A Group Discussion Week for B2 Level Students (CEFR based)

We are planning to make debates next week on some particular topics. By doing so, we will be able to asses our students’ both listening and speaking abilities and at the same time we’ll be able to see whether they’re at the level or not. 

ImageFor the debates, students are given topics beforehand, so they have time to research. 

Here is how we arranged the classroom debates:

1) There will be eight groups of students in each class. 

2) Students/teacher will choose among the following topics . This will be a “for” or “against” argument. So, one group will be “for” the idea, and the other group will be “against” the idea. Students can use statistics, facts, documents, etc. to support their argument.

a. Free speech should have limitations.

b. Has technology improved students’ performance in the lessons or has it made them more passive ?

c. Should Turkish university students pay more for their education like those abroad?

d. Abortion should be banned

e. Technology makes our life easier.

f. Computers can replace teachers.

g. Land sale to foreign nationals should not be allowed.

h. Countries should not interfere with its neighbors’ domestic affairs.

i. Nuclear energy has more benefits than its dangers.

j. Is  a university degree still valid nowadays considering the amount of graduates unemployed worldwide?

* Teachers are expected to tell all the quarter-final, semi-final, and final debate topics to their students so that students can prepare better.

•Group 1 vs. Group 2       Group 3 vs. Group 4           Group5 vs. Group 6         Group 7 vs Group 8
                               1 vs.2                                                                      3 vs.4

3) Each student in each group is expected to talk for four minutes on average, which makes a total of 12 minutes for each group-and 24 minutes for two groups. Before the end of the debate, one student representative from each group will talk about three minutes to wrap up their argument. And to prepare to do this , they will be given three minutes. All these are expected to take about 33-35 minutes. Since this is a debate, students may interrupt the speakers politely, and ask questions/make comments, etc.  

4) The winners will be chosen based on the total score of the group. Let’s say, students in the first group got 81, 69, and 92, which makes 242 points. Students in the other group got 78, 66, 94, which makes 238. So, the winner will be the first group. Students will be evaluated according to the speaking exam criteria.

5) The debates will start on Tuesday (quarter-finals) and each lesson will be allocated for one debate. So, by the end of Tuesday, there will be four winners. (Monday will be allocated for questions by students and preparations.)

6) The next day, Wednesday, will be allocated for the semi-finals, when the four winners will compete against each other. The first and the third lessons will be allocated for the preparations as a group. So, there will be two winners by the end of the day.

7) Thursday can be used as a revision day, or teachers can spend it the way it will be beneficial for their students.

8) Friday will be the day for the final. The two winners will defend their theses against each other, and the winner will be rewarded by the administration. The second lesson will be allocated for the final debate.


As you see we are planning to reward our students for their success, which will motivate them 😉

What about you?

Are you doing similar things in your classes? I really wonder how similar and how different the procedures are.

Aysun 🙂

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  1. Hi Aysun,

    This is a great article. I like the way you have set up the debate competition. I am sure your students are motivated and each one will enjoy their learning journey, defending and / or opposing their team’s position. I would like to recommend my book as a resource for your efforts. It’s called: “How to Coach A Debate Team” http://www.amazon.com/How-Coach-Debate-Team-ebook/dp/B00863QGII

    It includes some very helpful ideas, tips, drills and strategy that could support you and your debaters efforts. I also recommend, “Teaching Debate in Chile” http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Debate-in-Chile-ebook/dp/B007EIJ6JM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1339244255&sr=1-1

    Quote: “Why should we teach our students to debate? Here’s a global answer: “Sooner or later, all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace… If this is to be achieved, man must evole for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation…” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

    Again, I commend you on your efforts to get your students speaking English and having a lot of fun while doing so!

    Best regards,

  2. Thank you so much for your invaluable comment, Also this is a really good support for a new blogger. I’ll find the book which i’m pretty sure that I’ll like.

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