ECCHS students practice debate skills

Photo by Becky Polaski – Students at Elk County Catholic High School are shown holding a debate earlier this month. One class period debated whether America’s foster care system is so broken that it cannot be fixed, while another class period debated whether the mental health crisis was created by society.
By: 
Becky Polaski
Staff Writer

Being able to listen to an argument and effectively debate a topic can be a useful skill, and students in AP Language and Composition classes taught by Grace Messineo at Elk County Catholic High School recently got some firsthand experience in the practice when they participated in classical debates related to issues they discussed after reading the book “Etched in Sand” by Regina Calcaterra.
One class debated the issue that America’s foster care system is so broken that it cannot be fixed, and the other class debated whether the mental health crisis was created by society.
Messineo explained that both topics were chosen based on discussions students in the classes had during socratic seminars related to the book.
“A socratic seminar is a discussion based on the way old philosophers used to speak,” Messineo said. “They’d read a text and they’d come prepared with different level questions – figurative questions, interpretative questions – and then eventually that leads to global discussion of why the work is important and why it’s still relevant.”

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