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Homosexuality ESL Lesson Plan: Debate

Student Your country is planning to pass a law to allow same-sex marriages. You are against
A:
the idea. Think of reasons to support your argument for one minute.
Student Your country is planning to pass a law to allow same-sex marriages. You support this
B:
idea. You believe gay people should have the right of marriage. Think of reasons to
support your argument for a minute. Start the conversation when youre ready by
asking your partner what he thinks of the same-sex marriage law.
God/Religion ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate
Student You are a scientist. You believe in the Big Bang Theory. Spend a minute thinking of
A:
reasons why science is the best explanation for life on earth. Your partner will start the
conversation.
Student You dont believe science can explain this wonderful universe. The world was clearly
B:
designed by someone. Spend a minute thinking of reasons to support your argument.
Start the debate by asking your partner what he/she thinks of the Big Bang Theory.
Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate
Role-play/Debate Scenario 1:
Student Your partner, Student B, is pregnant. You want to have a son, not a daughter.
A:
Convince your partner to have an ultrasound scan done to learn the sex of the child.
(male) Try to think of convincing reasons. When you are ready, start the conversation. (If
youd like, go as far as to suggest that you wouldnt even want a daughter).
Student You are pregnant with the child of Student A. You would like to have a natural
B:
childbirth and you dont care to know the gender of your child before it is born.
(female)
Role-play/Debate Scenario 2:
Student You believe Earth is overpopulated. Student B has five children and plans to have
A:
more. Try to convince him/her not to do so. Take a minute to plan your argument.
When you are ready, start the conversation.
Student You are the proud parent of five children. You believe it is your right to have children.
B:
You plan to have more children.
Terrorism ESL Lesson Plan: Debate #1
Student You dont support the use of torture on prisoners, even if it helps get important
A:
information. You believe such methods were used in prisons such as Guatanamo Bay.
Tell your partner the U.S. government needs to respect basic human rights, even when
dealing with terrorist suspects.
Student You support the use of torture, even horrible torture, to get information from terrorist

B:

suspects. Think of reasons to support your argument. Your partner will begin the
conversation.

Affirmative Action ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate: Bakke v. California


Student You are Allan Bakke, a white male. You have been rejected for two years in a row by
A:
the medical school of the University of California. You have heard, however, that other
applicants with lower grades were admitted because the program reserves 16 out of
100 places for minorities. You think this is unfair. Think of reasons to support your
argument, and then present your case to the Supreme Court.
Student You represent the medical program at the University of California. Your program
B:
reserves 16 of its 100 places for minority students. A white man, Allan Bakke, has
applied to your program and been rejected twice, despite having higher scores than
some minorities who were accepted. Bakke has taken you to court for this. Think of
reasons to defend your programs rules. Bakke will present his case first.
Neighbors ESL News Lesson Plan: Role-play #2
Student You repair cars as a hobby. Your neighbor wants to speak with you.
A:
Student Your neighbor moved to the neighborhood a two months ago. Since then, he has filled
B:
his yard with old car parts and broken machines. He has old cars in his driveway and
parked on the street. He also doesnt cut his grass. His yard is a mess, and it makes the
neighborhood look really bad. Knock on his door and try to convince him to clean it
up.
Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate
Situation 1: Elementary and middle schools in your town have begun giving out free condoms to
students.
Student You are an elementary school principal. The free condom campaign has just been
A:
introduced. You support this program, but you know that some parents might not like
the idea. Think of reasons for why the program is a good idea. (Soon, youll need to
give these reasons.) After a minute or so, your phone will ring.
Student Your innocent 11-year old daughter has just come home from elementary school with a
B:
handful of condoms. She tells you about the new program. You think its crazy. Think
of reasons for why the program should be changed or cancelled for a minute or so.
When youre ready, call the school principal on the telephone.
Role-play/Debate Situation 2:
Student You are a 16-year old girl. You have a new boyfriend, Ricky, who is 22. Ricky didnt
A:
finish high school but he makes good money fixing motorcycles. You love him. Tell
(female) your parent (Student B) that you want to marry Ricky and have his baby.
Student
B:

