Great Teaching Activities for the ESL Classroom: Debates

Teamwork , Debate, Communication

A debate is a discussion in which participants articulate, justify, and clarify their positions on an issue or refute statements made by the opposing side.

Select the topic

The topic for a debate evolves from what you are teaching. Should Marijuana be legalized?

Take a stand

Who’s pro and who’s con? Every debate has two sides, the affirmative side and the negative side. The teacher can divide the class into pros and cons, or students may choose their own stance

Let the research begin

Allow students do the research. Fact gathering should support the student’s point of view.

Select the moderator

The moderator directs the debate and may be the teacher or a student. The moderator formally introduces the debate topic and recognizes students to speak alternating between pro and con.

Ensuring  equal participation

Students should not speak until all students have had an opportunity to voice their opinion.

Opening Statement by  Team A and Team B

Round 1
Team A Speaker 1 – 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 1 – 3-minute limit

Round 2 
Team A Speaker 2 – 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 2 – 3-minute limit

Round 3
Team A Speaker 3– 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 3 – 3-minute limit

Round 4
Team A Speaker 4– 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 4 – 3-minute limit

Round 5
Team A Speaker 5– 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 5 – 3-minute limit

Final Round
A Rebuttal — 5 minute limit
B Rebuttal — 5 minute limit

Closing Statement  by  Team A and Team B