Debating is a common and vital activity at all school levels, from elementary to high school to college. It forms an essential part of most academic programs. Also, it serves as an engaging activity for young people to participate in, though many students struggle to find debate topics.
Topics of debate should be practical for the class, or another public audience, while still being attractive to all parties involved. So, we’ve prepared a comprehensive list of some highly engaging and interesting topics for students of all levels.
Debating Using Pro & Con Arguments
All debaters need to consider that the opponent at the opposite side of the table and the audience will have different, often controversial, opinions regarding the topic at hand. They will have points against your argument, which you need to be ready for.
One of the most productive methods for preparing for this is to outline both the pros and cons of the topic that has been chosen. Doing so will allow debaters to see the entire picture. It will also enable them to structure their argument logically and coherently.
Let’s take the topic ‘how social media makes people less sociable,’ for example. Here are the pros and cons of this particular argument:
- Pro – Social media helps people that are less sociable develop their communication skills without discomfort.
- Con – Social media discourages real-life interaction.
- Pro – Social media’s popularity allows us to communicate easier and engage with new people.
- Con – Social media can absorb much of our free time, further discouraging real-life interaction.
With these points in mind, debaters can begin to construct their arguments based on their position, for or against. The foundation of an argument is critical to the stability of the rest of the debate.
Choosing a Topic of Debate
One major problem that many school-level debaters run into is actually finding something to debate about, or rather, settling on one topic. There are thousands upon thousands of debate topics, making choosing just one challenging, especially when several people make suggestions.
Here’s how you can choose a good debate topic:
- Think about some topics that your students find interesting. What sort of discussions do they enjoy? It can also help to choose something from the curriculum, as they’ll not only be educated on the subject already but also learn more about it.
- The topic you choose should be appropriate for every other debater’s level. Some students may not be able to discuss specific topics like others, so it helps to find a topic that every debater has an equal understanding of.
- Consider the access that each debater has to research materials. If some students have to conduct extensive research on the topic while others don’t, then the debate will not be satisfying for any participant. For instance, presenting a debate topic about the importance of classical music in modern young people to a mathematics class will likely not go down well.
- Each debater should have enough time to prepare, which is why choosing a topic that they have already studied can be beneficial. They will be able to form thoughtful and compelling arguments.
- Ensure that your students are not insulting the opposition, or the debate could become unnecessarily heated and out of control.