Electronic Dictionaries Debate

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Name of Teacher: Mr Keiji Yamada

Class/Grade/Language Level: JHS 3rd Grade

Textbook and specific lesson: New Horizon 3 Unit 5 Reading for Communication pg 56

Goal: Teach students basic debating skills to improve their ability to communicate in interrogative form and teach the ability to communicate their own opinions

Preparation: A preparation lesson and worksheet and _digital textbook, stopwatch, lots of promoting

Class time: 20 to 40 minutes


A debate usually takes around 40 minutes in this condensed format it takes around 20 minutes to make it easier for students to do this communication activity. Prompting in Japanese or simple English will be necessary to make sure it is run smoothly. All the discussion time was done in Japanese to speed up the competition. This lesson works best for smaller advanced classes with 30 or less students. My JTE made a worksheet and got the students to write down their opinions about whether they agreed that printed dictionaries are better than electronic dictionaries or disagreed and thought electronic dictionaries are better. Get the class to watch the Unit 5 discussion video in the New Horizon 3 textbook.

Before the debate, divide the class into two teams and give students a few minutes to decide who has the best opinions. The two representatives will present their speech. Remind students to use their worksheets throughout the debate. The table below shows how to divide the class.

Affirmative side opinion 1 Negative side opinion 1
Affirmative side opinion 2 Negative side opinion 2

1. First person from the affirmative side begins and reads their opinion (1 minutes or less)

2. Negative side asks questions about the affirmative`s side opinion. Prompting will be necessary in Japanese. Asking questions such as why are printed dictionaries more useful? What can electronic dictionaries do that printed dictionaries that cannot? (2 minutes discussion time)

3. The affirmative team has time to discuss and answer the questions asked by the negative team. (Give the team two minutes to discuss and form their answers)

4. The negative team presents their opinions. (2 minutes)

5. The Affirmative side asks questions to about the negative sides debate (Give about 2 minutes discussion time)

6. The negative side answers the affirmative team`s questions. Give the team two minutes to form their answers using their worksheets.

7. Repeat the process and for the second opinion (10 minutes)

8. Give both teams a chance to say a final point or summary of their opinions with evidence (2 minutes for both teams)

The final judgment

The judge`s chart will help you decide who won the debate.

Affirmative team Negative team A score out of 4
Opinion 1 Opinion 1 _______/4
Opinion 2 Opinion 2 _______/4
1 – If you understood their opinion but they could not back their opinion with evidence
2 – If you understood their opinion and they communicated their point fluently based
3 – If you understood their opinion and they could answer one of the opposing side`s question.
4 - If you understood their opinion and they could answer both opposing side`s question.


Prompting is necessary and you will have to do it throughout the debate to keep the class on track Motivate your students by saying it’s a legal battle and they are fighting to prove their opinions. If you can say it in Japanese you can motivate them more.

Allow them to use their textbook if they need more assistance.


For this debate I prompted often as it was their first time. So I was promoting in Japanese and some basic English. Make sure you tell students they only have two minutes to form their answers and tell them how much time they have to speed up their thinking time. Also discuss with your JTE so they can translate your feedback and they can give their feedback about the debate. The students enjoyed the lesson and they were motivated to convey their opinions. The debate can be about any topic preferably something easy or something discussed at school recently like at the school meetings we don`t get told much about. Remember it`s an English battle!