Best Debates & Role-plays of 2011 — Englishcurrent.com
Recommendation to Teachers: Download the file, paste the role-plays/debates you find interesting into a blank document and then use that for your class. Do not try to use all of the debates/role-plays found here. Some role-plays/debates will not not be suitable/interesting for your students.
Download: ESL-best-debate-role-play-2011.doc (DOC) (the formatting is better in the Word document than below.)
Homosexuality ESL Lesson Plan: Debate
Student A: Your country is planning to pass a law to allow same-sex marriages. You are against the idea. Think of reasons to support your argument for one minute.
Student B: Your country is planning to pass a law to allow same-sex marriages. You support this idea. You believe gay people should have the right of marriage. Think of reasons to support your argument for a minute. Start the conversation when you're ready by asking your partner what he thinks of the same-sex marriage law.
God/Religion ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate
Student A: You are a scientist. You believe in the Big Bang Theory. Spend a minute thinking of reasons why science is the best explanation for life on earth. Your partner will start the conversation.
Student B: You don't believe science can explain this wonderful universe. The world was clearly designed by someone. Spend a minute thinking of reasons to support your argument. Start the debate by asking your partner what he/she thinks of the Big Bang Theory.
Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate
Role-play/Debate Scenario 1:
Student A: (male) Your partner, Student B, is pregnant. You want to have a son, not a daughter. Convince your partner to have an ultrasound scan done to learn the sex of the child. Try to think of convincing reasons. When you are ready, start the conversation. (If you'd like, go as far as to suggest that you wouldn't even want a daughter).
Student B: (female) You are pregnant with the child of Student A. You would like to have a natural childbirth and you don't care to know the gender of your child before it is born.
Role-play/Debate Scenario 2:
Student A: You believe Earth is overpopulated. Student B has five children and plans to have more. Try to convince him/her not to do so. Take a minute to plan your argument. When you are ready, start the conversation.
Student B: You are the proud parent of five children. You believe it is your right to have children. You plan to have more children.
Terrorism ESL Lesson Plan: Debate #1
Student A: You don't support the use of torture on prisoners, even if it helps get important information. You believe such methods were used in prisons such as Guatanamo Bay. Tell your partner the U.S. government needs to respect basic human rights, even when dealing with terrorist suspects.
Student B: You support the use of torture, even horrible torture, to get information from terrorist suspects. Think of reasons to support your argument. Your partner will begin the conversation.
Affirmative Action ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate:Bakke v. California
Student A: You are Allan Bakke, a white male. You have been rejected for two years in a row by the medical school of the University of California. You have heard, however, that other applicants with lower grades were admitted because the program reserves 16 out of 100 places for minorities. You think this is unfair. Think of reasons to support your argument, and then present your case to the Supreme Court.
Student B: You represent the medical program at the University of California. Your program reserves 16 of its 100 places for minority students. A white man, Allan Bakke, has applied to your program and been rejected twice, despite having higher scores than some minorities who were accepted. Bakke has taken you to court for this. Think of reasons to defend your program's rules. Bakke will present his case first.
Neighbors ESL News Lesson Plan: Role-play #2
Student A: You repair cars as a hobby. Your neighbor wants to speak with you.
Student B: Your neighbor moved to the neighborhood two months ago. Since then, he has filled his yard with old car parts and broken machines. He has old cars in his driveway and parked on the street. He also doesn't cut his grass. His yard is a mess, and it makes the neighborhood look really bad. Knock on his door and try to convince him to clean it up.
Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate
Situation 1: Elementary and middle schools in your town have begun giving out free condoms to students.
Student A: You are an elementary school principal. The free condom campaign has just been introduced. You support this program, but you know that some parents might not like the idea. Think of reasons for why the program is a good idea. (Soon, you'll need to give these reasons.) After a minute or so, your phone will ring.
