Collaborative idea generation for ELT


Debatepedia is an encyclopedia of debate topics covering everything you can possibly imagine. Here is a screenshot of the umbrella categories they divide the topics into:

Debatepedia screenshotThe whole site was created by the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) to collect pro and con arguments for debated topics in one place, thereby making it easier to promote debate supported by evidence. It is built along the lines of Wikipedia, so it is constantly evolving. As far as possible, each pro/con argument is also backed up by evidence from other websites. For example, here is a link to the debate on teacher-student friendships on facebook.

What would you do with this website in your classroom? You can make any assumptions you like about the context it is used in. Post your ideas in the comments below. All ideas are welcome (there are no wrong answers!)

Click here to find out the idea behind this blog.

Comments on: "Debatepedia" (3)

  1. I love this site and have been using it for 5 yrs, mainly in debate classes. But also in essay and thesis writing ones too. It’s great for students to see what for/ag arguments there are for a topic and how they are developed. Then they can start doing their own.

    For pre-class research its good but be careful that students don’t just repeat. I think you can also add your own comments which is good too.

  2. A couple of years ago, I persuaded a school to take up debate, and I gave a few lessons on it. I must say it was one of the highlights of the year. The students got quite involved even though their level of English wasn’t all that brilliant. You can see my tutorials and ideas in Debate in the classroom: all you need to knowand Debate tasks for everyone.

  3. lives on in a modern website called The mission continues, but moves away from the wiki model, which works less well with controversial issues, and toward the application of natural language processing and machine learning for the aggregation of pro/con arguments on global, national, and local issues. Check it out: I founded back in 2006 and have founded as a for-profit spin-off in 2016. My love for this cause remains strong, particularly in the echo-chamber environment we currently live in. Reach out if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, connections, etc! Thanks.

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