The four corners debate is an adaptation of Spencer Kagan’s Corners structure. In this activity, students are presented with an issue or topic and four different viewpoints or positions, each of which are assigned a physical area of the classroom. Students choose the corner associated with the statement they agree with most, discuss their rationale for choosing the corner with others in their group, then engage in a full-class discussion of the different viewpoints.
In this adaptation using the SMART Board, a linked or embedded video clip is shown to add depth and engagement with the issue or topic. As well, links to websites to take the issue or topic further can be embedded, and digital ink notes can be added by students or teacher if needed which can be referred to at a later time. An alternative to watching the video beforehand is to have the students choose their position (corner) with only the four statements to go by, then watch the video clip and allow students to choose a different corner after watching the video clip, discussing why they may have moved or not moved after watching the video clip.
In the example given, a video clip from Discovery Education Streaming on the violence in Darfur is shown, along with the debate question, “In countries where there is civil unrest and innocent people are being killed or displaced, what should Canada do?”. Links to websites which provide more background information and action that schools and students can do are provided, as well as a simulation game on the unrest in Darfur. Regardless of position, students can talk about what biases may be present in the video or websites, or how reliable the information is not.
Please provide any feedback you may have on how this or any of the other Notebook files I’ve created could be improved!