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Incorporating Debate-Related Training into High School English Curriculum in Taiwan--III
|Abstract:||在英美等西方國家之中高等教育體系中，辯論是一被相當普遍運用之教學工具。文 獻中不乏辯論所具之教育功能之記載，包括辯論有助於民主社會公民教育之養成，提昇 公民參與公共事務意願，培訓領導才能、公眾演說及批判性思考等能力以及增進對時事 及公共事物決策過程內容之了解。相較於英美等國家普遍肯定辯論之功能並將其廣泛運 用於課堂教學，辯論在我國各教育層級中卻未受到應有之重視。冀於此缺憾，台北市政 府教育局從民國九十三年起舉辦台北市高級中學英語辯論比賽（名為「西賽羅杯英語辯 論比賽」），藉以培養並增進學生之思辯及英語能力。連續四年之英語辯論比賽雖有助於 提昇學生對英語辯論活動之重視，但對其實際辯論能力之提昇及對其語言學習之功效卻 有待觀察，原因在於中國人對辯論所持之保留態度及學校教育欠缺批判性思考之訓練恐 不利其正確辯論心態及所需能力之養成，而此假設也在筆者一項針對2004 至2006 年西 賽羅杯英語辯論比賽之分析研究中獲得證實。為確認辯論在台灣高中英語教育所具之潛 在功能，一探討「結合辯論及高中英語課程」之研究有其迫切及必要性。筆者在此所提 之多〈四〉年期研究計畫即針對此目的而設計。本計畫第一年〈已執行完畢〉之研究重 點為調查北市西賽羅杯英語辯論比賽對參賽者在英語及其他學習能力之影響，針對參賽 者對英語辯論之看法、賽前之訓練、及參賽之表現等議題，以問卷調查及辯論賽事錄影 分析等方式作深入探討，研究結果證實校際英語辯論比賽確實有助參賽者語文、思考、 溝通等諸多能力之培養，研究中並就參賽者英語論辯表現之優缺點做一整理分析。根據 第一年之研究結果，本計畫第二年〈執行中〉之研究重心則放在結合辯論訓練與高中英 語教育之可能性、型式及內容等議題之探討。主要任務在於設計及編撰以訓練英語思辯 能力為重點之教學內容及活動。為反映英語辯論參賽者及一般高中生在英語思辯能力養 成上不同之需求，所設計編撰之活動內容也分成「英語辯論比賽訓練」及「英語議論性 言談能力習得」兩類。本計畫第三年〈即此研究提案之第一年〉之研究重點則在執行兩 項實證研究，旨在實地施行此兩類英語思辯能力課程及訓練並查驗其成效。此二實證研 究之發現將可加強本地英語教學專家及決策者對「辯論與英語教學關聯」之認識與了 解，並可對如何結合辯論與英語教學提出具體可行之建議。本計畫最後一年〈此研究提 案之第二年〉之執行重點在於完成處理、分析、詮釋於第三年實證研究中所收集到之大 量語料、統計數據、問卷及訪談內容，並將研究發現書寫成期刊論文並整理出書。藉此 管道來增進普羅大眾對辯論〈尤以標的語言進行之辯論〉之認識與接受，並進而培育出 更多具批判性思考及英〈外〉語論辯能力之下一代。|
For the past few decades, debate has been popularly used as a pedagogical tool in the secondary and higher education in the UK and US. Abundant studies have documented various educational values of debate, including preparing students for exercising their basic rights as citizens in a democratic society, inducing students’ involvement in important public issues, enhancing students’ skills in leadership, public speaking and critical thinking, and broaden students’ knowledge of current events and public decision-making dynamics. While the pedagogical merits of debate are long acknowledged and actualized in school education in many Western countries, debate has been largely overlooked by administrators and educators in Taiwan particularly at secondary school level. The situation, however, may begin to change as the Taipei City Government has held an annual interscholastic competitive forensic event called Taipei High School Cicero English Debate Tournament for the past four years. Despite of increased attention to debate as a plausible (English) learning vehicle for local high school students, its educational effects are far from clear. Given Chinese people’s reservations toward debate as a communication mode and their relatively lack of training in critical thinking, debate, and in this case, English debate, could pose a daunting task for its participants, as indicated by the findings of a content analysis study of 10 debates from the Cicero Tournament between 2004 and 2006. This multi-year research project, thus, aimed at investigating, in the first year, high school students’experience of the Cicero English Debate Tournament, including how they perceived English debate, how they prepared for the debate, what they have gained or lost from participating in this competitive forensic event, and how well they actually performed in the competition. The findings of the study have shed light on how debate, in the form of an interscholastic competition, functioned for local high school participants as a pedagogical tool in learning of English and other abilities. Given the many pedagogical merits claimed by the participants of the Cicero Tournament, the project currently marching into its second year aims at devising ways of assisting high school students with top-tier spoken English proficiency in grasping competitive debate and regular high school students in engaging in cooperative argumentative dialogue/discussion. Materials and activities are currently being developed for both competitive and curricular tracks. The two training packages will then be implemented and tested for their effectiveness in the third year of the project (i.e., the first year of this research proposal). Here two empirical studies will be conducted, one for investigating the effects of the training provided to the debaters in the competitive track and the other for examining the impacts of the mini lessons given to general high school students for training their critical thinking and argumentative discourse skills in the curricular track. The findings of the studies will shed light on how debate or debate-related training can be incorporated into not only high school’s extra-curriculum such as school’s debate club or interscholastic competitions but also regular English curriculum as an effective vehicle for learning of English as well as other crucial abilities and skills in order to function competently as a citizen of a contemporary democratic society. Given the complexity of the studies conducted in the third year of the project and the great amount of data accrued from those studies, the fourth or last year of the project (the second year of this research proposal) will be allocated to finishing processing and interpreting the data and writing academic reports and books on incorporating debate (or debate-related training) into high school English curriculum in Taiwan. Hopefully by so doing, more people will learn and appreciate debate (particular debate in a target language), and more critical minds and gifted tongues can be cultivated in the future generation of this country.
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