Adam J. Jacobi, Adjunct Instructor of Communication and Forensics Consultant for Ripon College, recently contributed to a new text book Introduction to Debate: A Public Forum Debate Handbook written in both English and Mandarin.
His participation in the project resulted from his work with the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA), formerly the National Forensic League, to coordinate the, “development of a special entry-level debate curriculum for students in China as part of a partnership with the Harvard Debate Council, with whom I also have worked as a curriculum director for their summer high school enrichment workshops,” says Jacobi. The challenge he set himself was to build a curriculum that fit the requirements of the U.S. Common Core State Standards, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile. Along the way, Jacobi penned several chapters and helped edit chapters contributed by others.
Deano Pape, Assistant Professor of Communication and Director of Forensics, also assisted in the project and has joined the summer enrichment program at Harvard, as well, where he was recently named a Curriculum Director. Pape is focusing on the Chinese program, and Jacobi’s focus is on the U.S. Congressional Debate format.
In addition to his work on the textbook, Jacobi had the opportunity to teach the textbook and curriculum in China through the Fall 2013 semester. He taught students at a variety of academic levels in three schools in Changzhou (Jiangsu Province), China.
He notes of his experience in China that the critical thinking abilities of Chinese students are often underestimated in the West: “While they may not have many opportunities to practice critical thinking, it is more prevalent than one may think… the kids are particularly Internet savvy, and know where to look for factual, impartial information, so they can draw their own conclusions. They are just as cynical as their millennial generation counterparts in the Western world. As China continues to liberalize its markets and become a more open society, this skill will become more crucial to both individual as well as collective success in their society.”
Introduction to Debate: A Public Forum Debate Handbook has been adapted as an iPad app in Korea, and according to Jacobi may be used in other international contexts.
Jacobi will share some of his experiences teaching in China during a Chinese New Year event in the Pickard Dining Room at 3 p.m. on January 31.
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