Teaching Debate to ESL Students

This Teaching Debate to ESL Students unit plan also includes:

Language learners use the debate format to practice formulating, expressing, and defending their ideas. Working in teams, class members develop resolutions, use opinion indicators to express their opinions and reasons, and prepare rebuttals. A great way to develop argumentation skills and persuasive speech.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Have the class generate resolutions that would be appropriate for debate
  • Use in language arts when working on forming arguments, or in social studies for a formal historical or political debate
Classroom Considerations
  • Although designed for ESL/ELD classes, this introduction to debate activity is appropriate for any classroom
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
  • The packet includes a detailed plan and a rationale for the activity, sentence frames, warm-up activities, a format for the debate structure, and an appendix
  • While the exercise encourages class members to express their opinions on controversial topics, no scaffolding or support is provided for the language skills required for the activity