Director of Teaching & Learning Miles Azzeh's Academic Spotlight: Kelli Jo Swift
This week's academic spotlight shines on Lansing High School teacher Ms. Kelli Jo Swift and her students in her "Skills in Communication" class. The activity had them engage in an exciting mini-in-class debate tournament.
"These debates showcased the students' mastery of researching both sides of a predetermined topic and effectively arguing both sides," said Ms. Swift.
The other aspect that was highlighted by the activity was the students' ability to collaborate with student partners to strengthen their arguments and persuasive skills. This collaboration skill is precisely what students need as they enter college and the career world.
"This event not only showed off their ability to research and argue different sides of a topic but also highlighted the power of working together and personal growth," said Ms. Swift.
To add to the excitement, students invited peers from Ms. Larissa Maranell’s debate class to serve as judges. These experienced debaters provided constructive feedback and acted as mentors, creating a positive learning atmosphere.
Senior Jackson Jackson, who took on the role of a student judge, shared his view on the event. "I really like seeing people put in the effort even if they do not quite know exactly what they are doing. It shows that they're able to get public speaking out of it and be able to critically think."
Another positive aspect is that it gave first-time debaters a chance to reflect on the advice they were given and how to channel it into growth:
"I really enjoyed our debate judge. She helped us out with the process and gave us more confidence in what we were doing," said junior Ryanna Mize.
Even though students were inexperienced in the art of debating, many were excited about not only doing it again, but possibly signing up for debate and being part of the team:
"I could have done a lot better, but it was decent. The judge is trying to convince me to go out for debate. I would definitely do this again," said freshman Kenny Kramer.
"I would do it again! It felt good with the speeches I was prepared for and started to become more comfortable debating the topic given to us," said Freshman Evie Bremer.
Ms. Swift reflected on the event, and the multitude of learning opportunities and growth students had:
"Our experienced debaters were a delight to have as they could give valuable feedback and act as peer leaders for our Communication students," said Ms. Swift. "It was a neat way to see them grow with each round with the help of their peers and by leaning on one another for support."
In education, we often overlook how essential skills such as persuasion and communication are for our students to improve and reach their highest potential. We're lucky to have Ms. Kelli Jo Swift teaching our "Skills in Communication" classes and providing opportunities like the one highlighted in this article to ensure our students perfect these abilities.
Great job, Ms. Swift!
STRATEGIC PLAN: Define a Successful Graduate - Prepare students for post-secondary success.