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STRUCTURED ACADEMIC CONTROVERSY* Using constructive conflict to build habits of critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving (*adapted.

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Presentation on theme: "STRUCTURED ACADEMIC CONTROVERSY* Using constructive conflict to build habits of critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving (*adapted."— Presentation transcript:

1 STRUCTURED ACADEMIC CONTROVERSY* Using constructive conflict to build habits of critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving (*adapted from Dr. Louis Cristillos workshop at AUC in 2012) Aziza Ellozy Center for Learning and Teaching, Director Associate Dean for Learning Technologies

2 Workshop Goals Introduce participants to the cooperative classroom strategy Structured Academic Controversy Describe the different stages of this pedagogical approach for in-class adoption Have participants join in a SAC simulation and explore the various ways this strategy can be adopted in different settings

3 What is Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) ? A Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) is a type of cooperative learning strategy in which small teams of students learn about a controversial issue from multiple perspectives. The structured academic controversy technique is designed to engage students in controversy and then guide them to seek consensus.

4 What SAC does not do Present right or wrong Ask students about personal beliefs Marginalize unique views Accept all types of knowledge as equivalent Allow debate

5 When to introduce SAC The SAC should be introduced near the beginning of a course (syllabus) Instructional goal should be clearly stated, with the intent not to change anyone's mind or challenge personal beliefs, but to examine an issue form multiple perspectives It should be held after students and instructor have had time to know each other well enough to feel comfortable during the exercise.

6 Defining Conflict and Controversy… A conflict situation usually arises between parties (individuals or groups) who perceive they hold mutually incompatible objectives. 1 Any issue that creates a conflict of opinions is, by definition, a controversial issue. Is all conflict negative, destructive…? How can controversial issues be structured to develop habits of critical thinking and collaborative learning? 1.As quoted in Dr Cristillos workshop : de Reuck, A. (1984). In M. Banks (Ed.). Conflict in world society: A new perspective on international relations (pp. 96-111). New York: St. Martins Press.

7 Destructive conflict Educators often view intellectual conflict as undesirable, as it can lead to anger, hostility, rejection, divisiveness, damaged relationships, distrust, and decreased commitment to learning. Avoiding conflict can undermine interpersonal relationships weaken teamwork increase (individualistic) competitiveness

8 Constructive Conflict Constructive controversy exists when one persons ideas, information, conclusions, theories, and opinions are incompatible with those of another but the two parties engage in a structured discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of their positions in order to reach mutual agreement and synthesize novel solutions. How is this different from debate?

9 Lay down the ground rules a) Be respectful of each other. b) Be critical of ideas, not people. c) Listen to everyone's ideas, especially if you don't agree with them. d) Dont take criticism of your ideas as a personal attack. e) Try to understand both sides of the issue. f) Change your mind when the evidence supports this. g) Focus on the best decision or outcome, not on "winning." Scaffolding Structured Academic Controversy 1 1. From http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/sac/how.html

10 Students are placed in groups, and each group is divided into two pairs One pair develops and advocates the best case possible in support of the issue or question, and the other pair does the same in opposition to the issue or question The overall group goal is for students to reach consensus on the issue How to structure a constructive academic controversy… Groups and Teams

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12 Preparing position 1. Each pair prepares to advocate the best case possible for its position by researching, collecting evidence, and organizing the information into a persuasive argument that contains a thesis, a clear and persuasive argument, and a conclusion.

13 Preparing position 2. Each pair presents and advocates its position and listens carefully to and learns the opposing position. They repeat back the arguments of the other team in order to be sure that they understand them, asking clarifying questions as necessary.

14 Reverse perspectives 3. Each team reverses its role and now restates the opposing position and adds any new facts, evidence, ideas or understanding learned from the open discussion.

15 Open Discussion 4. Teams now engage in open discussion. They freely exchange ideas, facts, information and resources while still arguing in defense of their position. Following the rules of engagement, the teams critically explore and challenge the logic and evidence put forward by their opponents. The goal is for students to thoroughly learn the opposing position!

16 Synthesis and Consensus 5. The two teams now dissolve and drop all advocacy of their positions. As a united group, the students now work to: Summarize the best evidence and reasoning from both sides Integrate their ideas into a fresh synthesis and develop a position on the issue to which they can all agree. Each group presents its work to the class (e.g., report, poster, brochure, wiki, YouTube, Facebook, etc.)

17 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. SAC Simulation: Freedom of opinion and expression

18 Question: Should a government have the right to limit freedom of expression? Define expression and recognize its various forms. Examine the right to have an opinion and express that opinion without interference from any person or government. Participate in a Structured Academic Controversy to better understand the arguments on both sides.

19 SAC Simulation: Religion, Society, and Secular Government In 2004, France passed a law banning overt religious symbols (including the hijab) from public schools. Brainstorm ideas about why this law may have been passed and why it was controversial. Participate in a Structured Academic Controversy to better understand the arguments on both sides. Question: Should a secular government have the right to ban overt religious symbols in public schools?

20 Credits L. Cristillo, Structured Academic Controversy, Professional Development Exchange for Palestinian Educators AUC, March, 2012 http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/affective/sac_video.html http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/sac/index.html http://www.learning.ox.ac.uk/media/global/wwwadminoxacuk/loc alsites/oxfordlearninginstitute/documents/supportresources/lecturer steachingstaff/developmentprogrammes/AcadControversy.pdf http://www.nwabr.org/education/pdfs/PRIMER/PrimerPieces/SAC. pdf http://teachingprimarysources.wordpress.com/teaching-strategies/


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