Your daughter is the top student in her classes. You want her to go on to become a
dentist like you. Recently, however, shes been out a lot and you havent seen her

much. Today she says she wants to talk to you about something.
London Riots ESL Lesson Plan: Reasonable Suspicion Debate
Background: Reasonable suspicion is a standard that allows police to stop and question a person
if they suspect the person has been, is, or is about to be involved in a crime. This standard is
controversial because it can seem like discrimination when the police stop and question people
simply because of their race or social background.
Youths from poor neighborhoods involved in the London riots have complained of frequently
being stopped by the police for no reason and searched. They consider this harassment.
Student You are the London police chief. You believe the police must be able to use reasonable
A:
suspicion to do their job and prevent crime. Spend a minute to think of reasons to
support your argument. Your partner will start the debate.
Student You believe that reasonable suspicion is a vague (unclear) standard used by police to
B:
harass minorities. You are a educated minority with no criminal record, yet the police
often stop and search you. You are against this. Spend a minute thinking of reasons to
support your position. Start the debate when ready.
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan: Debate (Pair Work)
Background (read aloud):
You and your partner are board members of the XYZ Company. Some members of the company
believe it should adopt a whistle-blowing policy. The policy would include:
a clearly-defined procedure for reporting issues.
trained people to receive and investigate reports.

a commitment to take appropriate action.

guaranteed protection for whistleblowers against retaliation (punishment).


Roles (each student reads his/her role to himself/herself):
Student Your support this policy. Think of reasons why adopting this policy would be
A
beneficial (1-2 minutes). Start the debate when youre ready by presenting your ideas
to your partner.
Student You are against this. Think of reasons why such a policy might harm the company [for
B
example, it may contribute to an environment of mistrust, it might make it hard to fire
bad employees, etc]. Your partner will begin the debate.
Office Space Lesson Plan: Role-play (Each student reads his/her role to him/herself)
Student Your company is moving to a different location next month. Due to budget concerns,
A:
you have had to reduce the number of offices available to managers. Student B is a
senior manager at your company. She/he will lose his office. Please give him/her the
news, and try to convince him/her that it will benefit his/her happiness and
productivity. When you are ready, start the conversation.
Student You have been working for Student As company for 15 years. You are a senior
B:
manager. The company announced that they would be changing locations last year.
The move will take place next month. You are already unhappy about this because you

bought a home near the current location. Now, Student A says he/she wants to talk to
you about something.
CSR Business Ethics ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate #1
(Each student reads his/her role to him/herself)
Student You are a shareholder in the XYZ Company. Despite the economic crisis, you have
A:
heard that the board of directors wants to implement a large (and costly) CSR
campaign next year. You are against this. Think of reasons to support your argument.
(Student B, a member of the board, will start the discussion.)
Student You are on the board of directors at the XYZ Company. You believe that, by
B:
implementing a CSR campaign in the next year, your company can make more longterm profits. Think of reasons to support your argument. When ready, announce the
news of the CSR campaign to your shareholders. (Student A is one of your
shareholders.)
CSR Business Ethics ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate 2
Student You are the CEO of ABC Pharmaceuticals. Your secretary has arranged a meeting with
A:
Student B for you today. You do not know what its about.
Student You are on the neighborhood planning committee in the community where Student As
B:
company, ABC Pharmaceuticals, operates. Your committee is hoping to build a large
youth center for troubled youths. You have a meeting with ABCs CEO today (Student
A). Try to convince him to donate money to help build the center.
CSR Business Ethics ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate 3
Student You are a rich American. Your country was founded on the work of entrepreneurs
A:
(businesspeople who took great risks) who worked hard to make their money. You
believe in the free market economic system, which rewards people for their
merit/achievement. You are against government regulation and high taxation on the
strong. Think of other reasons to support your position. Student B will start the
conversation.
Student You are anti-big business. Corporations are basically psychopathsthey act selfishly
B:
without concern for others (e.g. society or the environment). Explain to Student A (a
rich American) why corporations need heavy regulation and taxation to protect the
public good. (You may take a minute to prepare.)
Occupy Wall Street ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate
(note: each student reads his/her role only)
Student You are a rich businessperson. A protester is standing outside your office window with
A:
a sign that reads Eat the rich. You worked hard to get to where you are today. Go
outside and start a conversation with the protester about his/her sign when you are
ready.
Student You are a protesting outside. You are holding a sign that says Eat the rich. You

B:

believe the money held by the wealthy 1% of the nation should be shared with the
other 99%. Think of reasons to support your argument. A businessperson will soon
come talk to you.

