. They start working on the first task; they note definitions, expla- nations, analyses, evaluations, provide examples, or add visuals. 4 After they are finished, all groups send their charts to the neighboring groups. All flips rotate in the same direction. Groups review the infor- mation in turns and add their notes. They comment or correct each of the tasks. If a group gets stuck, the teacher encourages them to make guesses, inferences, or associations.


5 Student autonomy and an atmosphere of trust are crucial for this activity. The teacher stresses that the process is the important part. There will not be assessment on answers. In fact, if a student has no prior knowledge about a story, they are encouraged to make inferenc- es based on morphology, phonetic resemblance, or associations. 6 When posters return to the original groups, students prepare a short presentation. They review, assess, and evaluate, then decide for the best solution, summarize, and discuss it with the class. To achieve high learning and efficiency with this method, the recommend- ed number of groups and tasks is maximally 5. An ideal constellation of groups are dialogue in pairs or triples (Ch. 1.1.1), larger groups may make the activity too time consuming, tedious, and less effective. Teams of the situation adjusted size in the form of buzz groups (Ch. 1.3.1) or opinion groups (Ch. 1.3.2) are also an option.

Explain to your students that this technique works on the principle that “two heads are better than one”. Encourage them to adopt this approach when studying or brainstorming in other contexts; have them ask their friends or peers what they know, think, would do, or experience about the issue.




DILEMMAS: Binary analysis

What & Why BINARY ANALYSIS, commonly referred to as a PRO AND CON list, is an ap- proach related to counter perspectives. It applies to any discussion of a black and white problem, such as a dilemma, opposing or conflicting views, or a problemwith two or more alternatives standing strictly against each other. The problem typically debates between pros and cons, posi- tives vs. negatives, agreements and disagreements, advantages or disad- vantages, or weighs yes against no. The visual representation to binary analysis is a T-GRAPH or TABLE , both consisting of the dilemma as a heading and two columns for contrasting the entries. Binary analysis is a good preparation for defending argu- ments, opinions, or individual positions in a structured and professional manner.

How to set up The teacher identifies resources which set up the topic to be either black or white. It can be a problem or issue. Either a single resource or a set of varied materials can be used. 1 The learners are instructed to search for any reference related to ei- ther side of the problem. As a first step, an appropriate note-taking (Ch. 3.1) coding technique should be chosen, such as the P-M-I meth- od or a customized set of codes adjusted to the type of problem (A-D for advantages and disadvantages, Y-N for yes and no etc.). 2 The note-taking should be followed by developing a visual representa- tion of the analysis using a T-Graph or table. 3 The teacher provides support or feedback, gives hints, or discusses questions.


4 To achieve the learning objectives and develop critical thinking, stu- dents naturally continue the analysis with taking a stance regarding the binary question. This analysis helps the learners to organize argu- ments and defend their point. To enhance learning, a proper cooperative learning technique should be chosen. For a binary analysis involving two opposing poles, a pair coop- eration is suitable, for example peer dialogue (Ch. 1.1.1) or peer read- ing (Ch. 1.1.2). Pairs may also join into groups of four, as described in the three-phase dialogue (Ch. 1.2.1) . Another alternative for cooperation is the jigsaw (Ch. 1.2.4) technique, in which opinions are gradually formed in expert andmixed groups, assembling the results fromboth opinion views. Jigsaw is particularly appropriate when multiple resources are available. In case the opinion poll in the class is almost equal, the class may be di- vided into opinion groups (Ch. 1.3.2) . The learners may, however, also be assigned to work in groups regardless of their personal attitudes, such as buzz groups (Ch. 1.3.1), as practicing to see the others’ perspective is also important. The binary analysis of data in classes usually prepares for further speak- ing or composition practices. The group cooperation may be summarized through a chosen class presentation fair (Ch. 4.2) or may lead to training for argumentation skills (Ch. 4.1.3), later applied within a relevant group debate format, for example grilling (Ch. 4.3.1), academic debate in four (Ch. 4.3.2), discussion web (Ch. 4.3.3), or devil’s advocate (Ch. 4.3.4). The binary problem approach may further serve as an outline for a writ- ten summary (Ch. 5.1) or for a properly structured argumentative es- say (Ch. 5.3.1). Binary analysis is frequently used as one of the methods in larger compositions such as academic posters (Ch. 5.5.2) or theses (Ch. 5.5.3) when a dilemma or a problem is being analyzed and solved .

