The essence of the debate is a public discussion over some important and relevant topics. The main distinctive feature that makes the debate stand apart from other discussions is the format. It is an open contest, a tournament with the strict rules, teams of participants and their supporters, the general audience, and moderators. It can be a great spectacle. Most colleges and universities run their debate programs, and professors value this activity very highly.
Debates are excellent means that teach the students to think and to speak. They help to improve the research skills, to organize the thoughts and form strong and logical arguments for the discussion. And nothing motivates a student to study the subject better than preparations for a debate where that student wants to win.
The right choice of the debate topic is essential, as it can be a great advantage or a severe drawback. If it is you who will choose it – read this article, as we’ve done our best to compile a useful guide on this matter. We’ll explain how to pick the topic that wins.
How to Debate on a Topic?
The topic plays a critical part in this. A good discussion always bases on exciting topics that encourage all participants taking part in this tournament. Sometimes teachers assign the topics to the students; in other cases, the debaters organize that contest and decide what they will discuss.
Debates can be viewed as a kind of sport with its rules, and the participants have to obey them. There are at least two parties that present their opinions on the topic and support it. The tournaments are held between the personal representatives or teams.
On the start of the debate, the speaker of each side starts with a speech having the following elements:
- Introduction. Here you explain your point of view on the subject briefly and define why you consider it important for all the participants;
- statement of facts. You present the thesis statement, the “pillars” of your position, and your reasoning about the causes of the events you will discuss;
- proof – here is the place for your most persuasive arguments in favor of your opinion, and grounding their reliability;
- refutation. Debates have several participants by default, and your opponents will defend their opinions. You need to acknowledge them and show respect;
- conclusion. You summarize your main arguments at once and address your opponents and the audience regarding the points you want them to consider.
After that, all participants argue over the debate topics and ask and answer questions. The moderator of the debate directs this performance and can adduce an argument and ask a question to all parties.
Arguments are the “weapon” of the debaters, and the critical value of sound arguments is the right combination of evidence and emotions.
A good argument is:
- Relevant – it concerns with this topic directly and supports the speaker’s point of view;
- actual – it is based on facts that anyone can check and prove their verity;
- expressive – it accentuates your opinion and adds emotional value to the facts.
A bad argument is:
- Targeted towards the opponent, and not the opinion – don’t get personal, your goal is to disprove the evidence, and not to offend the speaker;
- watered – don’t add additional irrelevant details to the main topic;
- illogical– check the logical sequences and assure that the consequence always has its cause.
You need to keep all these requirements in mind when you choose the topic. They can help you understand if you can compose an excellent introductory speech and prepare arguments to support your own position and disprove the opponents. But there are more criteria that you also need to consider.
How to Choose a Debate Topic?
Successful public discussions always base on the right topics. But what do we consider “right” in this regard?
- The right topic is one that is interesting to all participants. Refer to the current public discussions and the burning subjects on the media. If you organize a college debate – think of the things that worry the students. They already argue about them, and you can conduct these unofficial disputes to the official contest. These can be both global things and local events from college life;
- pick the topics that are well known to all participants. The contest must be equal, and it is impossible to have it if one side deals with the topic that their opponents know little of. If you consider some original debate topics, make sure that all participants will have time and informational resources to prepare appropriately;
- your topic should be controversial. You need two valid points of view with the evidence working in their favor. There is no reason to argue about something undeniable with the alternative opinion inconsequent. Both parties need to have equal opportunities and a fair chance to prove their point of view;
- consider the audience that will be the spectators. The topic must be appealing to them. It is right to choose a provocative question for the discussion, but watch that it won’t be offensive in any way;
- if you have the right of a choice from several debate topics, analyze it from the emotional point of view. It is good to add emotional coloring to the facts to make them more impressive. But you need to control your own performance too. If the topic is too burning or painful for you, you might think of a different choice. Keeping yourself in hand in essential, as the opponents will try to distract you and to appeal to emotions as well.
Below you will find a list of some discussion topics for the school or college debate.
What are Good Debate topics: 80 Simple Ideas to Use
We’ve tried to offer you ideas suitable for different fields and appropriate for different ages. Debates are not for the college students only – you can organize them even for kids. The task is to offer them a good topic and let them prepare properly. There are so many pluses for personal and academic development in this form of activity that any teacher can’t ignore them. The topics we mention in this article are examples only. You can use one of them as is or modify the main idea to suit your goal or get inspired by the concept and create your own topics. Still, we hope that our variations will be useful for you.
Good Debate Topics
- Women bosses run the works better than men bosses.
- We need to teach religions in public schools.
- All information must spread free.
- Dieting to lose weight is harmful to health.
- The modern world should not have borders between the states.
- Monarchy is ridiculous in the 21st century and should be abolished.
- Does being tactful contradict the freedom of speech?
- Gender quotas for hiring employees are necessary.
- Some circumstances require having censorship enabled.
- National parks should cover as much land as possible.
Debate Topics for Middle School
- Education in private schools is better than in public schools.
- All students should wear school uniforms.
- Fats food is OK if you eat it sometimes.
- Are gadgets useful or harmful in the classroom?
- Can we replace books with movies to teach some subjects?
- Seasonal holidays harm the educational process!
- What are the three best ways to make the students more attentive and involved in lessons?
- Doing sports in school should be obligatory for everyone.
- Do we still need teachers if there is an educational program on computers?
