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  • ThomasTopham
    8 February, 2009 at 7:37
    • Total posts: 13

    Level: Elementary and up

    Materials: None

    Comments: This activity can be used as a warmer at the start of the lesson, or as a way of practicing certain types of language, for example agreeing/disagreeing (I don’t agree with you, I see your point etc) or comparatives (Coke is tastier than Pepsi, Pepsi is cheaper than Coke etc).


    1. Ask students if they like arguing, which of them thinks they are good debaters.
    2. Divide them into pairs, one is A and the other is B.
    3. On the board, write the letters A and B and under each one, two thing that could be compared or debated about, e.g. coke/pepsi, cats/dogs, cars/trains, tea/coffee, male teachers/female teachers (!)
    4. Give the students one minute to argue in pairs and each has to defend the item they are given. For example, A has to say why Coke is better than Pepsi, and B has to say why Pepsi is better than Coke.
    5. After each one minute has finished, elicit a few arguments that students put forward to defend their item.
    6. Do this four or five times or until just before they get bored. (Protip: to stop just before they get bored, do they activity until they are bored, and then 2 minutes less.)


    * To involve the students even more you can get them to suggest the items to write on the board. One way is to get them to write down nouns on pieces of paper and then just randomly choose two to be the items. This can lead to some odd pairings, such as ‘love’ and ‘apple’, but this just makes it even more fun and creative!
    * There are possibilities to do this as an informal needs analysis or feedback from your students to you – e.g., what’s better, writing English or Speaking English?, what lesson was more interesting, yesterday or today?, etc.
    * By using different grouping techniques (e.g., onion or two lines), you can rotate such that the learners have a new debating partner each round.
    * This activity could serve double-duty in a test-teach-test lesson: first as a warmer to assess their ability in a particular language area (functions of agreeing/disagreeing, comparatives, etc.), and then as a fluent use "re-test" at the end.

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