Playing Devil's Advocate: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Devil's Advocate Definition and origin


After taking a moment to consider five questions the students would want to ask their progenitors or their future progeny  during the warm up (both of those words are some of their current vocabulary words), the students presented the last of their Alternative Book Reports.

The students and I then explored the origin of the expression “playing Devil’s Advocate” which was the colloquial name given to a person within the Roman Catholic Church, officially called the promoter of the faith, whose job it is to find any information, particularly upon papal candidates, that could disqualify them from such a post.  We talked about how “advocate” has the same roots as the words “abogado” (“lawyer” in Spanish) and “avocat” (“lawyer” in French) as they are all Latin-based.  Before starting an activity where the students had the opportunity to stand on either side of a variety of “hot button” or controversial topics and voice their reasons for such.  In some instances, some students were chosen at random to try to play “Devil’s Advocate” themselves.  Before embarking upon this activity, all of the students were shown the following disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This activity is one geared only toward seeing different perspectives and is in no way intended to be offensive to or question your own personal beliefs or morals.  This activity will serve only as a segue into the argumentative writing unit for which differing perspectives is paramount to writing most effectively.

The students really gravitated toward this activity as they shared their knowledge and opinions on a variety of topics ranging from school uniforms, to Ray Rice and Hope Solo, to whether the U.S. should step in and assist in resolving conflicts around the world.



  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Study for tomorrow’s quiz over “Vocabulary from Classical Roots” lessons 2 and 3




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