Let's Agree To Disagree

Students practice sentences to debate for/against a motion.

Archived from Englipedia.
Originally submitted by Victoria Young on Apr 11, 2011.


A list of different sentences/motions (not included).


As a warmup to this class, my JTE and I debated the motion "Cats are better than dogs", using very simple English. (Dogs won EVERY time - even when we swapped debate sides). Then, I gave students a worksheet and asked them to tick whether they agreed or disagreed with a particular motion. I used eight sentences for this. Some sentences included:

  • Girls study more than boys.
  • You should not smoke in restaurants or cafes.
  • Tokyo is more interesting than Kyoto.

Then I ran through the results, doing a quick survey along the way. Just for curiosity's sake.

  • Then students got into 6 groups.
  • Each group picks a sentence they want to debate.
  • Each group is paired with another (Group 1 vs Group 2). One person from those two groups plays Janken to find the winner.
  • The winning group's sentence is to be debated - BUT the losing group can chose which side they want, affirmative or negative.
  • Groups get 10 minutes to make three sentences which prove their argument.
  • At the end of the 10 minutes each pair of groups must face each other and debate the motion.
  • Their classmates vote for which group makes the best argument and is therefore the winner.


Lots of latitude to be creative with debate motions. I found this class interesting because you can really challenge the students on their opinions - something that doesn't seem to happen that often. The most interesting motion I used was 'You should be allowed to drink alcohol when you are 18'. Nearly all of 250 students asked disagreed. If I'd tried that at home, I expect the answer would be reversed. You might want to check with your JTE first on some of the more controversial statements.


Stress to your students that even the most powerful arguments can be made in very simple language: "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." - John Wayne.

Total 0

Estimated time: 50 min

Submitted by: Englipedia Archive

April 02, 2019


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