Literacy 7-12

Systems Change


When preparing for and debating with peers, students analyze, form, and express verbal arguments, fostering their critical thinking and literacy skills. In preparation for a debate, students research their topics and examine their evidence, practicing Critical Literacy and Argumentative Reasoning to form their persuasive arguments.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this high school teacher uses philosophical chairs to discuss a text they are reading. Through the debate, the students pay attention to the details of the text and provide evidence to support their argument. Structuring the activity with norms around language and evidence, including sentence frames, fosters their Composition and Argumentative Reasoning.

  • Teachers can try different debate formats, like philosophical chairs or fishbowl, to have students practice developing claims and counterclaims. These debate activities can still include the key components of a debate but with varying levels of competition and social engagement. Providing checklists or rubrics as well as sentence frames that reinforce what a good argument looks like can be helpful for students when they are constructing their arguments. When students present their arguments and claims in these engaging formats, they practice their Vocabulary and Syntax for more effective Composition.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how Kialo supports debate by creating a clear structure with claims on both sides for a thesis statement. With collaborative features like marking the relevance of the argument or asking for clarification, students can refine and bolster their arguments, building their Argumentative Reasoning.

  • Developers can use debate simulations to encourage students to practice these skills, which can be particularly effective for those who struggle to speak up in groups.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy