Task 7, p. 228: preparing and conducting a debate

Form groups of five. Each group chooses one of the following statements:

  • Capital punishment for murder is the best way to deter people from committing murder.
  • Homosexual people should have the same legal rights as any other members of society.
  • Taxes should be kept as low as possible.
  • We should definitely increase the level of immigration.
  • It is only natural that there are more male leaders in politics and business.
  • The right to have an abortion is a basic human right.
  • It is important to preserve and create jobs in industry, oil and gas extraction and coal mining - and not let environmentalists destroy the foundations of our society.



Two group members find as many arguments as possible to support the statement, whereas two others find arguments that go against it.

The fifth group member is the Chair, the one who leads and moderates the debate. This means that he or she keeps order in the debate, deciding whose turn it is to speak and when someone has spoken long enough. The Chair also has to prepare a brief introduction to the debate and introductory questions for the ones debating. However, the Chair does not take part in the debate.


The debate:
The Chair introduces the topic and opens the debate by posing a question to each of the participants. When the debaters have given their initial views on the matter, the Chair follows up with more questions throughout the debate. Remember to be polite and serious.


After the debate:
Now the audience gets to appoint a winner of the debate by voting for one of the sides. The members of the audience must be ready to explain why they voted for a certain side.