English Lessons: Dynamite Debate-One Teacher`s Experience

English Lessons--How to get your students doing a Dynamite Debate. The following text is from a presentation Thomas C. Anderson gave in Japan at a conference.

by Thomas C. Anderson


I’d like you to ponder this question: what can students gain from doing team debates?

My Teaching Situation

I teach a 13 lesson Debate class for a program in a large university with students from three departments: International Politics, Economics, and Communication. The underlying philosophy of the program is to take students from skills-learning classes to skills-using classes such as Debate, Discussion, Public Speaking, etc.

The Students

The students in my class are in the advanced stream according to their TOEFL scores. Classes have had more than thirty students in the past but now average in the higher twenties (I have 28 students this term). There are some returnees in the class.

My Experience

The first time I taught this course it was a real struggle for various reasons: student attitudes, trying activities that didn’t go over well, etc. At the end of the term I decided to start over and come up with a course that would give students ownership of every aspect of the course.


Students are put into groups of 3 or 4. I aim at having three debates and make sure that the groups have new members for each one.

To Learning English, Page two of this article.

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