The Pros And Cons Of The Big Debate

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The Big Debate: Making Debates less formal in the EFL classroom In a world where we are constantly disagreeing with our family and friends’ opinions, it is important to realize exchanging ideas about an issue does not mean arguing about an issue. A debate is traditionally a formal method of presenting an argument (Debate, n.d.). But what springs to mind when learners hear the word “debate”? Much like “test”, “speech” or “presentation”, “debate” strikes panic into learners, especially students learning other languages. Much of this problem is the formal setting debates are traditionally associated with. Think of a debate and you are most likely to picture suited men and woman of high intellect, like politicians, standing on podiums contradicting or arguing with each other…show more content…
This “parliamentary-style debate” is very intimidating for any non-native speaker or even a native speaker. The common consensus is that debates are for higher-level students with higher-level thinking skills. But do we not constantly disagree with each other and attempt to persuade others to the legitimacy of our thinking on a daily basis? When children are arguing about whose turn it is to wash the dishes, (along with their ideas of why it is not their turn), they are debating. When teenagers are arguing about who is the greatest footballer in the world is or why their sports team is better, they are debating. So, with this in mind the most common and used type of debate is informal and spontaneous while focusing on everyday issues without the formal structure, timeslots, or judges. This paper will look at teaching less formal debates in the EFL classroom to engage lower level students and help motivate them with specific debates aimed at the interests of the learners. It will also show the skills reinforced throughout a debate and the critical
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