I created this activity after becoming tired of confiscating mobile phones in class one summer and having to deal with a class full of sulking teenagers that didn’t want to participate afterwards!
Debates can be tricky to motivate students to take part, and they often find it hard themselves to become enthusiastic about the topic. I usually couple a debate class with lexis based on giving opinions.
So, I decided to incorporate mobile phones and debating into the same lesson. Here’s how I did it.
- The mobile phones are used as a form of realia. Students interview each other in groups/pairs about the uses they employ for their phones showing and explaining with the phone. They ask about apps, communication (Whatsapp, texting, Skype, calling, social networking sites, facetime), calendar, photos, videos, notes, alarm etc. Students discuss which ones they use, why they installed them, what they use them for and how often.
- Students are then prompted by the teacher to think about how they could use their mobile phones to help them learn English. The teacher monitors to encourage, but not to offer ideas, the thinking comes from the learners.
- Next the students are asked to make a list of positive (it motivates students) and negative attributes (students may start using their phones for non lesson related activities) to using mobile phones in class.
- Finally, the class is divided into 3 groups that are going to debate open class regarding the use of mobile phones in class: Students (pro), Teachers (50/50), Parents (against).
Lexis for giving opinions could be brainstormed and boarded between stages 3 and 4 if needed.
If you try this activity, let me know how it goes in the comments!