Classroom debate resources

Getting students to debate in EFL classrooms is not easy. It takes time, patience, and practice, of course, but knowing how to and how much to support students is probably most important.

In the world of debate in Japan, there are two main styles: policy and parliamentary. The former requires research and more preparation, and places great emphasis no argument support, while the latter requires students to think logically on their feet. I tend to favor policy debates for reasons of academic skill development and content exploration. The following materials can be used for policy debating in EFL classrooms. This activity will require at least 6-10 hours of instruction and practice if everyone is unfamiliar with debate. Because of classroom times, a short debate is necessary. The following materials are for a short (45-min) policy debate. Please adjust the times to match your situation. In general, allowing students more preparation time before speeches and questions leads to better results.


Affirmative Constructive DebateTemplate_AffirmativeConstructive

Negative Constructive DebateTemplate_NegativeConstructive

Attack (for both) DebateTemplate_Attack Template

Defense-Summary (for both) DebateTemplate_DefenseSummary

Other Resources

Debate Management Sheet and Chairperson Script Debate Management Sheet and Chairperson Script

Debate Management Sheet and Chairperson Script (with more prep time) Debate Mgmnt Sht and Chair Script (more prep time)

Debate Flowsheet (for note taking) DebateFlowsheet