Debating an Issue

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This lesson is an introduction to the art of formal debating and the various skills and rules of a debate. We learn how debating skills can be used on an everyday basis and hear about their benefits to learners who take part in debates. Finally we see some debaters in action. Whilst the lesson shows a formal debate and provides an outline for conducting a debate in this style, it is not necessary to have such a formal debate in class. Discuss the principles behind debating and plan an informal debate, allowing each team the same amount of time to speak and having a chairperson to keep the debate on track. You may then want to set up your own debate following these principles rather than the strict structure suggested. A very important point about debating that you should make to your learners is that it is not only a speaking contest, but a challenging listening exercise. Debates can stand or fall by the quality of the rebuttal – and only the good listeners are able to rebut successfully. Good listening is also an important tool for summing up the arguments.
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