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Title: That's Debatable! How to Create Better Writers Using Micro-Debates  Marquita-Blades

Presenter: Marquita Blades, Ed.D., Abraham S. Fischler College of Education & School of Criminal Justice

Description: Strong writing is structured, rooted in evidence, displays proper tone, and requires some form of planning. It also presents a well-balanced summary of subject-area knowledge. Often, however, writers tend to write from comfort, even when writing is research-based. Because many writers tend to rely heavily on research that appears to be aligned with their anticipated outcomes or that readily supports their personal views, it is essential to teach them to also leverage research that does not. From teaching high school science students to coaching doctoral candidates, a common theme in writing is the lack of ability to differentiate between fact and opinion, making inferences, determining cause and effect, and making valid comparisons – all components of academic literacy. Using this strategy with my students, I have been able to improve not only their writing, but also the way they think about and process information.

That's Debatable! is a student-centered approach to academic literacy, discourse, and writing. Using the Claim Evidence Reasoning (CER) Framework, participants will explore a topic by examining a research article, preparing arguments both in support of and opposed to a proposed claim, and engage in academic discourse during the presentation phase by engaging in a micro debate. In this session, I will guide participants through the CER Framework and the micro-debate format. Participants will leave this session with the knowledge and resources required to engage their own students in micro-debates related to the topics currently being pursued in their courses.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Effectively implement the Claim. Evidence. Reasoning. (CER) Framework.
  • Describe the micro-debate format.
  • Discuss how That's Debatable! can be used to promote academic discourse, increase critical-thinking, and improve writing skills.
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