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This is a proposed structure for a group debate, including an ideal timescale. However, depending on the length of this session, the leader should feel free to change and adapt it where suitable.

The proposed motion is:

‘Would you rather put your life at risk for something you believe in, or live in safety but without a voice?’

However, if you wish, you can change the discussion to focus on another current event which breaches human rights.


You will need:

  • A Chairman
  • A Timekeeper
  • 2 people for the Proposition (For)
  • 2 people for the Opposition (Against)


  • Divide the class into four groups. Two groups will assist the proposition speakers with their argument and two the opposition speakers. This can be one of each for smaller groups.
  • Those who are assisting the speakers should use this time of research to think about questions that they want to ask within the debate as well. They do not have to agree with the side they are assisting.
  • Each group for the opposition/proposition should interact with one another. In each speech, key points should not be repeated.

The Debate:

Before the debate starts, allow the groups 10 minutes to collaborate and look through what they’re going to speak about.

  • Each speaker will have 2 minutes to present their argument. Speakers 1 will go first, and then be followed by Speakers 2.
  • The rest of the group will be the floor. At the end of the first two arguments, those on the floor will be able to ask questions to either side. This should last no more than five minutes. If there is a second set of speakers, this is then repeated.
  • Using a set of scales (marked 1-5 if possible), the leader will award marks for each point made, for both the speeches and open floor. If the leader wants they can also make notes of the points made for discussion after the motion has been passed.
  • At the end of the debate the leader ( or chairman ) should ask for a raise of hands. For each hand raised, another mark will be awarded to the side in question.

Timescale(approximately 30minutes):

  • Chairman opens the debate and introduces the first two speakers(1 minute)
  • Speaker 1 of the Proposition speaks(2 minutes)
  • Speaker 1 of the Opposition speaks(2 minutes)
  • The floor is open for questions(5 minutes)
  • Chairman introduces the second speakers(1 minute)
  • Speaker 2 of the Proposition speaks(2 minutes)
  • Speaker 2 of the Opposition speaks(2 minutes)
  • The floor is open for questions for a second time. The floor will then vote for or against the motion (5 minutes)
  • If there is time, the group leader can then proceed to give feedback to the speakers and points made on the floor (10 minutes)



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