We live in very dynamic societies with an incredible number of competing worldviews and ideas and different visions with regard to how these ideas or worldviews should be implemented. Such differences are not only normal – they should be cherished since such a diversity creates an immense selection pool of ideas from which a few would almost certainly prove genial and revolutionize our societies.
Given this, the skill of being able to defend an idea or worldview turns out to be very important for students. Learning to defend your point of view on various debate topics from an early age is essential in training this skill.
Types of Debate Motions
There are several frameworks according to which debate topics can be classified. One of the most popular classification systems is that according to which there are:
- motions of fact – these focus on whether something is true or not. In essence, these are factual interpretations of certain questions.
- motions of value – these focus on whether something is of value or not. Obviously, an important prerequisite is listing the criteria according to which value is assessed or judged and even the relative priority of these criteria.
- policy motions – these usually propose and lobby for certain individual or collective actions that should be performed in order to improve the current situation. When approaching such motions, one should explain why and how these actions would be implemented, what would be the stages, who would do this, etc.
How to Choose a Debate Topic?
Some basic advice for choosing good debate topics is listed below:
- reflect on your passions or interests. Choosing a topic that aligns with these means it would be much more motivating for you to dedicate time for reflecting on it thoroughly, researching it properly, writing up or preparing a good speech, etc.
- research the topic. Debaters need to ensure that their claims are founded on high-quality evidence from reliable sources. While your own judgement and opinions are important, these should align with and build on such evidence. Presenting such convincing evidence to the audience or readers makes claims appear trustworthy.
- narrow down your topic. Given the immense ocean of knowledge we normally navigate, messages and topics have to be narrowly defined to carry any value. Overly broad formulations or overly broad content simply look unprofessional and are poorly targeted.
- know your audience. Interesting debate topics for an audience could be a waste of time for another, hence, the content must be adjusted to an audience’s level of knowledge, interests, etc.
- discuss with the teacher. Teachers and professors are usually evaluating hundreds of assignments belonging to students from different generations. In addition, they are well-aware of evolutions and trends in their own field. All these mean they have a good sense of both current debate topics and those universal ones that survive for generations.
How to Debate by Listing Both Supporting Arguments and Counterarguments?
Every debater must be ready to anticipate the counterarguments that might be raised by opponents or the audience in advance. This ensures debaters aren’t caught off guard while presenting or defending their ideas, being forced to come up with rapid and not well-thought answers. There is nothing scarier for a debater than being faced with an argument so logical that it simply demolishes the supported point of view in front of a critical audience.
Hence, whenever preparing for a debate, one should actively explore and comprehensively list not only arguments supporting an idea but also those opposing it. Priority should be given to the most important and viable counterarguments, since these are the ones that are most dangerous to the promoted idea.
When all major counterarguments are listed, these get investigated to reveal weaknesses that can help reject them – these could be logical inconsistencies, absence of supporting evidence both theoretical and practical, etc.
By doing this, you might discover that your position is not universally valid but rather valid for specific circumstances – knowing all this before making your claims is priceless since it can help build a very precise and strong position with good awareness of the broad picture and imposed limits. This will turn your idea into a well defended fortress.
100 Debate Topics Divided into Categories
Below is a list of debate topics split into several popular categories.
Elementary school topics
- Open air activities are very beneficial for elementary school students
- Why group activities are more entertaining than individual work
- Using multimedia can make lessons more entertaining
- There should be lots of hands-on activities in elementary school
- No homework is the right approach since it would allow more time for extracurricular activities
- Should elementary school children be given occasional access to Internet?
- Why every kid is happier with a pet
- Can primary school children be fully entrusted with taking care for their pets?
- How much school and how much play is right (hint: balance is key)?
- Compassionate teachers are easier to interact with.
Middle school topics
- Who was the most impactful geographic explorer in history and why?
- What is, in your opinion, UK’s most valuable historical contribution?
- Ancient Greece had a profound impact on the western world
- Why exploitation of resources in polar zones should be banned
- Reading books help develop imagination
- Why excessive computer gaming has detrimental effects and poses great risks
- What are the typical causes middle school students start smoking?
- Why the UK has such a strong position in the list of top 100 world’s universities?
- Spaced repetition is essential for memorizing study material long-term
- What are the downsides of multiple choice tests?
High school debate topics
- Why, despite its shortcomings, capitalism is better than many other alternative systems
- What can be done to prevent states from ever waging wars against each other
- UK is an important power in NATO, especially considering the regional context
- Free press is a fundamental prerequisite of any democracy
- Parliament vs president or prime minister – which of these should have more privileges and power in a state?
