Student perceptions of the use of debate as a teaching strategy in the allied health professions

J Allied Health. Spring 2007;36(1):e13-29.


This paper presents results from a survey regarding student perceptions of the use of debate in two occupational therapy courses. The survey was initially used as a classroom evaluation, consisting of open-ended questions asked by the instructor and answered by students in a research and a policy course. Students then were randomly assigned to two groups, which present their arguments and then fielded questions. After the debates, students were asked to answer four questions: 1) What did I learn from the debate?; 2) What did you like best about the debate?; 3) What did you like least about the debate?; and 4) Would you recommend this activity for future classes? Results of the student's comments to the four questions showed that debate was perceived by the majority of students as a useful technique for discussing issues both in a research course and in a health policy-related course. Comments from students showed that debate encouraged active participation in class, out of class research experiences, provided an opportunity to discuss issues and develop conclusions, and promoted the ability to advocate for themselves.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Health Policy
  • Occupational Therapy / education*
  • Students, Health Occupations* / psychology
  • Teaching*
  • Verbal Behavior