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Debate: Refuting An Argument

Debate: Refuting An Argument

Students practice refuting an argument by using signposts, restating reasons, and creating counter-arguments. An ESL debate activity for advanced students.

Level:  Advanced

Topic:  Debate

Time:  30 minutes


  • Make one copy of the Handout for each student.
  • Make one copy of the Key for the teacher.
  • Students need the Handout from the activity, Debate: Organizing The Opinion.



Give each student the Refutation Handout. Ask students to read the Handout and do Task 1.


Check the answers together as a class (answers available on the Key).

Signpost: short words that clearly define the reason

Reason: the reason for having the opinion

Counter-argument: the other side of the argument


Ask the students to get a partner and do Task 2. Encourage students to be creative with their counter-arguments.


Then, ask two pairs of students to make a group of 4 people. Their task is to present their refutations to each other and decide which is better.


Ask the first group to go to the front of the classroom and present their Refutation for the second point (the one they decided was better). Ask the audience to listen and identify the counter-argument.


Continue with each group until half the groups have had a chance to present. Then, as a whole class, discuss which group gave the best counter-argument.


Continue in the same way for the third point with the remaining groups.


It’s best to do this activity after Debate: Organizing The Opinion.

Printable Worksheets



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