Mapping the world's opinions

Parlia for teaching debating skills

Our work with the universities of Oxford, Liverpool, City and more have helped us develop Parlia into a world-class resource for teaching. From debating, critical thinking, and writing skills, to understanding how to structure essays and engage with opposing ideas, Parlia offers opportunities for students to grow, learn and share their work with our global community.

Key Skills: building arguments

Choose a subject that the class might already have a position on, for example: Are the Kardashian-Jenners feminist? or How do we think about the woke debate?.

Ask students, either in groups or individually, to give five arguments in support of their view. Once everyone has created their lists, encourage your class to discuss and share their ideas with each other.

Take a look together at the Parlia map they relate to, and give your students the opportunity to share their work with the world by adding their findings to it.

Key Skills: essay writing

Parlia makes essay writing clear and easy for students. Set your class a question that already exists on the site, such as Are we products of nature or nurture? and share it with the class.

Talk them through one of the argument pages, explaining the arguments, counter-arguments, premises, proponents, further reading and into the wild sections.

Students can then use the map to craft an essay outlining the complexities of the debate, and reaching a conclusion of their own. Share with them, the different conclusions they each came to and discuss how they reached their decisions.

Classroom Activity: philosophical corners

Pose a question to your class, such as Should school uniforms be mandatory? using a Parlia map to explore the different positions and arguments on the subject. In this time students should learn as much as they can, including the evidence for each argument, and its premises - these will be especially useful for discrediting their opposition!

Then, ask students for their opinion (agree, strongly agree, disagree, strongly disagree), allocating a different corner of the classroom for each group.

Without the map for reference, each group must then debate against another that disagrees with them, using what they learned in the first part of the lesson to strengthen and structure their arguments.

Classroom Activity: just a minute

Many of our maps supplement the national curriculum. Select a map that compliments the course your students are studying and assign reading it for homework. For example, Is Shakespeare’s writing universal and timeless? or Is history important?

During a lesson, students take it in turns to discuss what they have learned on the subject and either the arguments for or against without deviating, hesitating or repeating a word (apart from those in a question title) for a full minute. Other students can call them out during their minute if they think they have broken one of the rules, and then have the remaining time to do the same.

The winner is the person who is speaking when the timer hits a minute.

This page was last edited on Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 13:23 UTC