With five days left in the year, we participated in a discussion strategy we really like, a Pro Se Court. Over the last two weeks, we read and annotated four articles about zoos, their benefits and their challenges. Students were then divided into three groups. A third were the plaintiffs, a third as defendants, and a third as our judges.
Students didn’t know which role they would be assigned which is important insofar as understanding perspective taking. That said, our seven judges ruled 6-1 in favor of our plaintiffs who argued zoos are bad.
Our first Pro Se Court was a success. A Pro Se Court has students acting as plaintiffs, defendants and judges. In this case, a third of the class had to argue about the cons of zoos, the plaintiffs. A third of the class outlined the pros, the defendants; and the rest of the students acted as judges.
We spent part of the week reading about the pros and cons of zoos from four different perspectives. We annotated text and highlighted the most relevant evidence from each text. This is what allowed all students to be prepared for our Pro Se Court.
We had seven different judges and they ruled 5 to 2 in favor of the defendants.