Debate Ideas for Use in American English

This has been one of our most successful exercises to get students to free talk in English. It contains ten in a series of debates. To use this exercise, distribute one set the week before to the students. Explain that they will be required to argue or debate one side of the argument. They will not know in advance which side they will have to argue for or against. They, however, must come to class with a paper listing 5 arguments for and five against. Those papers will be picked up at the end of class. Those who do not have the papers will not be allowed to participate and will get a zero for that debate.

We choose up one side and give them for or against. Generally we have five to six on each side. We pick one student to start. They give a point on the side they are on and then they choose someone on the opposite side and they ask, "Do you agree with me?" They are to answer the person and then give a point of their own and ask someone if they agree and so on. We insist that you cannot disagree with everything. Argument For example if someone says that cigarettes cause disease and you are asked to agree, you should reply something like "You are correct to a point but", and then go on with your point. Students get really excited and go on for an hour debating.