The Devil’s Advocate method helps learners handle counter-arguments to their own position. This requires them to consciously change their perspective so that new positions can be discovered, critically examined, and tested. The goal of this method is also to motivate learners to engage more deeply with a subject. It can also be used as a warm-up exercise before working on a subject or event, as well as in the evaluation phase of an idea to show its advantages and disadvantages.
This method can be used as a warm-up activity, in an evaluation phase or during a whole seminar session, 30-90 min, depending on the subject matter.
No specific material needed.
Individual learners or small groups take the role of the so-called ‘devil’s advocate’, an opposing standpoint that is by design expressly critical of the idea or opinion being discussed. A devil’s advocate gathers counter-arguments and attempts to persuade the other participants in the exercise. This exercise promotes an intensive and controversial discussion of ideas. Moreover, by acting out other positions, learners often find it easier to raise topics that they might otherwise be unwilling to talk about. After the exercise, learners discuss how persuasive each argument was.