English: Debate



Debate is a classic activity in the English speaking world and great public speakers are highly regarded. Learning about debate teaches students about English culture while teaching them how to argue, how to write clearly, relate to an audience and how to be a convincing public speaker. In this unit the students also get to follow the 2016 American election from a debate perspective watching how television personalities break down the candidates arguments and how great speakers like Michelle Obama capture their audience.

Focus questions:

  1. How do you debate?
  2. Why does one need to know how to debate?
  3. How do you structure a good argument? Check out this great graphic planner! 
  4. What makes a great speaker / speech? What are rhetorical devices?
  5. How can you use debating and public speaking skills in your own life / career? What jobs use debate?

Long-term Planning:

Week 37 – finish UR doc, review debate topics (Which ones should we choose?)

Weeks 38 & 39 – researching your speech in groups, composing your arguments in teams

Week 40 – rough draft of speech due

Week 41 – final speech due, practice oral speech

Week 42 – debates within the class (final assessment)

Week 43 – final debates at Lemshaga (Red vs. Green, no assessment)

Week 46 – class trip to Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet to watch their final debates


  1. John Oliver shows how you structure a good argument
  2. TED talks: Video clips showing great speeches and Michelle Obama’s speech
  3. UR doc: ”Ungar talar så andra lyssnar.” Debate in the UK and how it helps you find your own voice / develop confidence
  4. Google Presentation about debate (Julia’s)

Knowledge Goals: 

  • English speaking countries: Learning about British / American debate culture
  • Relevant to the students: Links to Swedish election 2018
  • Argumentative essay structure
  • Usage of facts / research / sources
  • Writing and performing strong persuasive speeches
    • ex. clarity, audience, tone, pacing, repetition, anecdotes, evidence, questions, metaphors & simlies
  • Vocabulary, spelling, grammar
  • Challenging students’ prejudices and biases, challenging them to see beyond their own world
  • New perspectives

Formative Assessment:

  1. Short answer response to focus questions (written, in Google Classroom)
  2. Comprehension questions (i.e. about UR documentary)
  3. Participation in discussions and activities

Summative Assessment:

  1. Final copy of your speech (written, research and sources)
  2. Presentation of your speech (oral)
  3. During the debate (note taking strategies, questions, listening comprehension)

Connection to National Curriculum (Central Innehåll):

Samtal om egna tankar och upplevelser.

  • Presentationer som är berättande, beskrivande och informerande.
  • Samtal om vardagshändelser och bekanta och aktuella ämnen.
  • Talad engelska och texter från olika medier.
  • Filmer och dramatiserade berättelser för unga.
  • Beskrivande och informerande texter som förekommer i vardagen, till exempel instruktioner och nyhetsartiklar.
  • Berättande texter.
  • Människors livsvillkor, familjeliv och vardag i delar av världen där det engelska språket används.