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #1 (each student reads his/her role only)
Student You and Student B planned to get married. However, youve had some bad
A:
experiences in your past. In your last divorce, your partner took half of your money.
So, this time, you want your future wife/husband to sign a prenuptial agreement (= a
contract that determines who will get what in the case of a divorce). Tell Student B that
youd like to talk with her/him, and then ask him/her to sign the document.
Student You and Student A; your soul mate, plan to get married next year. You look forward to
B:
having children with him/her, and raising them in your large house. Student A has
asked to speak with you.
Marriage Lesson Plan: Role-play #2 (Pair Work) (each student reads his/her role only)
Student A
(any
gender):

You suspect that your friend, Student B, is cheating on his wife. Approach him
about this and try to convince him to be faithful.

Student B
(male):

You cheat on your wife, regularly. You think men have an excuse to cheat: its in
their genes. Sex is a higher priority for males than females. Men need to spread
their seed in order for the species to survive. Student A, your friend, wants to talk
with you.

Marriage Lesson Plan: Role-play #1 (Pair Work: each student only reads his/her role)
Student You are unmarried, in your late 30s. Your parents want you to find someone, so they
A:
have sent you to a matchmaker (Student B). Answer Student Bs questions.
Student You are a matchmaker. You want to find someone for Student A. Get a list of his/her
B:
requirements for a partner. Have him/her consider: appearance, character, age,
financial status, and anything else you can think of.
Love ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #2 (each student only reads his/her role)
Student You believe love is an emotion that cant be controlled. You are sure of this because,
A:
against your will, you have fallen in love with your college professor. He/she is 60
years old. Youve been seeing each other secretly for half a year. Now tell your parents
(Student B) about her/him.
Student Student A is your son/daughter. She/he is a first-year college student. She/he has asked
B:
to speak with you about something important.
Dating ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #1: Whipped (Pair Work)
Background: A man is said to be whipped when his girlfriend controls him. This expression
means the man is like a slave to his girlfriend, who is the whip-holding master.

(note: each student reads his/her role only)


Student You used to be best friends with Student B, however, now you hardly meet. His new
A:
partner is controlling his life. He never goes out anymore or does his hobbies. His
girlfriend has dominated his life and youre sick of it. Call him on the phone and
convince him to break up with her.
Student You are in a new relationship. You live with your new partner, and do everything
B:
together.
(male)
Dating ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #2 (Pair Work)
Student You have a date this evening. You have gone to your dates house and his/her parent
A:
has answered the door. Speak with the parent.
Student A young man/woman (Student A) has come to your house to go on a date with one of
B:
your (teenage) children. You are a very strict and protective parent. Ask questions to
determine if he/she is good enough to go on a date with your teenager.
Space Exploration ESL Lesson Plan: Debate (Pair Work)
Student You believe that space exploration is the key to the survival of the human race. Take a
A:
minute to think of other reasons why space exploration is important. When ready, ask
your partner what she/he thinks of the new mission to Mars.
Student Governments worldwide spend billions of dollars on space exploration. You believe
B:
its a waste of time and money. The Earth has many problems. We need to fix our own
problems instead of flying off into space. Think of other reasons to support your
argument. Your partner will start the conversation.

FREE DISCUSSIONS~ Topics to be debated


1. The husband should bring most of the money in the family.
2. Women are less intelligent than men.
3. Football is for idiots.
4. Computers are very important in education.
5. Knowing English well is equivalent to a college degree.
6. The actual school system is not good.
7. Success in life means money.
8. Nationalism is a positive thing.
9. Talk shows on TV are useless and boring.
10. Husbands and wives should have the same educational level.
11. Friendship is the most important relationship in life.
12. Marketing and management should be taught in last two years of high school.
13. Doing a job that you like is more important than to earn more money.
14. It is much more difficult to do business in the East than in western European
countries.
15. Business means trust.
16. Being a team worker is more important than to be a brilliantly creative person.
17. What job would you like to do and why?
18. Living alone can be an advantageous and good solution.
19. Multinationals and globalization bring good and bad things.
20. Where would you like to travel if you had 3000 USD?
21. Managers should also be excellent psychologists.
22. Church is a positive factor in our society.
23. Teaching is one of the most fascinating jobs.
24. Speak about your image of a perfect teacher.
25. Light drugs should be treated more tolerantly.
26. Democracy has bad aspects too.
27. Working in an advertising agency would be very interesting.
28. Guns~ pros and cons
29. Organizing a travel agency.
30. Camping holidays vs. hotels.
31. Big family vs. an only child.
32. TV is bad for young people.
33. What would you do if you won 1 million ?
34. Private English classes vs. group courses.
35. Capitalism is not a fair society.
36. It s not fair that film stars or football players earn millions.
37. A common Europe- is it just a dream?

