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Open door academic debate as a tool to stimulate critical thinking and scientific guidance: a pilot experience





This paper aims to present a pilot experience conducted during the spring of 2018 in the Jardí Botànic (Botanic Garden) of the Universitat de València. The experience brought about 24 students from the degrees of Sociology, Primary School Education and Psychology in the same university (6 students from each degree), and 6 students from different academic backgrounds, including Master´s Degree students and one PhD student. The main goal of the pilot study is to analyze the perception and effectiveness of an academic debate seminar made outdoors and including students from different academic backgrounds. It was organized in three sessions of three hours each, with a pre-established distribution of roles between moderators and participants was pre-established. Clear rules of the functioning were also set up. The debate was structured in different parts, the duration of which had been previously established, as well as the time allocated to each intervention. Mutual trust and respect were also promoted and different dialectical positions and arguments were encouraged. At the end the students assessed the experience and had the opportunity to explain the extent to which the experience was fruitful in an individual essay, highlighting especially two positive aspects: the outdoor environment and the possibility to interact with students of other careers.

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