1. T asks every SS to think of one agree/disagree statement based on a given topic. These are statements with strong opinions, for example:
- A strong statement about something: x is… because…
- A strong statement about yourself, e.g. I like / hate x because… Or, I would like… / I want… Or, I would be good at… Or, I’m scared of…
- A statement about your experience: I have never tried… / I would like to try… because…
- x is the most / best /worst / (other superlative) because…
- Comparative statements: x is better / easier / worse than y because… Or, x is like y because… Or, I prefer x to y because… Or x is different from y because…
- Adverbs of frequency: I often / always / sometimes / rarely / never…
- Feelings: I feel / believe that… / x is y (e.g. boring / interesting) because…
- Moral issues: it is right / wrong to… Or, it is better to… than… Or, there should / shouldn’t be… because…
- Hypothetical statements with 2nd conditional: If… would… etc.
- A statement about a different past with 3rd conditional
- A prediction about the future
- A quotation from a famous person
Or – T asks each group to write a set number of statements (e.g. 8) in a given period (e.g. 10 minutes).
2. T (or a SS) writes statements from each group on the board until there are a certain number, e.g. 6 or 8. The more statements there are, the longer the activity will last. The person writing the statements should choose the best ones from the many that SS have come up with.
3. SS discuss the statements on the board in pairs or small groups. They should say whether they agree or disagree and why. It is not enough to simply say: “Agree; disagree; agree; agree…” etc.! One could read the statements and the other answer – then change roles. SS should write down their partner’s answers in brief note form. T monitors, checks, and corrects. After a certain period, SS could change partners and either continue discussing the statement they were on, or go back to the beginning.
4. Group feedback – T asks different SS for responses to each statement. SS tell their partner’s answer as well as their own. T writes errors on the board and discusses corrections with the group.
5. If there is a particularly contentious statement that splits the group, it could be used in the group debate activity (see p.75).
- Whoever reads the statement should try to get a long answer from their partner by asking follow-up questions such as, “Why?” “…for example?” “Could you tell me more about that, please?” and so on.
- Encourage SS to write different kinds of agree/disagree statements. See the examples above and in Talk a Lot Elementary Book 3, e.g. p.179, for inspiration. T might allow SS to use reference books or the Internet to find relevant quotations.
- SS could use vocabulary words from the vocabulary stage to get ideas for their statements.
- SS do not have to agree with their own statements to be able to write them. They could make statements that are deliberately provocative and completely outrageous, for example: “Money is the most important thing in life.” The point is to stimulate plenty of discussion – either for or against the statement.
- SS may find it harder to write agree/disagree statements than discussion questions. You could give them time to prepare for this task by asking them to write x statements for homework.
- Encourage SS to work with partners they do not know very well. This will help everybody get to know one another better.
- Getting SS to write their own material, rather than reading from a book or worksheet, will encourage them to engage with their learning more deeply, as well as give them more confidence with making statements.
- You could ask SS to write up their responses to one or more of the statements for homework.