About Ginny Hoover...
Ginny Hoover took an early retirement after 31 years of teaching in Kansas public schools. Her experience spans the 5th through 8th grades. During the last ten years she has functioned as a trainer of teachers in a variety of areas in her district, surrounding districts, professional organizations, and teacher service centers. At the state level Ginny is a state trainer for the KS State Writing Assessment (based on the Six Traits Writing Model), a member of the Kansas Social Studies Committee for writing the social studies standards, benchmarks, and indicators, and the lead trainer for the state in government and civics.
Recently, Teacher TimeSavers published a variety teaching units and tutoring hookups that Ginny wrote and designed. These include a Six Traits materials, literary unit for Taming the Star Runner, Hookups for Language Arts, Transcripts of Trials for Goldilocks, The Wolf, and Mr. Dad, and Tactile/Kinesthetic Activity Patterns.
The Gifts of Children by Hoover and Carroll Killingsworth, a book about recognizing, acknowledging, and refining the gifts of children, is scheduled to be published some time this year. Visit Teachers Helping Children--The Gifts Project for additional information.
Joyce McLeod, Jan Fisher, and Ginny will soon have a classroom management book to be published by ASCD. It will cover managing time and space, managing the classroom, and managing instructional strategies.
The Gifts of All Children
by Carroll Killingsworth and Ginny Hoover
The Eclectic Teacher
by Ginny HooverDebates in the Classroom---A List of Ten!
With the world situations being as they are, a strategy that is quite effective to explore controversial subjects---debate.
Classroom debates need not be formal, but they need to follow some basic rules before they occur.
Student needs to have a knowledge base of both pro and con positions. (Without this, the debate is useless---to argue without knowledge is fruitless.)
Over-emotionalism is out of place.
Respect for the individual is important---dispute the facts; don’t attack the messenger.
Classroom management must be at high level. Public cruel comments once said cannot be rescinded by an apology. The damage may be long lasting, depending on the target of the unkind remarks.
Students need to learn to build a case---set the foundation, fill in the rest.
Students need to be taught the difference between being open-minded as opposed to narrow-minded. They need to realize that people who are open-minded have greater opportunity to learn. They may not change their minds, but will better understand the opposition.
It needs to be decided how the classroom debates will be managed from the point of view of debates. Will the pros or cons go first? Will the debate be informal with turn taking between the pros or cons? If the whole class participates, will students take turns, raise hands, or go with the flow?
It is sometimes a valuable tool to have a command statement or word that indicates the debate has strayed or too many emotions are being displayed (i.e., "on topic please"). For younger students, this could be role played to help them understand procedure.
When the debate nears the end, the sides should present a plea for change. Students should be able to define what it is they want changed, how they want it changed, and why they want it changed.
If everyone genuinely wants to be pro or wants to be con, then debate is not the best strategy. Perhaps a discussion strategy should be used.
For a printable version of this article click here.