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Promoting Perspective Taking, Empathy, and Critical Thinking In Management Classes Using Debates As An Active Learning Tool

Abstract: This activity seeks to guide MOBTS participants to recognize the usefulness of using debates as an active learning tool with a promise to enhance student perspective taking, empathetic reasoning, and critical thinking in Management classes. The goal of many management classes is to bring practical knowledge to students and to stimulate student critical thinking about issues pertaining to organizations, organizational participants, and the wider business environment. In many cases, there is neither a one-size-fits- all answer nor a fixed, right approach, to solving organizational problems. Therefore, it is essential for students to develop critical reasoning skills to identify underlying principles, rationale, and to arrive at sound strategic decisions. Further, in situations where there is no one right approach, students need to be able to demonstrate a willingness to accommodate other perspectives which may question their long-held assumptions. This is possible when management teaching methodologies encourage critical thinking, perspective taking, and empathetic reasoning in student learning.

I hope to share the experience of using debates in my classes which helps students develop a deep understanding of Management concepts and theories. I find that apart from encouraging students to conduct further research on the topic or issue at hand, (which further enhances their confidence in delivery of management topics and concepts), debate activities encourage them to question the reasoning behind alternative arguments and points of view with a view to critically evaluating opposing sides of an argument and making better informed managerial decisions. Thus, debates can be used to enhance student learning in Management classes, Business Ethics classes, Strategy Capstone classes, and Organizational Behavior classes.

Keywords: Keywords: Active Learning, Collaborative Learning, Perspective taking, Empathetic reasoning

Topic: General   |   Format: Activity or Exercise

Olugbenga Adeyinka, Manhattanville College (
United States

Susan Baker,  ()
United States


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