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#75 Teaching Debate in the EFL Classroom ( High int.)


Debate has become a "hot" subject to teach and teach English by.  (download PPT)

It can be very helpful and provides students with many great language learning opportunities and lots of practice. But it must be set up for success. See the presentation below for some pointers and some rationale as to why debate is great in the EFL Classroom.

I usually set up debate for success by creating the proper classroom atmosphere. One of orderly discussion and freedom to participate. This is paramount.

You should teach the art of debate informally first, through a series of simple activities. The easiest is Advantages / Disadvantages. I call this -- Angel / Devil. (see link below).

One student or group of students are the Angel and list the Pros of a topic. The other student or group, the Cons. Make sure they order their arguments! They can battle back and forth given so many topics. Write some on the board or use the handout below. Also see many debate materials in our Resource area.

The next step is a formal debate. Take a look at the attached handout which outlines the structure of a formal debate and how it should be held.

Here's How: 10 Easy Steps

1. Introduce debates by producing the rubric that you will be using to grade them.

2. Before the debate, give students the topic(s) to be covered. (see below)

3. Before you hand the debate assignments out, explain that some
students might be debating positions opposite to their beliefs. This is
an important skill for them to learn.


4. Students should completely fill out the debate organizer regarding the debate topic.(see reverse)

5. Begin the debate with the pro side speaking first. Allow them 5-7
minutes of uninterrupted time to explain their position. All members
should participate.


6. Repeat for the con side.

7. Give both sides about five minutes to confer and prepare for their rebuttal.

8. Begin the rebuttals with the con side and give them three minutes to speak. All members should participate equally.

9. Repeat this step for the pro side.

10. Closing arguments for both sides, starting with the pro side.

Allow the audience to ask questions of the debating teams.


You can really get more out of students by filming them! They really put on their best show and this can be very motivating.

Further, make sure you always go through the rubric and let them know what you are looking for in their debating. Also, it can be great to show them some video of others stating their viewpoints or debating. www.truetube.co.uk
has some fantastic material for this. Short videos on contentious subjects. It can be quite fast but I recommend you checking it  out.....Here's an example under "Beauty or Intelligence.?"

HANNAH ON BEAUTY VERSUS INTELLIGENCE


Resources:   Hold a Debate in the Classroom  |   Debate Organizer  |   Advantages / Disadvantages (Angel vs Devil)   |  First Word War  (helps automate speech) 

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