Argumentation and Debate in the Foreign Language Classroom: Russian and American University Students Collaborating

by Tony Brown, Ekaterina V. Talalakina, Irina V. Yakusheva, Dennis L. Eggett

Appears in issue 62 on page 141.

As demand in private and public sectors grows for Advanced and Superior level speakers, so too does demand for classroom instruction capable of producing requisite proficiency levels. Preliminary findings from research conducted during the winter and fall 2012 semesters demonstrate that innovative curricular design and development can produce measurable gains in the university foreign language classroom over the relatively short span of an academic semester. Participants in this research reflect learners of Russian at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and learners of English at National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. Foreign language instruction for both groups centered around the format of debate. A thorough description of the research methodology is provided, including an inventory of cohesive devices designed to facilitate extended level discourse, individual debate topics, and video-conference debate protocol.

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