So what is a debate?
The dictionary definition is:
A formal discussion of a particular problem, subject etc in which people express different opinions, and sometimes vote on them - LDOCE
Letizia Cinganotto describes debate as: «Debate is a teaching methodology which is becoming more and more popular in schools as it is dynamic, engaging, interactive and help students develop their critical thinking skills, their creativity and fluency in the foreign language».
Handy Guide to Distance Learning Pearson 2020 by Letizia Cinganotto
It is important to consider though as Michael Brand Teacher Trainer from Pearson Espana points out:
«We are not only preparing our students to debate, most of them probably won’t be doing formal debates every day in their working lives, but we’re giving them practice in lots of ‘communicative functions’ like stating, discussing, questioning, defending, justifying, informing, explaining, classifying, proving, persuading, evaluating’.»
In the Handy Guide to Debate Pearson 2020 Letizia Cinganotto outlines two types of debate commonly used in English Teaching.
Teacher sets learning goals to be attained: skills, competences, content, attitudes but no jury or winning team. Debating to revise content or to test certain subject knowledge, ascribing a mark to the performance, according to specific criteria.
Two or more teams, arguing and defending their own positions through evidence, facts and figures.
Proposition/Opposition teams are usually appointed later on.
The General English Course High Note B1 Pearson 2019 proposes five steps to planning and organizing a debate.
1. Propose a motion or controversial statement
2. Make Teams: proposers and opposers
3. Prepare for the debate
4. Hold the debate
5. Provide Feedback