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Irvington Middle School Eighth-Graders Learn Debate Skills

Eighth-grade English students at Irvington Middle School recently took part in a debate-style unit to learn how to argue a point in a debate.
Eighth-grade English students at Irvington Middle School recently took part in a debate-style unit to learn how to argue a point in a debate. Photo Credit: Irvington Middle School

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Learning how to argue a point during a debate is an important, and that's why students in English language arts classes at Irvington Middle School recently engaged in a debate using the text and illustrations provided in the “Slip or Trip” story.

The eighth-graders in Samantha Gold’s and Vanessa Gonsalves’ classes were divided into two teams to debate whether a character was murdered, or if he fell down the stairs after he slipped.

“Despite feeling strongly toward one side, the students were required to think flexibly during this activity and debate one side, even if they did not agree with it,” Gold said. “They had to work collaboratively with their debate team to make a list of evidence, talking points and a talking order.”

The introduction to the debate-style discussions and fact-finding to compose an argument ties into the eighth-graders’ ongoing work for the unit, which will culminate with an argumentative essay.

“The students will argue a topic they feel strongly about, defend it with various argumentative and persuasive techniques, and read widely to obtain the most information possible,” Gold added.

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