Classroom Debates: Shifting the Focus

Vivan Chu


While debates can be a useful means for language learners to practice fluency and exchange opinions, they can easily turn into disastrous sessions where hostily run rampage out of adamant views and unexamined preconceptions. When there is risk of the latter happening, particularly with complex and controversial debate topics, it is necessary to balance spontaneity with structured pre-debate activities and controlled language practice to facilitate a cooperative learning experience. This article offers suggestions and classroom materials to shift the focus of debates from winning arguments to appreciation of diverse perspectives, critical thinking, and language skill development.


critical thinking; multiple perspectives; functional language; debate strategy

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