Summary Of My SAC Forum



Forum Summary by Candiss Brown 2017-04-09 to 2017-04-16

Forum Topic – Structured Academic Controversy [SAC]

Summary of topic – SAC is a process where small groups of students have discussions about an assigned topic, through which they increase their understanding of said topic. They then are guided to take on multiple perspectives and eventually must gain consensus.

Thread                                   Replies                                               Participants

Question 1                            9                                                          8

Question 2                            7                                                          6

Totals                                     16                                                       12


Question #1 ~ Has anyone used this SET in their class and how did it go?

Summary of replies:

~ Donna replied that she had not used this SET but that it looks interesting.

~ Lisa replied that she had not but she wondered if it could be similar to a debate-style discussion for example “four corners”. Lisa then said she had read some postings on my blog and that the SAC was similar to debate-style lesson, she likes the deliberation steps. Lisa also mentioned that she did not feel it would work for her small classes with her topics but wonders how it works for anyone else.

~ Adam replied that he saw a great discussion forum on debates and posted a link for his blog where he wrote about debate style. [Adam’s blog]

~ Meghan replied that SAC looks like classic debating model. Meghan feels it would benefit all classrooms, that controversy is all around us and we should encourage students to challenge knowledge, beliefs and evidence around the controversy, a valuable engagement technique. Meghan also added an example of a SAC lesson plan. Academic Controversy.pdf

~ Teresa replied that she also had not used SAC, then thanked Meghan for the lesson plan resource. Teresa went on to say that she feels the strategy would be great for developing students critical thinking skills as well as communication skills as the students must discuss both sides of the controversy, essentially suspending previous assumptions and entertain different perspectives.

~ I replied with a link on “How to teach Structured Academic”

~ Doug replied that SAC is a great activity as it ensures that students must look at topics from a perspective they may not hold…. hence deeper learning.

~ Lisa replied that she tries to encourage her students to look at things from other perspectives, her students are dealing with hearing loss and are very amerced in their own point of view but Lisa thought perhaps they could learn from thinking from the average person’s perspective. Lisa then thought that this could then be built into a team-building exercise about more effective/supportive communication.

~ Willa replied that she had not used SAC but she remembers it from elementary school. Lisa also found many articles on SAC technique which had many complicated steps but she found a YouTube video that clearly describes SAC.

[YouTube video]

Question #2 ~ How adaptable do you feel this technique is across fields?

Summary of replies:

~ Willa replied that she feels that in her field of nursing, which is a science, things are not always black and white. Willa still felt there would be many opportunities to use SAC and that empowering and encouraging students to think critically is a good thing.

~ Ashley replied that she has not used SAC in her classroom but she has participated in one. Ashley felt the SAC was a great exercise that encouraged students to step outside their own beliefs and look at where someone else is coming from. Ashley would use SAC in her classroom.

~ John replied was not sure how SAC would work for subjects like Math, Physics, or Electrical theory.

~ Laurie replied that she has not used SAC but she has used the “5 Why Method” and she then shared two stories on that technique. Here is the link to how to use this technique that Laurie provided.

~ Allison replied that she has used SAC and that is a great co-operative learning experience. Allison encourages students to discuss using the focused conversation model, and the one caveat she has is that the classroom is a safe place to learn and that safety is already built into her classroom community.

~ Laurie replied that she is thankful for Allison’s version of SAC and that she completely agrees with her comment about a safe community to learn.

~ Rupananda replied that he has not used SAC but that this SET requires students to have in depth knowledge of the relevant topic and it will help with critical thinking skills.


Overall I found that not many of the respondents had used this SET but that most felt that it could be very effective for most subjects. I found in my research of this SET that it would be a valuable tool for me in my field and I do plan on using some of the resources that the respondents brought forward to ensure I can use this SET properly for me instruction.





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