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English Teaching Forum, v55 n1 p45-48 2017

Debates remain popular in English language courses, and this activity gives students a low-stress opportunity to develop their speaking debating skills. This lesson plan is appropriate for upper intermediate or advanced students. Goals of the activity are to present an oral argument using evidence and use functional language related to agreeing, disagreeing, and showing contrasting opinions. Materials, preparation for the activity, and details of the procedure are described. Seven sample debate themes with suggested topic sets as well as an activity extension are provided.

Descriptors: Debate, Persuasive Discourse, Class Activities, Classroom Techniques, Learner Engagement, Learning Activities, Public Speaking, Teamwork, Lesson Plans, Communication Skills

US Department of State. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs, SA-5, 2200 C Street NW 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20037. e-mail: etforum[at]; Web site:

Author: Benucci, Heather


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