Student B: Your innocent 11-year old daughter has just come home from elementary school with a handful of condoms. She tells you about the new program. You think it's crazy. Think of reasons for why the program should be changed or canceled for a minute or so. When you're ready, call the school principal on the telephone.
Role-play/Debate Situation 2:
Student A: You are a 16-year old girl. You have a new boyfriend, Ricky, who is 22. Ricky didn't finish high school but he makes good money fixing motorcycles. You love him. Tell your parent (Student B) that you want to marry Ricky and have his baby.
Student B: Your daughter is the top student in her classes. You want her to go on to become a dentist like you. Recently, however, she's been out a lot and you haven't seen her much. Today she says she wants to talk to you about something.
London Riots ESL Lesson Plan: Reasonable Suspicion Debate
Background: Reasonable suspicion is a standard that allows police to stop and question a person if they suspect the person has been, is, or is about to be involved in a crime. This standard is controversial because it can seem like discrimination when the police stop and question people simply because of their race or social background.
Youths from poor neighborhoods involved in the London riots have complained of frequently being stopped by the police for no reason and searched. They consider this harassment.
Student A: You are the London police chief. You believe the police must be able to use reasonable suspicion to do their job and prevent crime. Spend a minute to think of reasons to support your argument. Your partner will start the debate.
Student B: You believe that reasonable suspicion is a vague (unclear) standard used by police to harass minorities. You are an educated minority with no criminal record, yet the police often stop and search you. You are against this. Spend a minute thinking of reasons to support your position. Start the debate when ready.
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan: Debate (Pair Work)
Background (read aloud): You and your partner are board members of the XYZ Company. Some members of the company believe it should adopt a whistle-blowing policy. The policy would include:
Roles (each student reads his/her role to himself/herself):
Student A: Your support this policy. Think of reasons why adopting this policy would be beneficial (1-2 minutes). Start the debate when you're ready by presenting your ideas to your partner.
Student B: You are against this. Think of reasons why such a policy might harm the company [for example, it may contribute to an environment of mistrust, it might make it hard to fire bad employees, etc]. Your partner will begin the debate.
Office Space Lesson Plan: Role-play (Each student reads his/her role to him/herself)
Student A: Your company is moving to a different location next month. Due to budget concerns, you have had to reduce the number of offices available to managers. Student B is a senior manager at your company. She/he will lose his office. Please give him/her the news, and try to convince him/her that it will benefit his/her happiness and productivity. When you are ready, start the conversation.
Student B: You have been working for Student A's company for 15 years. You are a senior manager. The company announced that they would be changing locations last year. The move will take place next month. You are already unhappy about this because you bought a home near the current location. Now, Student A says he/she wants to talk to you about something.
CSR Business Ethics ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate #1 (Each student reads his/her role to him/herself)
Student A: You are a shareholder in the XYZ Company. Despite the economic crisis, you have heard that the board of directors wants to implement a large (and costly) CSR campaign next year. You are against this. Think of reasons to support your argument. (Student B, a member of the board, will start the discussion.)
Student B: You are on the board of directors at the XYZ Company. You believe that, by implementing a CSR campaign in the next year, your company can make more long-term profits. Think of reasons to support your argument. When ready, announce the news of the CSR campaign to your shareholders. (Student A is one of your shareholders.)
CSR Business Ethics ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate 2
Student A: You are the CEO of ABC Pharmaceuticals. Your secretary has arranged a meeting with Student B for you today. You do not know what it's about.
Student B: You are on the neighborhood planning committee in the community where Student A's company, ABC Pharmaceuticals, operates. Your committee is hoping to build a large youth center for troubled youths. You have a meeting with ABC's CEO today (Student A). Try to convince him to donate money to help build the center.
CSR Business Ethics ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate 3
Student A: You are a rich American. Your country was founded on the work of entrepreneurs (businesspeople who took great risks) who worked hard to make their money. You believe in the free market economic system, which rewards people for their merit/achievement. You are against government regulation and high taxation on the strong. Think of other reasons to support your position. Student B will start the conversation.
