Logos, ethos and pathos in debating

Methodological steps

Introduce the topic in the first two hours of teaching in order to clarify the importance of a good argument and critical thinking in everyday life and in academic courses. Identify different types of argument, show some examples of good and bad arguments and encourage students to do the same. They can present their own examples in groups or pairs and post them in Padlet or any other channel of communication.

Next, create three heterogeneous groups and give students clear instructions for carrying out this activity (Zoom, Google Meet, Skype). The groups will be given three different topics related to rhetorical devices, for example, appeal to audience’s rationality (logos), appeal to emotion and morality (ethos and pathos), and common logical fallacies and etiquette. Provide detailed instructions along with materials, websites to research and evaluation criteria for formative assessment. After they have shared their presentations, they will need to test their peers through quizzes like Kahoot or Socrative, all monitored and reviewed by the teacher.

The final stage is the debate itself. Choose a topic according to your curricular content. Present the topic using multimedia presentations and allow students to choose the affirmative or negative side. Use a simple Google/Microsoft Form questionnaire if necessary. Give students a week to prepare for the debate within their teams and send a short tutorial of how to use a debating tool like Kialo. Also, present evaluation criteria through rubrics. After the debate, use the report from the tool to support the summative assessment.

Skills assessment

The activity promotes students’ ability to reason with critical thinking and argue with credible evidence. Involvement in debate forces students to search, inspect and evaluate arguments and overcome personal prejudices and biases. Additionally, debates foster abstract thinking, citizenship and etiquette, clarity, organisation, persuasion, public speaking, teamwork and cooperation.


Communicate with students using shared documents (Microsoft Teams) and face-to-face during video lessons. Students can communicate with each other using the instant messaging service in video calls, shared documents, Social Networks (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc), videoconferencing (Zoom, Teams or similar), or a shared virtual classroom.