- Why animal testing is still indispensable in learning about diseases and testing new drugs or treatment procedures
- Why global warming is such a controversial issue in the American society despite strong scientific consensus
- How switching to alternative energy sources comes with huge benefits apart from helping fix global warming
- How TV series like Game of Thrones are another agent of globalization
- Why limiting drug availability is still the most effective way of limiting impact of drugs on society
- Why conspiracy theories are an emerging threat to societies
- The types and popularity of conspiracy theories could serve as an indicator of a society’s educational level and digital literacy
- Is censorship an option to the fake news epidemics or is it a dangerous path?
- Why Greenpeace is not always right – the letter signed by Nobel prize laureates condemning Greenpeace’s actions of setting fields with GM crops on fire
- How outsourcing work by corporations in third world countries have led to exploitation rather than prosperity of the latter
- Why offshore countries and regions are still not under sanctions despite the fact they have such an essential role in global money laundering?
- Expected impact of Brexit on science
- Did credits have a great impact in increasing our consumerist behaviour?
- Why financial literacy is still important for our society nowadays
- How animal dissections in schools could be a thing of the past due to virtual reality.
- A new interpretation of karma – everything bad that I do to other people they must have deserved in a previous life
- "Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Reading paper books nowadays means showing off
- Whatever you do, marry a man of your age – as your beauty fades, so will his eyesight
- My futile attempts at disproving that we are living in a computer simulation
- If robots can open beer bottles with their eyelids, does this make them cooler than humans?
- Robots would outcompete pets the day they learn how to bring you a beer from the fridge
- If you want something made as efficient as possible, give it to a lazy person
- Tongue twisters as an efficient way of testing whether somebody is drunk or not
- If a black cat crosses your path, it means the animal is going somewhere.
Debate topics for kids
- Why blue is cooler than red
- Eating spinach does not give you superpowers but it is still worth it
- If there is baby shampoo that does not irritate eyes, why do they make shampoo that irritates eyes for adults?
- If children had greater purchasing power, would musicians write more songs for them?
- At what age children should have their own smartphones?
- Fairy tales vs cartoons, which ones are better?
- Kindergarten vs school, a comparison of pros and cons of each
- What is better, having many friends or having lots of toys?
- How watching toy reviews on Internet can help parents save money
- Playing indoors or playing outdoors, which one is more fun?
Debate topics for teens
- Smoking weed as a teenager is risky due to impairment of brain development
- Why the best music rarely makes it on MTV or other music channels
- Rock music has a truly legendary history
- Why one should read both modern bestsellers and classics
- UK teenagers are more open to intercultural communication than seniors
- Teen aggression and weird behaviour explained by major developmental processes in the brain
- Following fashion trends or creating your unique personal style?
- What personality traits most teenagers have that adults have already lost?
- Teenagers today and in the 90’s– are they fairly similar or truly different?
- How a teenager’s worldview differs from an adult’s worldview?
Political debate topics
- Strongest democracies have political systems with multiple parties
- Should all political negotiation happen publicly or is there place for hidden negotiation?
- Functional state institutions and low corruption are important prerequisites for economic well-being
- Should sanctions be applied to all states that do not respect human rights (for instance, Saudi Arabia)?
- Unions like EU help individual small states gain more leverage in negotiating with big powers
- Why is the principle of separation of powers in a state so important?
- Current generations of youth would decide that UK needs to rejoin the EU
- How being part of the Commonwealth, allows the UK to have a stronger position on the international arena
- Authoritarian regimes worldwide are able to persist largely due to captured mass media
- Political trolls as an emerging threat to democracies
Current debate topics
- Could globalization have a positive role in aligning the efforts of many societies for solving the same issues
- Is the problem of growing national debt that many states have a concerning one?
- Is a new cold war possible nowadays?
- Could the current advent of authoritarianism and populism ultimately lead to more wars?
- Could eliminating mandatory military service for the general population serve as an additional anti-war measure?
- Climate change would start causing more victims in poor regions first, namely, in tropical and subtropical countries
- How to develop a healthy relationship with social media
- Keeping up with so many social media platforms in order to be in trend becomes a real challenge
- Despite its growing popularity with many diets, fasting should be approached carefully, especially by certain groups of people.
- Electric cars might lead to clean air in cities during our lifetime
Controversial debate topics
- Is Buddhism a religion with greater care for human struggles than Christianity?
- Could adhering to the Buddhist philosophy lead to decreased motivation for personal and collective progress as viewed by Western society (money, career, innovation)?
- Why many politicians are so eager to simulate religiosity
- Should abortion be left to legislators or individuals?
- Should males have any part in adopting abortion laws?
- Why research on embryonic stem cells could make a huge difference if not banned by many countries
- In-vitro fertilization typically yields some non-implanted fertilized eggs which are preserved in a frozen state indefinitely because donors are reluctant to commit a “murder”. How reasonable is this?
- The right to euthanasia, should it be a universal right or should it be allowed only under certain circumstances?
- In what circumstances it is ok to turn off life support for people in comma?
- Who should be able to decide on turning off life support for people in comma if the patient has no family
EduBiride Prepares You For Debate
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