The National Speech & Debate Association has announced a new partnership with the Boston Debate League to bring Evidence-Based Argumentation (EBA) to classrooms across the United States. The EBA professional developmentprogram helps teachers in all disciplines create a classroom environment where students regularly practice the 21st century skills of critical thinking, analysis, evaluation, questioning, and problem solving. Using EBA, teachers infuse their classroom with activities that teach a core skill of speech and debate: creating an argument on any subject by evaluating evidence, developing claims, and using sound reasoning. School districts can learn more about EBA, including sample activities and results, by visiting the EBA website.
Every district is on a journey. The incredible part of serving as a superintendent is having the privilege to help guide that journey based on what students need to be successful. When I came to Gunter ISD seven years ago, our students and staff were highly successful (test scores, extracurricular success, college-entry, etc.) yet our students, staff, and school community yearned for something more. At the same time, districts across the nation were launching technology initiatives, from BYOD to 1:1 with a multitude of devices. We were largely unable to journey down that path at the time due to a number of challenges. This shaped our journey immensely.
Sir Ken Robinson once said in a TED Talk that "Teaching is creative profession."
I love that line.
Because of systems in place, as well as cultural stereotypes, and Mrs. Crabapple from The Simpsons, it is very easy to believe that teachers are just walking textbooks, or playback machines, or mindless dictators (ok, maybe I can be a little dictatorish sometimes). But these descriptions are limiting, because at the heart of teaching is creativity.
As teachers, we must check our systems for
equity each time we walk into our classrooms. The key word here is “systems,” for
without thoughtful practices, even the most well-intentioned among us fall into
the old traps of expediency, implicit bias, and tradition. Here are a few
practical structures I use as equity checks that take very little time to