Your students must know the importance of being able to orient within a topic as well as work- ingwith a large bank of arguments, to be able to defend their point in discussions involving two sides. Prior to any debate or argumentation, give your students time to prepare. Teach them to use T-graphs or tables. Encourage themto anticipate the other side’s arguments by stepping in their shoes, and training not to focus solely on themselves. Tomake a strong case, they should demonstrate profound familiarity with both sides of the story. Speakwith your students about the importance of a good preparation, the advantages of understanding both sides of the opinion spectrum, as well as the life significance of being challenged with varied opinions.




Argumentation skills

What & Why

ARGUMENTATION is the act or process of reasoning in support of an idea, action, or theory. People argue to justify a belief or a decision, convince others about strategies, solutions or plans, or to influence the behavior of others. Argumentation usually occurs during

discussions,negotiations, orpresentations in the formof adialoguebetween two opponents or opinion groups. The ability to identify and understand both explicit and implicit goals and arguments of different opinion sides is instrumental in understanding argumentation. This assumes a set of skills following a general structure.

Good argumentation skills rely on politeness and respect. To secure a civ- ilized debate, the arguing parties should follow rules that include:


Argumentation principles

Precise turn taking No interruptions, one speaker speaks at a time. Wait until others finish speaking, contributions should be signalized. Proper body language Direct eye contact, body should be oriented toward the audience. Non-aggression No personal attacks, confront issues, not people. Active listening Listen carefully to what the others are saying. Ask clarifica- tion questions, answer questions fully and clearly. Mutual respect Acknowledge other people's ideas, use empathy, no ridicule. Politeness strategies Use proper formulations, polite phrases, and respectful lan- guage in agreement or disagreement.

How to set up The teacher introduces the general structure for argumentation and provides strategies, including the typical formulation and signposting language phrases. These include phrases to introduce an argument, to provide reasoning and evidence of the point, to acknowledge the oppo- nent’s view, to find a stronger argument to reason out the opponent, and to reassert one’s own position. 1 In each argumentation activity, students should first accept general rules that the class either develops cooperatively or receives from the teacher. 2 Deliberate preparation is essential for effective argumentation. The learners need to be guided through a preparation phase when they collect reasons in support of their point. Binary analysis (Ch. 3.4) of the problem using a T-graph or a SWOT analysis (Ch. 3.6) further dis- tinguishing the positive and negative effects from the perspective of internal and external forces are the most suitable approaches to pre- pare for argumentation. The reasoning behind the decision making (Ch. 3.8) process using decision tables or decision trees is another ap- proach to justify one’s position. 3 To be able to effectively out-argue their opponents, the learners also need to refine their ability to anticipate opposing arguments. As they review all possible pros and cons, advantages or disadvantages, pos-


itive or negative effects, agreements and disagreements, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities or threats, they need to pay attention to their opponent’s perspectives. The reverse view helps to foresee the other side’s argumentation, refute related drawbacks in reason- ing, and advocate for the opponent’s acceptance. Argumentation needs to be trained in cooperation. To increase individual involvement, students should work in pairs (Ch. 1.1). To refine assertive- ness and role-sharing, students can be organized in teams (Ch. 1.3). Suitable classroom activities aimed at practicing argumentation are describedinthethirdsectionof thischapter.Theseinclude grilling (Ch.4.3.1) to practice for situations when one person argues against all. Academic debate in four (Ch. 4.3.2) prepares for argumentation in small teams. The discussion web (Ch. 4.3.3), the four corners (Ch. 4.3.5), and the thinking hats (Ch. 4.3.6) techniques help students develop their argumentation as they allow for changing or correcting their views in the process. The devil’s advocate (Ch. 4.3.4) enhances the ability to understand and prepare for opposite perspectives.

When you are teaching argumentation and debate, make sure you give your students enough time to collect and prepare a bank of arguments and relevant proof. Have them use a T-graph to review the existing points and make sure they understand the importance of learning how to anticipate and acknowledge the opponent’s arguments. Explain to your students the importance of civilized argumentation in their communication with other people. Teach them practical phrases they can use in a professional debate. Make sure they are assertive but courteous, respectful, tolerant, actively listening, and avoiding emotional reactions.




Discussion web

What & Why

DISCUSSION WEB is a debating technique focused on cultivating argumentation skills in larger social set-ups. Two opinion groups take turns arguing over a binary question following a predefined set of rules. Opinion sides alternate in taking turns, students should not in- terrupt, and they learn to acknowledge their opponents’

arguments prior to raising their own. This method teaches patience, ac- tive listening, and the ability to react to opposing arguments through pair- ing contrasting arguments together. The discussion web usually works on a predefined set of rules:

Discussion web rules

1. No interruptions, one speaker speaks at a time. 2. Opinion sides strictly alternate. 3. Maximum one argument per turn. 4. Maximum 1 minute per turn. 5. Prior to introducing own argument, the opponent's argument should be rephrased. 6. Changing one's mind and migrating between groups is allowed.