- History lessons in school are useless.
Debate Topics for High School
- Is the homework really necessary for grasping the materials?
- Can we have armed teachers in schools?
- School sex education must cover all aspects of people’s relationships and explain all vague issues.
- Standardized tests are not efficient, as they don’t take into consideration each student’s abilities and preferences.
- Every student must learn at least one foreign language.
- Modern education must concentrate on Maths and Sciences, and rely on the technologies, not Arts.
- Remote education is more efficient than traditional schooling.
- GPA values are an outdated method of knowledge evaluation.
- Bullying in school must be treated as a crime.
- The peer pressure in schools can do more bad than good.
Interesting Debate Topics
- Should the potential employers check the candidate’s social media accounts and hire or refuse the person because of those data?
- Are there lessons in history that can help us, or we should concentrate on our current life only?
- Is the historical test necessary for immigrants to apply for citizenship?
- What are the tendencies of the cities development, and can we predict their look in 100 years from now?
- Should the students spend their leisure time on additional studies, or have fun?
- What should be the correct legal age, 18 or 21?
- Are movies and TV better for education than books?
- Can we develop educational video games?
- Is the intellectual property rights violation a real crime?
- Should we include finance management in the middle school program?
Debate Topics for College Students
- You can’t get a good job without a degree.
- Keep politics away from students. They don’t need to dig into it.
- Is living on campus necessary for the educational process?
- Who is responsible for the weak interest in studies, teachers, or students?
- Should colleges create their own social networks?
- Are online lectures efficient?
- Should the students get paid for playing for the college sports teams?
- Should we let exclude some books from libraries?
- Are the propaganda methods effective, or anyone can oppose them?
- Should we have single-sex schools?
Debate topics for Teens
- Name three subjects you would exclude from the school program for good.
- We need the right to take part in elections at 16.
- School grades affect personal development and should be abolished.
- Should we be able to go on vacation without parents?
- All students must learn about music.
- Sport is mandatory for everyone.
- We need to ban video games, which are too violent.
- If you have good grades, you can be sure of a bright career.
- We need to block the Internet connection in the classroom.
- Name the best working method to fight to bully in schools.
Easy Debate Topics
- Was King Arthur a myth or a real person?
- Can cartoons be educational means?
- Which superhero needs to refer to the psychologist’s help first of all?
- Can reading books influence personal development?
- We must ban traditional oil fuel for all cars.
- The best kind of music is classical music.
- If we imply uniforms in schools, should the teachers be in a uniform too?
- Can fairy tales spoil the children’s perception of reality?
- When is it better to have vacations, in winder on in summer?
- Are we too dependent on computers?
Debate topics for Kids
- Is it better to have a king or a president?
- Computers are better than human teachers.
- There is no need to work on handwriting. All people type only.
- We must abolish zoos, as they are cruel to animals.
- Museums must be free.
- Learning in the evening is better than in the morning.
- Parents must always help children with homework.
- We should allow pets in school.
- Paper books and notebooks are obsolete. We must replace them with tablets.
- Is it better to read a book or watch a movie?
How to Win a Debate
The contents of your speech and the expressive means are equally important to win. You can argue with passion, but your opponents will ruin your arguments if you don’t support them with reliable evidence. And vice versa, you can compile a proper background of facts, statistics, and quotes to prove your point of view. But they won’t persuade your opponent and the audience if you only list the dry and dull facts without helping them by emotions.
Thus, you need to work these two aspects thoroughly during the preparations:
- Knowledge is the key. Learn as much as possible about the debate topic you chose for the contest. This way, you can get more evidence and arguments to support your position, as well as means to disprove your opponent. It is difficult to beat an expert on the topic in the debate;
- make notes on the topic, but don’t rely on them only. Remember the things, summarize them for better remembering. You can react much faster during the course if you keep the important things in your memory, and don’t need to refer to the notes to search for the appropriate argument;
- examine the topics comprehensively. You need to project your opposition, so, think of the ideas that they can use against your position. Consider the arguments “contra” to our opinion, and understand at once how you would parry them;
- learn your audience and think which means would better appeal to them;
- pay attention to the vocabulary. You should be clear and don’t overload your speech with sophisticated words and terms. However, you can’t afford to sound dull and primitive. That’s why you should explore synonyms for the most common words and phrases related to the topics and your ideas. Choose those that emphasize the meaning of the original term. However, some of such synonyms have become cliché as well. A suitable method is to refer to the records of the past debates and analyze the rhetoric means. If you are annoyed by some words – get rid of them in your speech;
- use the “figures of speech”, they are perfect for such performances, as they make your speech brighter and help to make an impression on the audience. A rich and intense oral expression is the most effective means in this contest;
- consider if you tend to use meaningless filler words. They make your speech weaker, so, make sure to control yourself and don’t use them;
- rehearse your speech aloud and record it, then listen to that record. It will let you understand how other people will hear it. Your own perception differs very much from other people’s. You need to consider this. By recording yourself, you can understand your weak points and improve them.
And if you still have difficulties with the preparations for the debates – lack time, knowledge, or have doubts about your performance and the topic you want to explore – you can refer to the essay help services. Our authors can assist you with all aspects of the preparations. We help you to choose the best debate topics, provide you with a full analysis of the pros and cons and the appropriate arguments. Also, we can compose the opening speech for you to impress the public at once. Just let us know that you need assistance, and we’re right here.