Innovate Debate

Innovate Debate

Innovate Debate: Applied Curriculum for Debate-based Youth Work (IDAC) is a project expanding interactive approach to learning that can help young people develop critical thinking and communication skills.

While debate, speech, and/or rhetorics are a part of formal education in some places in the world, especially in private schools, in the European Union debate is mostly an extracurricular activity. Debate-related education and activities are usually organized by civil society organizations - our valued members. Over 1300 debate coaches in our network, most of them volunteers, invest countless hours in providing young people with debate-based education. This project is going to help them reach more young people increase the quality of their work, and enable youth workers new to debate to open debate clubs.

In the context of this project, we are working on four key project outputs.

Firstly, the bulk of available research on debate as an educational method was done in the US or in the UK, which makes research results indicative of the benefits of debate, but conclusions and recommendations are not easily transferable to the European context. This project supports a study assessing existing approaches to debate and critical thinking available to students in participating countries, as well as student-NGO engagement opportunities, to define the best approaches and recommendations for application.

Secondly, we are creating a two-year debate club curriculum focused on building critical thinking skills and active citizenship. Suitable for use by youth workers (debate coaches in non-formal educational environments), and even teachers, the curriculum will cover the following topics: Democratic and Shared European Values, Diversity and Social Inclusion, Civic Engagement, Media and Information Literacy, Youth Participation in Local Issues.

Thirdly, we are developing a debate club toolkit aimed at individuals, organizations, and institutions interested in successfully running debate as an extracurricular activity. The toolkit will contain a manual on volunteer training and retention, model workshops for educators, and a debate club manual.

Finally, we are building an e-learning platform to ensure greater accessibility and remote teaching and learning opportunities for those interested in debate-based education. The platform will help debate clubs navigate times when meetings cannot be held in person and allow young people with no access to debate activities in their area to join debate clubs remotely. 

The project is co-funded by the European Union through the Erasmus+ programme. 

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