38.
39.
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47.
48.
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53.
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56.
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58.
59.
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61.
62.
63.
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67.
68.

High Street shops vs. supermarkets.


Cosmetic surgery- pros and cons.
Women are not equal to men in our society.
Smoking should be banned.
TV is doing harm.
Grow fat and be happy!
Stricter traffic laws could prevent serious accidents.
Parents are too permissive with their children nowadays.
Vicious and dangerous sports should be banned.
Compulsory military service should be abolished everywhere.
Childhood is certainly the happiest time of your life.
Examinations exerts a bad influence on education.
Tourism doesnt contribute at all to the understanding between nations.
Living in a large, modern city- only a madman would choose it.
No one wants to live to be a hundred.
Equality of opportunities in a society- only a dream.
Capital punishment is the only way to deter criminals.
People should not spend billions on exploring the space.
The most important of all human qualities is a sense of humour.
I6ts foolish to give money to beggars.
Men are worse gossips than women.
Animals should not be kept in captivity.
Life begins at forty.
Vegetarianism is a way to find the way of good life.
The churches have nothing to do with modern life.
The United States of Europe is a fine ideal.
Teaching machines can replace teachers.
The customer is always right.
Emigration will solve our problems.
History is a purposeless activity.
Giving money to beggars is stupid.

Copyright Peter Szabo, The Thoughts of a Private Teacher, 2003


Copyright For and Against, Longman Group Ltd. 1973

Using animals in medical research helps people

Gay marriages are wrong

Women will never be equal to men in the workplace

You cant have a happy family life and a successful career at the same time

Marriage is outdated

The death penalty is acceptable in some cases

Foreigners shouldnt be allowed to vote

Celebrities earn too much money

Military service should be obligatory

War is never an option for solving international disputes

Torture can be acceptable in some cases

Curfews keep teens out of trouble

We are becoming too dependent on computers

Smoking should be banned worldwide

Single-sex schools are evil

Homework is harmful

A womans place is in the home

Committing suicide should be made legal

A man should have a wife for the family and a mistress for pleasure

Soft drugs should be legalized.

Those who can - do, those who cant teach

You will be happier if you stay unmarried

Software piracy is not really a crime

We do not really need religion

Your race affects your intelligence

Euthanasia should be legal

Obesity is a disease

Video games contribute to youth violence

Drinking age should be lowered

Steroids should be accepted in sports

Cloning has a lot of benefits

Prenuptial agreements make families stronger

Corporal punishment should be allowed in schools.

Should Abortion Be Legal?


Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society?
Should Prostitution Be Legal?
Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?
Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?

Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?


Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?
Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change?
Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?
Should we legalize polygamy?

Ran Total
k
views

Debate Motion

546,273 This House believes single-sex schools are good for education

376,492 This House would ban animal testing

330,157 This House would ban homework

316,015 This House supports the death penalty

315,644 This House believes reality television does more harm than good

308,901 This House believes university education should be free

268,775 This House believes the internet brings more harm than good

Ran Total
k
views

Debate Motion

262,244 This house would raise the legal driving age to 18

238,725 Homework is a waste of time. (Junior)

10

221,106 This house Would Ban School Uniforms - Junior

11

206,609 This House Believes that assisted suicide should be legalized

12

192,590

13

191,880 This house would ban cosmetic surgery

14

190,596

15

188,604 This House believes wild animals should not be kept in captivity

16

174,770 Every child should have a mobile phone. (Junior)

17

172,635

18

164,185 This House would legalize the sale of human organs

19

160,338 This House believes science is a threat to humanity

20

155,081 This House would ban junk food from schools.

21

139,948 This House would Censor the Internet

22

139,845 This House believes that advertising is harmful

23

136,714 This House believes that capitalism is better than socialism

24

136,305 This House believes that cannabis should be legalised

25

120,604 This House would ban beauty contests

26

120,194

27

119,098 This House believes homosexuals should be able to adopt.

28

118,966

29

112,988 This House would ban boxing.

