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High School - Debates and Stating Opinions
« on: July 08, 2008, 09:15:53 am »
Start with a quick explaination of what an argument is.  Introduce sentences like:
I believe______ because_______.
I don't believe______ because_______.
I think______ because_______.
I don't think______ because_______.

Tell the students that we'll now learn about a topic, then have to form an opinion about it.

Go through the UFO/Aliens slideshow, explaining the terms along the way. There are links to 4 Youtube videos (2 of UFOs and 2 of Aliens).
At the end, split the students into groups.  Each group must decide if they believe UFOs are Real or Fake, and then answer some questions to support their arguments as follows:

I think UFOs/Aliens are real:
 1) Why?
 3) Are they friendly?
 2) Why do they visit Earth?

I think UFOs/Aliens are fake:
 1) Why?
 2) If they are not real, what are people seeing?
 3) Do you think Aliens exist somewhere, but don't visit Earth.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 07:30:44 am by jsauchuk »

High School - Debates and Stating Opinions
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2010, 09:44:42 am »
This is a good one to do with kids right after they're finished exams. It's pretty easy and straight forward and takes at least 50 minutes.

I begin by asking the class what a pro and con is (usually getting answers of professional :P). I then give a topic (school lunch, teachers) and ask the class what the pros and cons of each are. I then give groups of 3-4 kids a pro and con sheet with 3 topics and they have to come up with 5 pros and cons for each topic and present them to the class.

I just quickly made up the worksheets before class. I make sure to make 3 separate papers with 3 different topics so it's not too repetitive.

  • Munwon
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    • February 23, 2011, 09:55:36 pm
    • pusan
Re: Post Exam Lesson: Pros and Cons
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 06:40:01 pm »
A very good topic for my conversation class tomorrow. Thanks!!

Debate- Final Assessment
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2011, 09:17:00 am »
Instead of an exam this term i had them do a debate for their final assessment. It could also just be a project your class does over three weeks or so. I tried to choose topics that would be relevant to their lives, ie. 'dating in high school is good', or just be fun to argue like 'a women's place is in the home'. I just had them pair up and debate one on one but this could easily be changed to a team debate. hope your students enjoy this as much as mine did!

  • Sophie555
  • Waygookin

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    • September 11, 2010, 09:44:41 pm
    • Montrel
Re: Debate- Final Assessment
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2011, 09:41:14 pm »

 Hi, thanks a lot, great lesson. I was always afraid of debates but decided to try it this year about the pros and cons of Facebook and my students really enjoyed it. Here is a book on debates. Thanks again and keep posting!

  • wyattlane
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    • September 12, 2010, 03:31:47 pm
    • Gyeonggi
Re: Debate- Final Assessment
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2011, 12:26:59 pm »
My little debate ppt that I made for my more advanced middle school students. They seemed to enjoy it. It might serve as an outline for a debate class, or you can plug in your own motions and use it in the same way I did. This actually spanned two classes since they seemed to enjoy making their own motions, and they also worked very well in their groups to produce elaborate rebuttals during the actual debate, but they wanted lots of time and use of the dictionary :)

  • JahRhythm
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    • May 25, 2011, 12:49:41 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Debate- Final Assessment
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2011, 11:33:03 am »
Sophie555 - thanks for putting that pdf. book up. very helpful!
We teach EFL not ESL. Hagwon and "Private School" are not synonymous. Not everyone works in either a hagwon or public school. Immigration Question? Call 1345.

  • Aleksuh
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    • October 26, 2010, 11:58:25 am
    • Gangwon-do, South Korea
Re: Debate- Final Assessment
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2011, 03:28:47 pm »
I can't download the book - shame. Thanks for the other stuff though.

Mine wasn't a final assessment, but I just did one with my students using a square configuration.

Basically, you sit them down in a square, and the teams facing each other debate a motion. The other teams watch and award/subtract points with cards. Then the other teams debate a different motion while the others form an audience. Scribes in the audience record what gets said, we look at it, do some practice, and then do the debate again, but with teams taking the motion that they didn't do last time.

I found it best to let students choose the topics for mine. While it's tempting to think that I know best, they should really be able to choose what to argue over. In my case, Jajjang vs Jjamppong.

If you've got a co-teacher, this would also work well for a class of up to 40, with one teacher monitoring each square.