How to set up The discussion web requires careful preparation and needs to be allocat- ed enough time. It is ideal to precede this speaking practice with a con- tent analysis related activity aimed at a binary problem (Ch. 3.4). The discussion web is not complicated in organization, but it requires intense moderation from the teacher. The preparation for the activity may extend over one or two teaching units. 1 The teacher introduces the dilemma, problem, or issue to be argued. 2 To develop a strong foundation of arguments for both opinion sides, as well as to handle larger group sizes, the participants are instruct- ed to collect points for arguments using the binary analysis T-graph (Ch. 3.4). The teacher guides the learners to make sure each argument on both sides of the graph links to a counter argument. The students


work in pairs or other cooperative learning set-ups. Every learner needs to keep their own records of arguments to be able to argue dur- ing the debate independently. This increases their chances to take an active part in the debate. 3 The teacher instructs the participants to form two opposing groups. Each group takes a position in a separate area of the room. The teach- er instructs the opponent groups to compile their T-graph records from their previous preparation in smaller units into a list of argu- ments supporting their side. The list needs to be easily visible to all the group members. If the classroom has a flip board, the opinion sides can gather behind it or a large sheet of paper can be placed for each group on a desk. 4 The teacher explains the debate rules and displays them in a central spot. When preparation is finished, the teacher explains the rules to the groups. The debate starts with each group nominating a speaker who briefly (in about 3 minutes) introduces their position. Then, the opinion sides alternate according to the discussion rules. 5 The discussion web needs to be moderated either by a selected stu- dent or by the teacher. The moderator makes sure the discussion rules are followed precisely. He or she may also decide to nominate speak- ers, if the debate turns into a discussion between two dominant per- sonalities taking the floor from others or if the participants tend to be hesitant to argue. The moderator also helps rephrase the opposing arguments when speakers experience trouble. 6 Opinion change is allowed. If the opponentsmanage to convince some of the participants, they may switch argumentation sides.

Explain to your students that one of the main purposes of this exercise is to become active listeners and develop the ability to acknowledge the opponents’ arguments. Challenge stu- dents to treat their opposing parties as a resource that will help them learn, grow personally, and broaden their perspectives. It is also a good idea to tell them that changing opinions if convinced by the counter arguments is not a sign of weakness but a demonstration of intellect, fair play, and excellence. Prepareyourstudents indiplomacy.Teachthemassertivebutpolite,non-aggressive language that will help them prevent ugly controversies, offences, or fights. They should acknowledge out loud and consider the opponent’s argument and build their defense upon it.




Devilʼs advocate

What & Why

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE is a reverse discussion technique when two opinion sides argue over an issue but from the opposite end of the argumentation other than their own. For the sake of strong argumentation and deep analysis of the problem, the participants learn how to put themselves in the oppo- nent’s shoes, that is, on the side they would eventually need

to out-reason in reality. The participants get a hands-on experience with the opposing mind-set, and thus, learn how to prepare for debates with relevant and strong counter arguments. This exercise cultivates empathy, respect, and the ability to acknowledge multiple perspectives. It contrib- utes to a civilized, objective, balanced, and efficient social debate. How to set up The devil’s advocate approach is a powerful but technically demanding method for the teachers and a mentally challenging exercise for the stu- dents. It requires excellent preparation on the part of both parties. The method needs a generous amount of time; ideally one or two teaching units. During the devil’s advocate exercise, the teacher may experience resistance frommore conservative or dogmatic students who sometimes feel uneasy andmay even refuse to act against their conviction. This activ- ity is adoptable for all size classes. It can take place in pairs, small groups, or with the whole class split in half. 1 The teacher defines the topic, which should incorporate a dilemma, problem, or issue ensuing opposing perspectives. 2 A thorough binary analysis (Ch. 3.4) activity of resources elaborating on the debated issue should precede the speaking practice. The anal- ysis can be organized as peer reading (Ch. 1.1.2), through the three- phase dialogue (Ch. 1.2.1), or using the jigsaw technique (Ch. 1.2.4) to cooperatively generate a list of enough supporting arguments for the debate. 3 After the analysis is complete and a comprehensive list of arguments ready, the participants are guided to organize into opinion groups ac- cording to their own beliefs. Each opinion group reviews arguments to support their point. 4 When groups are finished with preparation, the teacher explains rules for argumentation (Ch. 4.1.3) and displays them on a sign, screen, or


board. The discussion web (Ch. 4.3.3) rules may be adopted as an al- ternative. 5 The opponent groups start debating their points against each other following the argumentation rules. The teacher does not at first reveal the plan to switch them for argumentation of the other side’s perspec- tives. 6 After the debate develops, the teacher interrupts it and guides the stu- dents to switch opinion sides. Groups receive time for reviewing the opposing arguments before continuing the debate. 7 The debate should be coordinated by a moderator who helps re- phrase the arguments and ensures equal participation by managing the length of time a speaker has the floor. The moderator can be the teacher or a student can be nominated. 8 The debate lasts until all arguments get depleted.

