Course Name:


No. of Lessons:

Lesson Duration:


English Debate 

Secondary 1 – Secondary 3

10 (Suggested)

1 hr 30 mins (Suggested)

Native English teachers with a university degree ; related teaching experience, and/or teacher training such as TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, PGDE/PCEd, etc.

Course Name: English Debate

Level: Secondary 1 – Secondary 3

No. of Lessons: 10 (Suggested)

Lesson Duration: 1 hr 30 mins (Suggested)

Instructors: Native English teachers with a university degree ; related teaching experience, and/or teacher training such as TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, PGDE/PCEd, etc.


The aim for this course is to use debate to develop reasoning and integrated language skills for students. Debating requires advanced oral presentation skills as well as logical deduction, which helps to enhance the cognitive development of young learners. We aspire to encourage students to develop better presentation and independent thinking skills with an ability to analyse different motions. By the end of this course, students will be able to conduct a debate on their own with in depth knowledge of debating, especially with that of NESTA style.


This course comprises three main elements: debate skills, teamwork and vocabulary building. A wide range of contemporary, controversial issues is covered in this course including modern day slavery, cruelty against animals and the positive and negative impacts of the Internet.


Unit 1: Introduction to Debate

    • Focus:
      – Vocabulary building
      – Phrases to agree and disagree
      – Strength of responses
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up game: True or false
      – Healthy eating
      – What is a debate?
      – Have an opinion
      – Corner game
      – Responses: Agree or disagree
      – Are uniforms good for students?
      – Interviews and surveys

Unit 2: Supporting Your Opinion

    • Focus:
      – Analysing motions types: A is better than B statements
      – Choosing a reason
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up game: Hot-seat
      – Explaining your opinion
             – Trains versus planes
             – Vocabulary exercise
      – Convincing reasons
      – Compare and contrast
             – The country versus the city
      – Giving reasons: Writing – ‘The country is a better place to live than the city’
      – Hamburger paragraph: ‘Exams should be abolished in schools’

Unit 3: Brainstorming Skills & Debate Delivery

    • Focus:
      – Using mind maps to brainstorm ideas
      – Delivery skills: posture, volume, pitch and tone
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up game: Word association
      – Internet safety
      – Brainstorming
      – Brainstorm challenge
      – Debate delivery
      – Voice
      – Voice game

Unit 4: Supporting Your Opinion with Evidence & Research

    • Focus:
      – Types of evidence: Explanation, statistics, example and expert opinions
      – Useful expressions for giving evidence (e.g. 80% of the population…)
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up: If I had one million dollars
      – Defining motions
      – Building a foundation
      – Types of supporting evidence
      – Language structures for giving supports
      – One, two three game
      – Researching & rewriting evidence 
      – Vocabulary game
      – Matching: Compulsory community service

Unit 5: Introduction to NESTA Debate

    • Focus:
      – Different roles in a NESTA debate
      – Writing a speech to fit your role
    • Activities:
      – Debate setup
      – Modern-day slavery
             – Vocabulary exercise
             – Defining slavery
      – NESTA orientation: Watching a debate clip
      – NESTA Codes of conduct
      – Role-plays: Etiquettes and expectations
      – Teamwork
      – Team building game: Bomb!
      – Sample speech: School uniforms

Unit 6: Organising Your Debate

    • Focus:
      – How to structure a debate speech
      – How to structure a paragraph within a speech
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up game: The whisper game
      – Speaker one: Debate introduction
      – Organising your debate
      – Signposts, reasons and supports
      – Components of a debate introduction
      – Strip speech competition
      – Debate introduction practice
      – Vocabulary exercise

Unit 7: Refuting Opinions and Challenging Supports

    • Focus:
      – Picking holes in an argument
      – Counter-arguments and useful expressions
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up game: Pass the story
      – Points of view
      – Types of refutations
      – Challenging supports
      – Evaluating evidence
      – Detective work: Asking questions
      – Challenging supports task
      – Sample speech: Picking a baby’s gender

Unit 8: Speech Debates

    • Focus:
      – Mini debate topics discussed
      – Making opinions quickly and concisely
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up game: Categories
      – Debate flow
      – Brainstorming
      – The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
      – Introduction and arguments
      – Refutation and summation
      – Speed debates

Unit 9: Debate Preparation

    • Focus:
      – Communicating using a wide range of expressions and alternatives (e.g. ways to explain ideas, summarising ideas etc.)
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up: Compliments
      – Debate preparation
             – Research
             – Resources
             – Listing new vocabulary
             – Useful expressions
    • Listing important points
    • Brainstorming
    • Introduction and arguments
    • Refutation and summation

Unit 10: The Final Debate

    • Focus:
      – Live debate and on-the-spot feedback
    • Activities:
      – Warm-up game: Hot seat
      – How to judge a debate
      – Final debate
      – Giving feedback 
      – Course review