We see students try to start arguments almost each and every day that we serve. They argue with teachers, peers, and City Year members. We countlessly try and defuse and deescalate these situations in an attempt to make everyone “get along”.
But how often are students ENCOURAGED to argue constructively by adults?
For two months this year, I ran a debate club with 6th-8th graders. In the club, students learned various concepts of debate including; proper public speaking techniques, debate format, respectful critiquing and much more.
For the final project of the club, students got into groups of 2-3 and had to take either for or against positions on topics. They were given two weeks to research and write speeches to support their positions. One of the topics was “should there be a City Year?”.
The rest speaks for itself…
Topic #1: Should City Year be in your school?
Response #1: “City Year should not be banned because kids get a lot of help from City Year (they help the kids on projects, homework and other stuff), City Year help kids get prepared on the star test and CST, they give us snack so we could not be hungry, they care about us, it’s a free program, they give us free time to play, in Friday we do clubs, we have amazing parties (we have better snacks and we have raffels), we have laptops so we could learn more mathamatics, I know people don’t like City Year because you have to stay for 3 hours but actually the City Year people help you learn. If you are in City Year you will be save until one of your family picks you up from City Year, and if you are in your house by yourself probally a stranger could get in your house.”
-Jackson Young, Corps Member, Applied Materials Team at Lee Mathson Middle School