I wrote a full summary on my blog if anyone's interested:
Steal my lessons from @ | Follow me on Twitter: @breathyvowel

  • Adnan87
  • Newgookin

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    • September 08, 2010, 01:15:45 pm
    • gwangju
Re: Debate- Final Assessment
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2011, 07:41:28 am »
I've been trying to do a debate with my kids forever. It always falls apart. Thanks for the lesson and the blog summary!

What do you think?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2011, 02:04:29 pm »
Getting students to give opinions on things is pretty tough here. Not only do most of my students lack the structures and language to communicate their thoughts, but they're also never really encouraged to give their opinions while at school - in any subject - as far as I know.

Here's a 3 lesson project topic I've recently completed with 2nd grade high schoolers. It was successful, mainly because I asked the other English teachers to discuss the debate topics in their 'real' english class, so they'd come prepared and pre-motivated for the lesson. The students really got into it, and I think even the very low level "i'mfinewhataboutyou" students got something out of it.

1st Lesson
1. Do the 'Would You Rather' game as an introduction. I have 30 green and 30 red 'voting cards' in class for this (get thick card so they don't get ripped up so easily). (10 mins)

2. Students create 2 of their own 'Would you rather' sentences. I allowed each group (5 people) to share ideas on this, to speed things up. Then present the sentences (20 mins)

3. Tell them that we're going to be giving opinion this week in class, so it's important to know the difference between fact and opinion. give a couple of examples of the difference (ppt and board).

4. Do the listening exercise on the worksheet and ppt.

2nd Lesson
1. Correct and revise the listening exercise, and run through the 'key phrases' (ppt). Have the students repeat these after you, give examples of usage, and have them write down the key phrases on their worksheets.

2. Show the students the 'statements' (ppt) and ask them if they agree / disagree / not sure / doesn't matter etc. Then give an example of Q.4 on the worksheet, using one of the statements on the ppt. Finally, the students need to choose one statement on the board and give at least 2 reasons why they disagree / agree / don't care etc.

3. Collect the worksheets and read out some examples from the students, without reading out their names. The class must vote on who gave the most convincing opinion. Give out candy to the kid who gets the most votes. This works better than the students themselves reading out their opinions and then others voting for them, because that way the most popular guys always get the most votes.

4. For the last 10 minutes or so play the 'speed debate' game with groups of 2 students. They see the topic, and have 30seconds to think about whether they are going to agree or disagree. After 30 seconds they have another 30 seconds to talk, and then the class vote for the best speaker. Finally, explain that we're going to do debates next class.

3rd Lesson

* Preparation for 3rd Lesson - Korean english teachers present the students with the debate topics in their 'proper' english lesson a few days before the debate class. They briefly ask for opinions in Korean, and explain what is expected of the students. Students are divided into debate groups by english level

1. Sort the students into their debate groups, as agreed on with their Korean english teacher. The levels are:

"Jjambong is better than Jjajangmyeon" - lower level (6 students)
"Summer is more fun than Winter" - lower level (6 students)
"We should always buy Korean products, to support our economy" - mid level (6 students)
"Eating dogs should be banned, because it's cruel" - mid level (6 students)
"The US Army should be expelled from Korea. Then there will be peace" - high level (6 students)

The students present their arguments to the class, then respond once to each other (assisted by the teachers). Finally, the students vote which team were most convincing, and each teacher votes too.

Student vote (X 24 students) - 1 vote each
Teacher vote (X2 teachers) - 10 votes each

Winning teams get some nourishing goodness from Paris Baguette.

Any questions, fire away...

  • dranrebc
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    • 62

    • March 04, 2011, 08:27:21 am
    • Goseoung, Korea
Re: What do you think?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2011, 02:58:31 pm »
Cheers Luke, I'll use this with my classes next week, appreciated!

  • tim717
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    • October 26, 2011, 10:14:22 pm
    • Daegu
Re: What do you think?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2011, 10:20:10 pm »

This sounds like a great lesson plan to get them involved.


  • dms72784
  • Waygookin

    • 16

    • October 24, 2011, 09:22:56 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Moral Dilemma Discussion Activity
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2011, 02:02:22 pm »
Here's an idea for a more advanced discussion activity. I did this with some strong high school students. 

