CLIL Activity – Primary 4



Using debates in the classroom can help students grasp many essential critical thinking and presentation skills and improve their public-speaking skills. Debates also offer a great opportunity to hear two sides of a story, with equal weight given to each point of view.

Debating can be scary when you are just starting out, but it can help students to become much better speakers and to increase their confidence and self-esteem. The confidence and ability to present themselves and their ideas in a succinct and clear way are attributes that can last a lifetime.

Available in printable, PDF format:


You will need:

  • Blank paper and pencils for each team.



1. Have a look at the following document before starting the activity to find hints about how to conduct a debate with primary students:

2. Ask the students if they know what a debate is. They have probably seen debates in TV or have heard about them from adults.

3. Explain to the class what a debate is (a competition in which two opposing teams prepare and make speeches to support their arguments and disagree with those of the other team) and tell them they are going to have their own debate in class with their own opinions about New Technologies.

4. Divide the class into two groups of students plus the audience. You can choose to have all the students participating in the debate or only 5 people in each group plus the audience. Make sure to have students of heterogeneous levels in each group. The teacher will be the referee of the debate.

5. Set up the classroom with two set of tables facing each other. They should be at the front of the class so the audience can see all the participants in the debate.

6. Choose a team to agree with the topic (affirmative team) and the other one to disagree with it (negative team). Ask each team to give each member a role in the group: secretary, speaker 1, speaker 2, speaker 3, and a helper/supporter (this role could be assigned to the weakest student in the team, so that he will have the feeling he is doing a lot for his team).

7. In teams the students should brainstorm arguments that support their position using the knowledge they already have about New Technologies. Ask the secretary of each team to record the arguments on a piece of paper so the speakers will be able to view the statement while they talk.

8. Help the two teams to write statements in a definitive manner. For example: the internet is one of the main advantages of the New Technologies. Divide the arguments between the three speakers.

9. Decide on a time limit for each speaker, such as two minutes.

10. Start the debate with the presentation of the topic. The first student to speak is the first speaker for the affirmative.

11. The speakers should alternate between the negative and affirmative teams.

12. As the referee you have to make sure that everyone respect the rules as the debate is going on. You can use the rules listed below or as a class create your own before starting the debate:

  1. Don’t lose your temper!
  2. Don’t close your eyes, and ignore the arguments the other team made!
  3. Don’t interrupt or correct the person who is speaking!
  4. Listen carefully!
  5. Don’t get angry, debating should be fun!”


13. After everyone has spoken, announce which team has won the debate. Remember to praise everyone’s effort.


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