The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 07 2013

Best. Debate. Ever.

Day 97: Yesterday I wondered if I could take a good debate, and with some reflection, make it awesome. The answer: YES.

To put it simply, 6B blew my mind. Everyone was professional. Everyone was engaged. Speakers said, “I respectfully disagree” and “What she said resonates with me.” When a speaker said, “If you look at the evidence on Page 2, Paragraph 3,” my heart skipped a beat. My students looked and sounded like adults, respectfully making counter-arguments, using textual analysis, and making strong connections to both what we’d learned in class and their pre-existing knowledge. They even respectfully asked questions of each other to push the other side’s arguments!

In my head, this is what I had seen, but I was hoping it was generally clear to everyone involved. Then DP walked by me on her way out of class and said, “Best debate ever!” Then my science coordinator, who had observed the debate, cut me off as I was trying to figure out who won and said, “Sorry to interrupt, but that was incredible.”

In other words: Serious win. It’s one thing when classes are on task. But it is another, and wonderful thing when you see your kids acting with the maturity and skill of students (or even adults) several years older.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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