Reflection: Lesson Planning Playing Devil's Advocate - Section 3: Playing Devil's Advocate


This is the first time this year I have students purposely challenge each other’s ideas. Though most students end up sticking to their original argument, the hope is that as they respond to challenges to their argument, they will find better ways of supporting their ideas and thus strengthen their argument. The benefits of this activity are not expected to appear until later lessons as it does take repeated practice to learn better ways of defending their opinion. The plan today was to establish a new routine in this class and to build on it. Students will be asked to explicitly challenge each other’s ideas in future lessons for the purpose of helping them improve their ability to argue. Today, only one student ended up changing her original position and, more importantly, her new position is based on a much more profound idea. Whereas her original position was based on the most typical response in the class, that alone you are able to focus, her new position speaks of the idea that it is possible to maintain individuality when in a crowd, a statement that reminds me of Emerson’s idea, “…the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness he independence of solitude…” This student was able to modify her position, replacing it with a much more sophisticated response. These are the type of improvements I hope students learn to make to their writing.

  Lesson Planning: Establishing A New Routine And Its Purpose
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Playing Devil's Advocate

Unit 14: A Short Writing Unit
Lesson 5 of 7

Objective: SWBAT strengthen their written arguments by engaging in an activity where they explicitly disagree with each other.

Big Idea: Playing devil’s advocate ignites the type of disagreement that pushes students to defend their arguments, thus strengthening them.

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