30

109,954 This House Would Ban Human Cloning.

This House believes Tennessee is correct to protect teachers who wish


to explore the merits of creationism

This House believes that children should be allowed to own and use
mobile phones.

This House believes mothers should stay at home and look after their
children.

This house believes parents should be able to choose the sex of their
children

This House would ban the sale of violent video games/censor violent
video games.

Ran Total
k
views

Debate Motion

31

109,403 This house would allow gay couples to marry

32

109,167 This house would ban smoking in public spaces

33

108,560 This House Believes Terrorism can be justified

34

107,640

35

107,410 This House Would Lower The Drinking Age

36

103,968

37

102,339 This house would make voting compulsory

38

100,972

This House would permit the use of performance enhancing drugs in


professional sports

39

100,360

This House believes criminal justice should focus more on


rehabilitation.

40

99,476

This house would make physical education compulsory

41

99,367

This house would allow prisoners to vote

42

98,563

This House believes that marriage is an outdated institution

43

98,164

This House believes that the United Nations has failed

44

92,748

This House would restrict advertising aimed at children

45

91,619

This house believes that developed countries have a higher obligation


to combat climate change than developing countries

46

91,124

This House would arm teachers

47

91,042

This House would hold students legally responsible for bullying if it


resulted in the victim's death

48

90,605

This house believes that housewives should be paid for their work

49

90,177

This house Would reintroduce Corporal Punishment in Schools

50

88,718

This House would legalise Prostitution

51

88,373

This House would ban gambling

52

87,710

This House Would Implement A Fat Tax

53

87,668

This House would limit the right to bear arms

54

87,214

Neo-functionalism explains the integration of the European Union

This House believes that parents should be held responsible for their
school-going children's discipline problems.

This house believes extra-curricular activities in schools should be


formally recognised.

Ran Total
k
views

Debate Motion

55

85,671

This House believes all nations have a right to nuclear weapons

56

85,074

This House Believes that religion does more harm than good

57

84,756

This House would go vegetarian

58

84,247

This House would ban music containing lyrics that glorify violent and
criminal lifestyles

59

83,671

This house believes that hosting the Olympics is a good investment

60

83,136

This House would give illegal immigrants drivers licenses

61

82,777

This house believes that internet access is a human right

62

82,768

This house supports home schooling

63

82,625

This House would introduce child curfews

64

82,455

This house would legalize polygamy

65

80,093

This house believes that animals have rights.

66

79,850

This House would ban child performers

67

79,361

This house Believes People Should Not Keep Pets

68

78,905

This House would arm the police

69

78,053

This House supports random drug-testing in schools

70

77,813

This House would ban teachers from interacting with students via
social networking websites.

71

76,560

This House would use torture to obtain information from suspected


terrorists.

72

74,150

This House believes that it is sometimes right for the government to


restrict freedom of speech

73

72,502

This House would ban the development of genetically modified


organisms

74

72,489

This House would make all parents attend parenting classes

75

71,032

This House would ban alcohol

76

70,141

This House believes social deprivation causes crime.

77

68,339

This House would make sex education mandatory in schools

Ran Total
k
views

Debate Motion

78

68,116

This House would go nuclear

79

64,682

This House would force feed sufferers of Anorexia Nervosa

80

64,514

This house believes in the woman's right to choose

81

64,496

This House would ban the use of animals as objects of sport and
entertainment

82

64,486

This house believes that newspapers are a thing of the past

83

61,725

This House Would Distribute Condoms in Schools (Junior)

84

60,674

That The UK Should Have a Written Constitution

85

60,542

This House believes that music that glorifies violence against women
should be banned.

86

59,989

This House would ban smacking

87

58,565

This House believes we're too late on global climate change

88

58,503

This house believes the internet encourages democracy

89

57,820

This House believes that bribery is sometimes acceptable

90

56,572

This House Would Promote Safe Sex through Education at Schools

91

56,530

This house believes that the United States should be isolationist

92

56,382

This House would ban religious symbols in public buildings

93

56,289

This House believes that downloading music without permission is


morally equivalent to theft

94

56,181

This House would abolish the monarchy.

95

55,172

This house would further restrict smoking

96

55,038

This House Would Abolish nuclear weapons

97

55,032

This House would explore the universe

98

54,996

This House believes that endangered species should be protected

99

54,993

This House would as the United States ban assault weapons

100 54,878

This House would impose democracy