Many Sides: Debate across the Curriculum

By Alfred Snider; Maxwell Schnurer | Go to book overview

Preface

The first edition of this book looked to be the one and only when it was originally published. I anticipated a small niche audience among some teachers. Although certainly not a best-seller, the book turned out to be very popular in a variety of disciplines, at a variety of levels of the educational system, and in a variety of countries. It seems as if teachers, educators, students all over the world are searching for educational methods that are active, involve critical thinking, and ask students to integrate knowledge and improve communication skills. This is certainly one of those methods.

The appeal of debate in the classroom is that it deals with a skill set that students need for success in the 21st century. It is not the only way to teach these skills, but it is useful in that it bundles many of them together into one activity. “Debate” per se is not the palliative in our quest to better prepare students for personal and social success; it is the skill set that is useful. Debate is a way to engage students in that skill set.

I know more about how to use this technique than I did when the first edition was written. Although familiar with debating as well as teaching classes at the university level, I lacked a firm understanding of the classroom situation in high schools and middle schools in different settings. Many teachers and educators have helped me improve my understanding. Since the first edition was published, I have worked in many schools and in many countries to share my ideas and, most important to me, learn from others.

I want to thank some of these individuals. Kate Shuster of the Claremont Colleges Debate Outreach program has helped me modify and adjust my goals and means. Bojana Skrt of Slovenia has been a tireless advocate for debate across the curriculum and has been a powerful force for promoting this technique in the Slovenian national school system. Liana Miholic and Martina Domanjnko of Slovenia, dedicated teachers with a willingness to experiment, have been very instructive. All of the members of the panel on this subject at the 2004 International Debate Education Association conference in Istanbul

-xv-

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