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.

We try to explain that the ideas are not always the true feeling of each students but just practice in talking and debating. It also lets them learn that no matter how strongly they feel about things others have equally opposite opinions. We give the argument for and against to the students the week before the debate. They do not know whether they will argue for or against. This has worked very well.

Some Debate Series Argument Suggestions
1. Television Plays a Positive Role in Society. Argument For Argument Against
2. Students should have a Part-time Job. Argument For Argument Against
3. The Younger Generation Knows Best. Argument For Argument Against
4. Smoking Should Prohibited. Argument For Argument Against
5. Money is the Most Important Thing in Life. Argument For Argument Against
6. Women Should be Treated the Same as Men. Argument For Argument Against
7. It is a Good Thing to Live in a Modern City. Argument For Argument Against
8. Housing Reform has become necessary. Argument For Argument Against
9. Cars do more Harm than Good. Argument For Argument Against
10. Fashion Contributes to Society. Argument For Argument Against