Four Corner Debate

In the Four Corner Debate ESL conversation activity, students move to different parts of the room depending on their viewpoint.

Students for Four Corner Debate ESL Conversation:4+Time for Four Corner Debate ESL Conversation:15-30 mins
Resources for Four Corner Debate ESL Conversation:
Internet and Projector or Prepared Topics; Recycled Paper

You will need a set of statements for the students to debate (e.g. The voting age should be lowered to sixteen). If you have a projector and Internet access, try using our Debate Topic Generator.

Stick a piece of recycled paper in each corner of the room, each with one of the following statements written on it: Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Somewhat Disagree, Strongly Disagree.

Students all stand in the middle of the classroom.

  1. Present the students with a debate topic.
  2. The student have to move to the corner which corresponds to their viewpoint. Students must choose – there is no middle ground!
  3. When all students have chosen, ask each corner to explain their position. Often this will naturally lead to debate across the room, but you may have to encourage it. If all the students happen to go to one corner, try changing/rewording the statement slightly.
  4. Repeat for as many debate topics as desired.
Target Language

The Four Corner Debate ESL conversation activity is a great way to stimulate discussion and debate with classes that might otherwise be unwilling to contribute. The opportunity to get up and move around is an effective motivator for many students.

If you have been studying language for giving/justifying opinions, you could even include incentives (e.g. points, sweets) for using key expressions.

There is also the option to tailor your discussions to a particular vocabulary topic (this is possible on our Debate Topic Generator). For example you could focus on education, politics, or science and technology.

Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.