Curricular Debate and the Social Science 3.0 Professional Development Academy

The Chicago Public Schools Department of Literacy has asked the Chicago Debate Commission to conduct workshops on curricular debate at the Social Science 3.0 Professional Development Academy. We will be leading sessions on the incorporation of academic debate and argumentation methodology into the regular social science classroom.

Department of Literacy Social Science 3.0 Professional Development Academy sessions are being held for 5th – 12th grade CPS district and charter teachers, and will take place at the Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave., on the following dates:

Friday, December 7th
Wednesday, January 30th
Friday, March 1st
Tuesday, May 14th

Participating teachers are expected to attend all four PDA sessions. School administration representatives are encouraged to attend at least one session, in order to see what their teachers are learning and preparing to prepare to implement in their classroom instruction.

Participating teachers will be paid their regular school-day salary, in addition to a $250 stipend (for participating in the full Academy). Schools will be provided by the Department of Literacy substitute teacher coverage for the teachers who attend the PDA sessions.

The theme of the Academy is “Defining Liberty Locally and Globally.” Here is how we describe our workshops to the CPS Department of Literacy:

This is a session series in what some academic debate experts call curricular debate: training teachers to incorporate debate and, more broadly, evidence-based argumentation methods of instruction into their classroom teaching toolkit. The Common Core State Standards, in addition to the CPS Social Science Framework 3.0, isolate the ability to make an argument from evidence found in a complex, informational text, along with the capacity to think critically when engaging with other points of view, as probably the academic skills most essential to college and career readiness. This session series will demonstrate a variety of debate formats and argumentation exercises and activities usable by the middle and high school social science teacher. It will lay out a practical theoretical basis for making argument central to the classroom, in addition to providing a pedagogically coherent system of assessing student performance in argument and debate.

The CPS Department of Literacy has extended the deadline for CDL and CMSDL teachers to apply, to the end of the week, because of its special interest in the involvement of debate coaches in its Academy. Apply by completing the Professional Development Academy Application and sending it to Social Science Curriculum Specialist Monica Swope: CPS would prefer that applicants apply in teams of at least two teachers (per school — a debate coach teamed with non-coaches), but will accept solo CDL and CMSDL coach applications.

Academic debate — and more broadly the teaching of argument — are areas of pedagogy in which we have special, significant experience. They have the potential to make a big difference in the classroom, not only in competitions. The Social Science 3.0 Professional Development Academy will be an opportunity for us in Chicago to begin to find out how big.

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