GCAS Strategies 25 Problem-solving: How to disagree

Men talking
Some people disagree openly

In this lesson, we'll work on disagreeing. You will understand why some English speakers disagree openly. You will also practice disagreeing.


Read the following statement:

I think all companies should establish a new dress code that lets employees wear casual clothes. Studies show that employees are a lot more productive when they're comfortable. 

How might someone disagree with it? 

Warm Up: 
  1. What does it mean to "play devil's advocate"?
  2. You played devil's advocate in the Introduction. How was it?
  3. Why play devil's advocate?

A. Understanding your culture

First, let's discuss the culture of disagreeing. 

In your culture, is it common to disagree openly in meetings? What do you know about other cultures?

B. Three levels of disagreement

Let's look at the following argument. Disagree with each part. Your teacher can help you.

  1. Claim: All companies should establish a casual dress code.
  2. Evidence: Studies show that being comfortable leads to greater productivity. 
  3. Reasoning: So, all companies should let their employees wear casual, comfortable clothes.

Use this business issue. Your teacher will give you a plan.

You work at a zoo. Think of ways to increase sales. Prepare to explain your ideas to your boss (the examiner). You should give at least two ideas. You should also be prepared to defend your ideas. You can use your own ideas or you can use the information in the table below to help you.

Theme Idea Details

Offer discounts

Give senior citizens a discount.

Offer 30% off to those over 65 years old every weekend.

Family membership Allow families to buy a membership card. The card is the price of 10 admissions but allows unlimited access for a year.
Free advertising Launch a viral marketing campaign. Encourage attendees to take selfies and post them to social media.