The Lost Art of Democratic Debate

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Debates afford our learners the opportunity to become better researchers, critical thinkers, eloquent speakers, and informed participants in our society. If you are planning to host debates in your classroom, try beginning by exploring the value of individual expression. Touching on issues such as same sex marriage and a recent Supreme Court case involving whether a golf cart should be permissible in a professional tournament, Michael Sandel essentially models how to formulate a sound argument by incorporating judgment, reason, and facts. After this, he emphasizes how we can "improve the terms of political discourse" by engaging directly with our moral convictions. 

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CCSS: Adaptable


  • Addresses the inherent value of debate and conviction in one's own argument
  • Opportunity to flip the video: create your assessment questions to check for understanding of the video, add additional resources, or create a discussion question for an online open forum (requires free online registration)

  • Because of length and slower pace, you may need to encourage class members to remain attentive