Debate offers Longwood University students unique learning opportunity

Heather Edwards instructs students in a French course at Longwood University.
Heather Edwards instructs students in a French course at Longwood University.(WDBJ)
Published: Sep. 28, 2016 at 5:16 PM EDT
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Students in Heather Edwards' French Class spent most of their instructional time Wednesday on cell phones.

"One thing I've never said in class before is take out your phones," said Edwards, a senior lecturer in French for Longwood's department of English and modern languages.

Mobile devices are part of a unique assignment.

Edwards's students are using their French vocabulary to send out real-time information about next week's debate on Twitter, specifically for a French-speaking audience.

"It's a wonderful way for them to practice their structures and their spelling," explained Edwards.

"I feel like I've learned this vocabulary unit a lot more than I've learned past ones, because it's very relatable," remarked Helena Carter, a student in Edwards' class which is one of 30 courses being offered at Longwood this fall in relation to the debate.

English faculty member Derek Taylor is leading the initiative.

"These things don't happen very often," said Taylor, who serves as director of general education at Longwood. "The chance to take what we're doing in the classroom and marry it to things going on outside the classroom, as an educator this is what you're always looking for."

Debate-related courses are being offered in more than 15 different disciplines.

The classes are open to everyone from Freshman to graduating Seniors.

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