Students gain insight into differing perspectives by examining a scenarios and engaging in a debate about the benefits/consequences of taking or avoiding responsibility.
One 20-minute lesson
The learner will:
This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to www.generationon.org.
Rationale for debate experience: Given that Abe Lincoln was a debater and given that any scenario has two sides or multiple perspectives, the debate format was selected to give students a "forced field" experience when examining a scenario. The guidelines have been provided to assist the process. This lesson provides extensions as well. This lesson may take longer than 20 minutes.
Teacher Note: Form the students into two groups. One group is assigned the pro side, and one is the con side. You may post the names in advance on the board under Pro and Con. It is recommended that you choose the scenario from Attachment Two that will have the most meaning for your class. Alternative: establish the debate team of 4-5 students per side, with the remainder of the class divided in sub groups (pro and con). Each Pro and Con group works on arguments, feeding their ideas to the 4-5 students who will present. During the debate, the non-debating students become the audience.
Tell the students that, like Lincoln, they are going to debate an issue related to taking responsibility. In a few minutes, they will be given a scenario to read and debate.
A second day of debates can occur using the one of the other scenarios provided.
OR three days of debates can occur with the following changes:
The teacher can elect to change the structure of the group process by having the classroom divided into three debate teams with equal numbers of students on both the Pro side and the Con side. Each group can be provided a scenario which will be debated. Each group (Pro side and Con side) would have 4-5 minutes to prepare their positions/presentations. The debate format, as listed, would be followed. The non-presenting groups would become the audience for the group debating.
Purpose of debate: to see both sides of a situation
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