I printed sets of the moral dilemmas from the website below, and cut them out. Then I asked students to read and discuss dilemmas, and eventually come to a joint decision on what they would do. The teacher should wander about listening to student discussion, but also explaining anything students find difficult and making suggestions for where the discussion might go.

I had students work in pairs, though I think this could also work decently with groups of 3.

  • lishajuma
  • Waygookin

    • 18

    • June 21, 2010, 01:47:48 pm
    • South Korea
Re: What do you think?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2011, 05:48:39 pm »
Thanks Luke, this is bloody amazing!!

I'm going to use this, tonight, in my evening class and see if I can get some real heated debates.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Cheers again Luke Teacher ^^


  • lishajuma
  • Waygookin

    • 18

    • June 21, 2010, 01:47:48 pm
    • South Korea
Re: What do you think?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2011, 01:10:23 pm »
Don't suppose you have the key phrases ppt?

thanks muchey!


Re: What do you think?
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2011, 03:11:20 pm »
AYe, the key phrases are on the 10th slide. Just copy the shape on the worksheet onto the board and write up the key phrases: agree to the right, disagree to the left and mixed opinion in the middle.  :P

  • matthewjfalk
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    • August 29, 2011, 11:58:41 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Debates / Persuading others (Lesson Plan) using Aristotle's Rhetoric
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2012, 07:26:08 pm »
Hello fellow English teachers! :)

Here is a lesson plan I made this week about Rhetoric, or the art of persuading others.

I remember having a lesson similar to this in University where the teacher split us into three teams and we had debates. One team agreed with an issue, the other disagreed, and the third was the jury who determined which side of the issue was better defended.

Anyway, here's the lesson plan in a nutshell.

Engage stage- Intro and asking students their opinions on certain issues. (Keep in mind my school is an all boys high school, so I use try to use innocent pictures of attractive females to...uh...get them excited. Wow, that sounds so horrible and sexist the way I put it, but it's not as bad as you think lolz).

Study stage- Powerpoint presentation. Explain using some examples and demonstrations.

Activate stage- Have them do a series of debates/persuasive arguments. They decide the topics and brainstorm English words associated with their choice.

***One worry I have is that this may be quite difficult for them as they are a mixed class. But I guess we'll see next week. Also, I intend to add more Korean translations to the powerpoint this weekend so the students can understand the meanings of difficult unknown vocabulary. Also, I always try to repeat slides to "jog" the student's memory on new words as much as possible. I try to call on individual students the second time round. I find this keeps them alert...because I think Korean students don't like to be embarrassed in front of their peers for not knowing an answer. Just a speculation.

Hope this can help anyone thinking about teaching something like this! I wish I could do more on this subject cause it's really interesting, but I wanted to keep it brief for the sake of the debates.

« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 07:28:28 pm by matthewjfalk »

  • cwhetsell
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    • October 24, 2010, 05:40:45 pm
    • Daegu, South Korea
"Student Debate: Let's Talk It Out!"
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2012, 09:48:44 am »
This is my version of a debate PowerPoint that was sort of buried a while back. I tried it out with my upper middle school students first. It seemed to be a bit difficult for them, so I threw it at my high school and college kids.

Makes for a good time of discussion. Students have a lot of time to argue over some important issues. I also mixed in some lighter topics just for fun. It's a good time! :)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 06:54:42 pm by cwhetsell »

  • Sandies
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    • March 01, 2012, 08:04:52 pm
    • South Korea
Re: "Student Debate: Let's Talk It Out!"
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2012, 01:12:12 pm »
can I ask how you set up the classroom? Do the kids just stay in their seats and debate. So one kid would have an opinion, and another with a different kind of opinion will counter the argument and so on and so forth, or do you get them to decide their opinion up front and the groups can then discuss their arguments and present as a group and have a formal debate?
"You may strategically place your wonderful lips upon my posterior and kiss it repeatedly! "

  • cwhetsell
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    • October 24, 2010, 05:40:45 pm
    • Daegu, South Korea
Re: "Student Debate: Let's Talk It Out!"
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2012, 02:17:08 pm »
I tend to be informal with my classes, so I let them stay in their seats to debate.

You can take a vote on the topic, and have students sit accordingly. "Agree" on one side and "Disagree" on the other.

You could also have each team come up and present their decision formally if you wanted to. I just chose to keep it informal because my students are usually shy and, not the mention, tired.