Have the students understand that preparing just their side of the argument is not enough to build a strong defense. To better see in their opponent’s mind, they should pay equal atten- tion in summarizing arguments from both sides’ perspectives. The best tool for preparation is a T-graph (Ch. 3.4), as it allows for organizing arguments from varied resources and helps to pair contrasting arguments. Such pairing will develop the ability to have strong counter arguments at hand. Stepping in the other side’s shoes helps run proper debates which are on point and relevant, without digressing, or arguing different points, making it easier to judge the debate and out-reason their opponents.




Argumentative essay

What & Why An ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY is one that demonstrates that the writer’s opinion or assessment of a topic or issue is better or closer to the truth than other approaches. To build a valid and informed argument, the writ- er must stick to reason, make deductions, draw conclusions, and apply them to the case in question. Argumentative essays address binary problems or dilemmas (Ch. 3.4). They apply whenever there is a need to analyze a problem, account for personal stances against opponents, compare pros and cons, choose between one of two options, assess the opposite side’s argumentation against one’s own, or argue one’s own point.


To outline an argumentation, the writer needs to investigate the topic, take a stance, compile and evaluate evidence, as well as advocate their own position against an opponent. An indivisible part of argumentation is the acknowledgement and reasoning of the opponent’s argument. Strong argumentative essays typically follow a standard structure described in the box above. How to set up A convincing argumentative essay requires good preparation of argu- ments. Prior to the lesson, the teacher needs to assign topics and assess relevant resources that discuss the issues or dilemmas from both sides. 1 The teacher guides thestudents tocritically reviewthe literature, adopt a relevant note-taking technique, and organize their arguments into a visual solution. The P-M-I coding system (Ch. 3.1) is recommended for notes and the T-graph or table (Ch. 3.4) for extracting arguments and outlining the text. Students may also be assigned to conduct their own investigation for further resources on the issue. 2 An argumentative essay starts with a statement introducing the dilemma and the author’s stance. With each argument introduced, students are instructed to provide evidence. It is also necessary to explain how to approach the acknowledgement of the opposing views without demolishing one’s own reasoning or being impolite. Students practice how to draw in the counterarguments, efficiently out-reason them, and coherently advocate for their own position. 3 A good argumentative essay concludes with the author’s claim set into a wider context. 4 As far as the length of the paper goes, the only limitation relates to the number of arguments the author ismaking. Argumentative essaysmay range from one paragraph to a few pages or may set the methodology and structure for larger research projects (Ch. 5.5).

Remind your students that the aim of an argumentative essay is not to convince, but rather to explain that the point they are trying to make is worth considering. To do so, students must make a compelling argument supported by credible evidence and formulate their own stance on the topic. A balanced argumentation will consider all views on the topic and will set the author’s stance in a wider context. Like in real life, tell your students that if none of the potential op- posing views can be refuted, they may need to reconsider their position and that is alright. Explain to them that writing argumentative essays helps them to form their own opinions and get better in discussions or debates.








1. Rotating flips * Key terms

Buzz groups




Jigsaw Home groups divide one text into parts Expert groups study individual text parts

2. Note-taking: P-M-I method ** arguments for (+), against (-), questions (?)




3. Binary analysis: T-graph

Jigsaw Home groups merge all information from text



APPLICATION 4. Discussion web Separated argument

4.3.3 Opinion groups


Two opinion groups

compilation for each opinion side

4.3.4 Opinion groups

5. Devil’s advocate Switch sides, exercise the opposite view


Reverse perspectivess

6. Argumentative essay Express argumentation in support of your stance

5.3.1 Peer writing Peer editing

1.1.6 1.1.7



methods and activities through critical thinking and interaction

Dagmar Sieglová and Ioana Kocurová-Giurgiu

Illustrated by Viktor Melkes

Published in Germany by rw&w Science & NewMedia Passau-Berlin-Prague, an international publishing project of SüdOst Service GmbH, AmSteinfeld 4, 94065 Waldkirchen, Bayern/Germany Cover & Layout Eva Rozkotová Publishers Printed in Czech Republic by powerprint s.r.o., Prague

ISBN 978-3-946915-22-5

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