Student B: You are anti-big business. Corporations are basically psychopaths–they act selfishly without concern for others (e.g. society or the environment). Explain to Student A (a rich American) why corporations need heavy regulation and taxation to protect the public good. (You may take a minute to prepare.)
Occupy Wall Street ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play/Debate(note: each student reads his/her role only)
Student A: You are a rich businessperson. A protester is standing outside your office window with a sign that reads “Eat the rich.” You worked hard to get to where you are today. Go outside and start a conversation with the protester about his/her sign when you are ready.
Student B: You are protesting outside. You are holding a sign that says “Eat the rich.” You believe the money held by the wealthy 1% of the nation should be shared with the other 99%. Think of reasons to support your argument. A businessperson will soon come talk to you.
Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #1 (each student reads his/her role only)
Student A: You and Student B planned to get married. However, you've had some bad experiences in your past. In your last divorce, your partner took half of your money. So, this time, you want your future wife/husband to sign a prenuptial agreement (= a contract that determines who will get what in the case of a divorce). Tell Student B that you'd like to talk with her/him, and then ask him/her to sign the document.
Student B: You and Student A; your soul mate, plan to get married next year. You look forward to having children with him/her, and raising them in your large house. Student A has asked to speak with you.
Marriage Lesson Plan: Role-play #2 (Pair Work) (each student reads his/her role only)
Student A (any gender): You suspect that your friend, Student B, is cheating on his wife. Approach him about this and try to convince him to be faithful.
Student B (male): You cheat on your wife, regularly. You think men have an excuse to cheat: it's in their genes. Sex is a higher priority for males than females. Men need to spread their seed in order for the species to survive. Student A, your friend, wants to talk with you.
Marriage Lesson Plan: Role-play #1 (Pair Work: each student only reads his/her role)
Student A: You are unmarried, in your late 30s. Your parents want you to find someone, so they have sent you to a matchmaker (Student B). Answer Student B's questions.
Student B: You are a matchmaker. You want to find someone for Student A. Get a list of his/her requirements for a partner. Have him/her consider: appearance, character, age, financial status, and anything else you can think of.
Love ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #2 (each student only reads his/her role)
Student A: You believe love is an emotion that can't be controlled. You are sure of this because, against your will, you have fallen in love with your college professor. He/she is 60 years old. You've been seeing each other secretly for half a year. Now tell your parents (Student B) about her/him.
Student B: Student A is your son/daughter. She/he is a first-year college student. She/he has asked to speak with you about something important.
Dating ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #1: Whipped (Pair Work)
Background: A man is said to be whipped when his girlfriend controls him. This expression means the man is like a slave to his girlfriend, who is the whip-holding master.
(note: each student reads his/her role only)
Student A: You used to be best friends with Student B; however, now you hardly meet. His new partner is controlling his life. He never goes out anymore or does his hobbies. His girlfriend has dominated his life and you're sick of it. Call him on the phone and convince him to break up with her.
Student B: (male) You are in a new relationship. You live with your new partner and do everything together.
Dating ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #2 (Pair Work)
Student A: You have a date this evening. You have gone to your date's house and his/her parent has answered the door. Speak with the parent.
Student B: A young man/woman (Student A) has come to your house to go on a date with one of your (teenage) children. You are a very strict and protective parent. Ask questions to determine if he/she is good enough to go on a date with your teenager.
Space Exploration ESL Lesson Plan: Debate (Pair Work)
Student A: You believe that space exploration is the key to the survival of the human race. Take a minute to think of other reasons why space exploration is important. When ready, ask your partner what she/he thinks of the new mission to Mars.
Student B: Governments worldwide spend billions of dollars on space exploration. You believe it's a waste of time and money. Earth has many problems. We need to fix our own problems instead of flying off into space. Think of other reasons to support your argument. Your partner will start the conversation.
copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com