Each lecture (CM) has a contemporary subject attached to it, to be debated in a tutorial (TD) two weeks later, in the form of arguments for and against a motion. For example, the motion for the tutorial in week 4 (2-7 March) is related to the first and second lectures and might be: “This House believes that the French and British have a lot in common.”
Two people volunteer or are designated to propose the motion. Drawing on lectures, books, the media and any other sources that seem appropriate, they will prepare the evidence that the French and British do have a lot in common.
Also for homework, two people volunteer or are designated to oppose the motion. Drawing on the first lecture, books, the media and other source material, they will prepare the evidence that the French and British do not have a lot in common.
The rest of the class prepares the contours of the motion, finding arguments and evidence for and against, and preparing a short presentation of the motion.
In the tutorial:
1. The motion is read out and a vote is taken to see how many people are for and how many against.
2. A student is selected at random to present the contours of the motion. She/he will discuss the terms to be defined. (What do we mean by “British”? By “French”? How much is “a lot”?) The presenter gets a mark.
3. Proposer 1 gives 2-3 arguments and produces evidence for the motion, and gets a mark.
4. Opposer 1 gives 2-3 arguments and produces evidence against the motion, and gets a mark.
5. The motion is thrown open to the floor (the rest of the class) for discussion and questions. Proposers and opposers take notes but do not participate. No marks for this part.
6. Proposer 2 responds and may produce new arguments and evidence, and gets a mark.
7. Opposer 2 responds and may produce new arguments and evidence, and gets a mark.
8. A student is chosen at random to summarize the arguments for. Another is chosen at random to summarize the arguments against. Both get marks.
9. A final vote is taken, to see how many people have been convinced by the arguments of one or the other side.
4 designated people and 3 random people will be given marks. A student who is absent or unable to produce an argument will get 0/20. Normal attendance numbers in tutorials mean that by the end of the semester everyone should have 3-4 marks, based on prepared and class work. The lowest of these will be discarded, and the rest will form an average which will count for 40% of the continuous assessment mark. In week 14, an undiscussed motion will be submitted, to which each student will respond in writing by presenting either the arguments for or the arguments against the motion. This written work will count for 60% of the final mark.
Suggestions and queries are very welcome atthis address