Suggested Age Range: Middle School – College/University
Debate is not a war of words, it’s a set of skills and mindsets that support productive conversations and help us deal effectively with local problems, as well as global problems.
When people think about a “debate,” the image that comes to mind is two people presenting competing positions, each attempting to win points by being persuasive and changing the other person’s mind. Following Doha Debates methodology, we position debating as a search for common understanding, building consensus, organizational learning, and planning and implementing joint interventions.
- Foster a safe environment for productive conversations.
- Support participants through a systems thinking process as they can grapple to understand complex global issues.
- Build social emotional skills, critical thinking skills and global competencies.
STEP 1 – EDUCATOR ACTION: PREPARE
- Select 1-3 films around the selected issue to screen in class.
- Gather background information on the issues to set goals and expand the conversation in the next stage.
- Gather your group and explain to them that they will be engaging in a different style of debate. Participants should understand:
– The class is a safe place to have open dialogue and to learn from diverse world views.
– The group will be exploring a complex global issue, or wicked problem, with the purpose of considering multiple world views, taking a systems thinking approach.
-How participants communicate and practice social emotional skills will be the key to their success.
As the facilitator of the conversation, it is important to consider what stance or position you take about the issue. Ultimately, you want to support the students and participants in having an open and honest discussion; this means holding an impartial stance without introducing bias or one’s personal agenda. See below Doha Debates Deep Dive Guide resource for more tips!
STEP 2 – EMPATHY: ENGAGE
- Screen the film(s).
- Students do a self-check in: How do you feel? Write a sentence or short paragraph.
STEP 3 – CRITICAL THINKING: REFLECT
- Students integrate personal connections to the stories and characters from the films.As a group, discuss the content using the following prompts:
-What surprised you about the film? What stood out to you?
-What did you learn from this video?
-How did watching this change what you already thought about the issue?
- Ask students to consider the following prompt: “I used to think…..but now I know.” Provide a few minutes for participants to journal this prompt.
STEP 4 – COLLECTIVE ENDEAVOR: ACT
- Ask participants to share their journaling with their peers.
- Together, visualize the systemic nature of the issue by writing on the blackboard or shared screen:
-Root causes of the problem( in red)
-Potential solutions (in green)
-Connect them with a different color highlighting the interdependence between them.
- Find 1 simple action the group agrees they can take and that it would contribute to the solution of the complex issue explored. Define a tracking system to assess the outcome.
General Lesson Duration:
The educator should choose a film(s) with an appropriate length to show in class given their lesson schedule. Conversations can last one class period, or multiple. Steps One and Two can be part of one class period, and Steps Three and Four in the second class period. Be sure to give students ample time to digest the film and learn about the topic.
Doha Debates works with Dr. Govinda Clayton, a senior researcher in peace processes at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich, to develop the Better Conversations video series. The series of eight short videos introduces the following skills:
- How to Get Along with Other People
- Set Clear Goals
- Manage Your Emotions
- Understand Their Story
- Master Listening
- Body Language Matters
- Change Your Approach
- Ending on a High Note
Educators may assign participants to explore the Better Conversations videos as a self-study project, using the simple prompts accompanying the videos on Doha Debates website.
This engagement model aligns with Global Competency standards, including:
Global competence is the capacity to analyze global and intercultural issues critically and from multiple perspectives, to understand how differences affect perceptions, judgments, and ideas of self and others, and to engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions with others from different backgrounds on the basis of a shared respect for human dignity.
- Knowledge and understanding of global issues
- Intercultural knowledge and understanding
- Analytical and critical thinking
- Ability to interact respectfully, appropriately and effectively
- Openness towards people from other cultures
- Respect for cultural otherness
- Investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, framing significant problems and conducting well-crafted and age-appropriate research.
- Recognize perspectives, others’ and their own, articulating and explaining such perspectives thoughtfully and respectfully.
- Communicate ideas effectively with diverse audiences, bridging geographic, linguistic, ideological, and cultural barriers.
- Take action to improve conditions, viewing themselves as players in the world and participating reflectively.
This engagement model aligns with these Common Core Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3: Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6: Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
This lesson plan aligns with the International Baccalaureate focus and subjects.
The IB prepares students to succeed in a world where facts and fiction merge in the news, and where asking the right questions is a crucial skill that will allow them to flourish. The programmes focus on teaching students to think critically and independently, and how to inquire with care and logic.
Middle Years Programme 11-16 years (MYP)
The MYP aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people who can empathize with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning. The programme empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. The result is young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers.
- Language and Literature
- Individuals and Societies
- Language Acquisition
- Physical and Health Education
Diploma Programme 16-19 years (DP)
The DP aims to make students aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases. It offers students and their teachers the opportunity to:
- Reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and areas of knowledge
- Consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world.
- Be aware of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge
- Recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world.
Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.
- Individuals and Societies
- Studies in Language and Literature
- The Arts (Film, Visual Arts)
- Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Design Technology, Sports, Exercise and Health Science)
Career-related Programme 16-19 years (CP)
The CP enables students to:
- Follow their chosen education and career pathways in life
- Combine academic subjects with their personal and professional interests and skills
- Engage in learning that makes a positive difference to their community
- Think critically and creatively
- Communicate clearly and effectively in a variety of situations
- Work independently and in collaboration with others
- Consider new perspectives and other points of view
- Develop greater self-confidence and self-awareness
- Demonstrate high levels of resilience and flexibility
- Be internationally-minded and globally aware
- Apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios and situations