The art of argument isn’t always easy to master, especially when you’re doing it in another language. To help scaffold the practice of making and supporting an argument, a poster debate can be an engaging and less threatening way for students to participate in a debate. This activity is also a great way to scaffold writing assignments in your class because students can reference the posters as they start to work on their own essays.
- Start by doing a few readings along a similar theme to help students build schema before doing this activity. If students will have a writing assignment about class readings, then using the same readings and theme is a great idea.
- Next, divide students into groups, or give them the debate topic and let them form groups. Depending on the class size, you could have a couple pro and a couple con groups.
- Once students are in their groups and on a side of the issue, have each group create a position poster. They should state what their position is and reasons that support their position. Students can list quotes from the readings to make their argument stronger and to help prepare students for later writing assignments.
- After each group creates their poster, have the opposing group go to the other group’s position poster and read through it. Then, they work together as a group to either create a new poster with counterarguments, or they can write counterarguments on sticky notes and put them on the opposite team’s poster.
- Have the groups switch back to their original posters and discuss the counterarguments that were made about their poster. You could extend that activity by letting them write a few rebuttals.
I would keep these up in the classroom while you’re still working on this theme because students may reference them on later assignments.