by Almudena Jiménez and Michael Grafals

1. Why a debate and how to do one?

Class debates can be a great motivational tool for creating meaningful interactions and discussions with language learners. They provoke students to speak impromptu and express themselves freely. As a teacher, you are not only an outside observer or a mere prompter of the class debates, but also an active participant and a thorough designer of the class activities.
  1. Choose interesting topics for debates, keeping in mind their suitability, up-to-date focus and students’ likes and dislikes. Questions and topics for debates are provided mostly at the end of the text as an extended activity for practicing reading and speaking skills. Therefore, students have already gained some general understanding of ideas for further discussions and debates. What is more, you can persuade students to formulate their own topics and questions for debates, which is the best way of actively involving students from the very beginning of a preparation process.
  2. Divide your class into two teams by placing good students randomly and avoiding situations when only one team take turns and another keeps quiet. You can either appoint a team leader, a secretary and a main speaker yourself, or team members can do it themselves. It will help teams to get organized and distribute roles fairly within a group, involving all members (even the shyest and quietest) with some responsibilities.
  3. Instruct one team to prepare all supporting arguments in favor of the statement and another team to prepare arguments against it as a homework assignment. Recommend some Internet sites, books and other sources for further research and study. Students can write an answer to the question or brainstorm on the topicpros and cons charts illustrating their answers with appealing and moving examples.
  4. Next class, arrange the seats so that the teams face each other as two opposing sides and the team leaders can monitor the groups. You will act as a coordinator who oversees the debate, makes comments during it and finalizes the outcomes. However, it is vital not to overuse your powers and your words during the debate; otherwise the class might become a podium for only one person – the teacher.
  5. Start your classes with an inspirational quote that could establish the right atmosphere for the debate.
  6. Let both teams present their views on the topic by encouraging students with your own remarks.
  7. Summarize the debate outcomes by exploring the most interesting opinions and evaluating students’ performance.

2. Rules and Procedure of the Debate

Procedures for the Debate

{ The Flow of the Debate} { What To Say }
1. Roll Call
This is when the chair calls attendance at the beginning of each session.
1.Setting the time
(Name of delegate) moves to set the speakers time to 1min 30 sec”
2. Setting the Agenda
Here is where the chair will introduce himself, the staff and the topic.
2.When you have nothing else to say in your speech and you still have time left
I yield my time to the chair.”
3. Making the Speakers List
Delegates will raise their placards (or hands) and the chair will place him or her on a speakers list. The order of the speaker's list is the order in which that delegates will debate.
3. To open /close the speakers list
(Name of delegate) moves to open (or close) the speakers list
3. Setting the Speakers Time
Here a delegate will raise his placard and make the motion to set the time for whatever time the delegate chooses. The assembly will vote on the time.
4. When the delegate wishes to tell the chair about a physical discomfort or if he or she cannot hear the a delegate
(Name of delegate) has a point of personal privilege, we cannot heart the speaker.. etc.”
4, Opening the Speakers List
A delegate votes to open the debate by opening the list of speakers.
When a delegate wishes to suspend the meeting because of lunch or for a break.
(Name of delegate) moves to suspend the meeting for the duration of...for the purpose of...”
5. Debate
Formal debate

Informal debate

This is the debate that begins when the speakers list is open. Delegates make speeches one at a time according to the speakers list.

In this debate, delegates may raise their hands and the chair calls on them. This type of debate is better when addressing specific points.

After a delegate finishes his or her speech, a delegate wants to ask a question about a speech.
(Name of delegate) has a point of information for (name of delegate who finished speaking)”
6. Closing the debate
After the delegates believe that the assembly has said all that it needs to say, a delegate may make the motion to close the debate and move to voting.
A delegate has a question for the chair about rules or procedure.
(Name of delegate) has a point of inquiry.”
7. Voting
All the delegates vote on topic

{Important Types of Sentences to Use}__
Conditional sentences
1. If Christopher Columbus had not discovered America, then there would have been less fruits we can eat.

2.If only the expedition had treated the Indians well, then we would look favorably on Columbus' legacy.
Stating opinions
I believe (that) Columbus was only trying to do what he thought was right.

In my opinion, Columbus was a great man in risking his life to find new lands.

I think these kinds of debates are the best way of sharing ideas.

3. The Debate