Philosophical Chairs

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PHILOSOPHICAL CHAIRS
WHAT IS PHILOSOPHICAL CHAIRS?
It’s a way of setting up a two-sided discussion
so that more students get a chance to speak,
and no one talks over anyone else.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
STEP 1: CHOOSE A SIDE
The discussion is based on a statement. If you agree with
the statement, stand (or sit) on one side of the room.
If you disagree, stand on the other.
STEP 2: AGREE SIDE STARTS
One person from the “agree” side begins the
discussion. They move forward from their group
and briefly say why they agree with the statement.
STEP 3: DISAGREE GOES NEXT
One person from the “disagree” side takes
the next turn.
First they come forward and give a quick summary
of the last person’s statement.
Then they briefly state their own opinion.
The discussion continues like this, with each side taking
turns, always re-stating the other side’s last point before
making their own.
RULES

Support your ideas with
evidence from at least one
text.
Prepare ahead of time by
reading and making notes on a
text, and have it with you to
refer to during the discussion.
Share the floor: Once you have
spoken for your side, you
must allow two people from
your side to have a turn before
you speak again.

Remember to respectfully
restate or summarize the last
point made by the opposing
side before sharing your own
thoughts.
If the discussion changes your
mind, you may move to the
opposite side…
calmly, please.
WHEN IS IT OVER?
• when time runs out
• when no one has anything
new to say, OR
• when all members of one
side have moved to the other
side
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