Let´s debate!

Schools around the world are often encouraged to organize more outdoor activities and field trips towards the end of the school year. Are field trips worth all the time and effort required to make them successful? In the following lesson idea students will have an opportunity to debate the pros and cons of field trips.

Levels: Upper-intermediate/Advanced

Aimed at: Teenagers/Young adults/adults

Aims: To encourage speaking in the context of field trips/To help students develop their discourse management and debating skills/ To practise language used in debates and discussions/ To encourage group work and critical thinking/ To promote interaction

Materials: Cards to cut up: useful language cards pros and cons cards 

(For weaker groups you might want to use the pros and cons cards to help them organize ideas)

Time: 45 min

1.  Have students work in small groups and brainstorm the pros and cons of field trips. At the end of this activity you should have something similar to this on the board:

+/- 10 min

2.   Tell the students that they are going to practise the language used in debates and discussions. This lesson is more of a revision/consolidation and they should already be familiar with some of the language that will be used.

Split the class into 2 groups of 4-6 students. For bigger classes you can have two debating teams. Tell one group they are for the field trips and another group that they are against them. Give the groups about 5-10 minutes to decide on the ideas they are going to use in the debate.

-/- 10 min

3.  Have the useful language cards placed face up on the table in front of the students (you can use the floor for bigger groups) in random order (useful language cards pros and cons cards )

Tell the students that the objective here is to practise the language used in debates. Every time one of the students uses an expression from one of the slips, they place it face down on the table:

At the end of this activity, students will have used all the useful language cards and the pros and cons cards (if you have decided to use them) and have them placed face down on the table.

+/- 25 min

4.  The same procedure can be repeated with any other topic until your students get really good at their debating skills! Have students come up with their own discussion topics or choose from the below list of ideas for debate topics:


Additional debate lessons plans:



9 Steps to Organizing Great ESL Debates:


Happy creating!


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