The Positive Effect of Debate Inside the Social Studies Classroom


  • John Poddany University of Toledo


debate, social studies, comprehension, active participation


For far too long social studies classrooms having been missing a key aspect to bring classroom participation into instruction. The social studies classroom has been teacher-centered with an abundance of text to read and comprehend with little focus on bringing the students experiences and thoughts into the discussion. The social studies classroom is one that needs to prepare students for their civic duties outside of the classroom. This process begins with the students being able to form thoughts and opinions about topics to communicate to others. The strategy of using discussion questions that can lead to debate will also lead students to have a higher level of participation leading to better comprehension.


Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, handbook I: The cognitive domain. David McKay Co Inc.

Duhaylongsod, L. (2017). Classroom debates in middle school social studies: Moving to evidence and reasoning from personal attacks to evidence and reasoning. Middle Grades Research Journal, 11(2), 99–115.

Jagger, S. (2013). Affective learning and the classroom debate. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 50(1), 38–50.

Larson, B. (1999). Influences on social studies teachers’ use of classroom discussion. The Social Studies, 90(3), 125–132.

Ochoa-Becker, A. S., Morton, M. L., Autry, M. M., Johnstad, S., & Merrill, D. (2001). A search for decision making in three elementary Ccassrooms: A pilot study. Theory & Research in Social Education, 29(2), 261–289.

Sullivan, C. C., Schewe, A., Juckett, E., & Stevens, H. (2015). Strategically organic: One U.S. history teacher’s experience with class discussion. Social Studies Research and Practice, 10(2), 28–43.

Thornton, S. J. (1993). The social studies near century’s end: Reconsidering patterns of curriculum and instruction. Review of Research in Education, 20, 223-254.

Zare, P., & Othman, M. (2013). Classroom debate as a systematic teaching/learning approach. World Applied Sciences Journal, 28(11), 1506–1513.

Zorwick, L. W., & Wade, J. M. (2016). Enhancing civic education through the use of assigned advocacy, argumentation, and debate across the curriculum. Communication Education, 65(4), 434–444.



How to Cite

Poddany, J. (2021). The Positive Effect of Debate Inside the Social Studies Classroom . Learning to Teach, 10(1). Retrieved from



Section on Social Studies