Debating the issue: Using university student debates to facilitate active student engagement in sport and exercise science

R M Sealey, M J Crowe


“Debate refers to the process of considering multiple viewpoints and arriving at a judgment” (Kennedy, 2007, p. 1). The team with the most persuasive argument usually wins the debate. Class debates “involve active and cooperative learning, stimulate critical thinking and student interest, facilitate discussion and can improve oral communication skills” (Budesheim & Lundquist, 1999, p. 106). Debates are useful when discussing subjects that have no definitive answer, or that may be obscured by fallacies or media jargon. In addition, by assigning students the position they will argue, the teacher may eliminate student discomfort with arguing a controversial topic.

The aim of this project was to document the process of using topic-based debates
in sport and exercise science higher education curriculum and to report subsequent student perceptions of the effectiveness of the debates with respect to improving and facilitating the acquisition of generic skills. 


public speaking; team work; critical thinking

Full Text:



Budesheim, T. L., & Lundquist, A. R. (1999). Consider the opposite: Opening minds through in-class debates on course-related controversies. Teaching of Psychology, 26(2), 106–110.

Kennedy, R. (2007). In-class debates: Fertile ground for active learning and the cultivation of critical thinking and oral communication skills. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 19(2), 183–190.



  • There are currently no refbacks.