DEBATE : Is Graffiti a form of Art or Vandalism ?


By Vicky Papageorgiou

The classroom debate is a highly useful tool for a teacher. It provides the students with an excellent opportunity to improve their fluency skills and to extend their vocabulary while, at the same time, discussing about complex contemporary issues and developing the students’ critical thinking skills. If organised carefully, classroom debates are something your students will look forward to.

Introducing a debate in the ELT classroom is a complex process without any doubt. If none of the students has ever taken part in a debate, the teacher has to ensure that several steps are followed :

  1. It should be understood by the students that preparing for a debate is a type of project and it requires several hours of preparation
  2. The topic for debate should be clear and the students should be, at least partly, familiar with it
  3. The steps the students should follow  should be clear and gradual until  they reach the moment of the debate
  4. The students should have enough possibilities to be well informed about the topic of discussion before the actual debate takes place

For these reasons, my first debate with a class is always about a familiar but quite controversial topic : Graffiti! This particular series of lesson plans has been used several times in my classes always with great success and hopefully it will be the same for anyone else who will use them in the future. It should also be noted that they have been used with students B1+ as well as with B2+ with equal success. In each case, the teacher can make small modifications to cater for the needs of the specific class.

The teacher should also be aware that the whole preparation takes no less than 4-5 hours and might also reach the 6 hours, depending on the particular class and level.

Below you can find the lesson plans for each session (there are 3 in total)  and the accompanying worksheets.

This is the document with all the Lesson plans Graffiti class debate lesson plans (Autosaved)

For the 1st session, the documents you will need are :

  1. Graffiti Art or vandalism Warmer
  2. True False statements about Graffiti.1
  3. A short history of Graffiti

For the 2nd session, the documents are :

  1. GRAFFITI Arguments FOR and AGAINST
  2. How to build a strong debate argument
  3. Useful Debate expressions (1)

For the 3rd and last session (the actual debate), you will need :

  1. Debate Rubric

I really hope you enjoy using all the materials. If you do, please come back and leave a comment. Any observations are welcome. Enjoy!

Vicky Papageorgiou is an ESL/EAP Lecturer  working with mainly adult learners. She holds a BA from Aristotle University (with Distinction) and was awarded an MA in Education (Open Univ. of Cyprus) and an MA in Art History (Goldsmiths College, UK), as well as a  PGCE in Technology Enhanced Learning from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (with Distinction). She now divides her time between Greece and the UK.  She is the website editor of the Visual Arts Circle and a co-editor of ELTA Serbia publications.


9 thoughts on “DEBATE : Is Graffiti a form of Art or Vandalism ?

  1. Pingback: DEBATE : Is Graffiti a form of Art or Vandalism ? | vickypapageorgiou

  2. Vicky I never told you that we actually used your suggestions for a debate discussion at school when you first publicized the article. Now that I see it reprinted I want to let you know that it interested the kids and they came up with various justifications for each side.


  3. This is an amazing lesson plan that I want to try with my students! just wanted to ask if you had the answers for the true and false statements?


    • Hello Heli! So happy you find it interesting and would like to use it.
      Here are the answers for the True/False statements :
      1. T
      2. T
      3. F (The earliest graffiti was created prior to written language and the first drawings on walls appeared in caves thousands of years ago. “Cueva de las Manos” (The Cave of Hands), located in Santa Cruz, Argentina, offers one of the first fascinating ancient graffiti. The painting dates from 13,000 to 9,000 BCE)
      4. T
      5. T
      6. F
      7. F
      8. T

      I hope this helps



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