A good debate topic does not necessarily need to be a political topic. It can be funny, informative, contemplative, social, economical – the categories are endless. Topics need to be chosen keeping in mind the maturity level and understanding that participants are expected to have.
The same old debate topics repeated and reiterated at every competition can get pretty boring. Make a list of interesting topics instead, and take help from the ones listed below. Always make a shortlist of topics that will seem interesting to the target audience. Ask for suggestions and if possible, conduct a poll on which topic would be preferred by the students. This way you will sustain the interest of the audience. When you finalize a debate topic ensure that it has a focus area.
With some topics the area to cover can be too wide making it an unsuitable topic for a debate with time restrictions. Try to avoid topics that are too controversial, at least for debate competitions at school levels. At a younger age, it may not be possible for kids to understand the gravity and seriousness of certain issues and while they need the exposure, they also need proper understanding of the topic. The debate topics given below have been divided into three categories – topics for middle school students, high school students, and college students.
The topics for middle school students that have been listed below are such that the students will have some knowledge and opinion about them. There are a few political topics but most topics are those that affect their daily life.
Topics for Middle School Students
~ Mobile phones in school – should we ban them?
~ Should homework be banned?
~ Do video games really cause bad behavior in children?
~ The 51st state in the US should be Washington D.C.
~ Are there aliens?
~ Bottled water: more harm than good.
~ Single sex education system is better than a co-ed system.
~ Superman, Spiderman, Batman – superheroes or misleading idols?
~ Reading – is it the new style trend?
~ Does detention actually serve a purpose?
~ Are vampires real?
~ Junk food should be banned from public schools.
~ Thanks to social networking, there is no face-to-face interaction.
~ Is there life after death?
~ Are mermaids real?
~ Are dolls affecting the mental image we create for our appearance?
Persuasive debate topics that will interest a high school student can be a little difficult to decide. But the topics listed below may be good idea generators.
Topics for High School Students
~ Which came first? Chicken or egg?
~ Is animal testing humane?
~ Euthanasia: should the right to die be granted?
~ Paparazzi livelihood vs. privacy of celebrities: what is important?
~ Pros and cons of the No Child Left Behind act.
~ Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal purposes?
~ Global warming is a figment of our imagination.
~ Should the death penalty be repealed?
~ Is the law easier on celebrities?
~ Should parental consent be made mandatory for underage pregnancy abortion?
~ Are school uniforms a good or a bad idea?
~ Recycling should be compulsory.
~ God: myth or reality?
~ Media censorship – a necessary change?
~ Should the legal age allowing consumption of alcohol be raised?
~ Should abortion be banned?
College students are young adults who have informed opinions and the wherewithal to express themselves in a concise and intelligent manner. Given below are a few informative speech topics for college students.
Topics for College Students
~ Evolution or creation: how did human beings come about?
~ Will development of nuclear weapons fuel a third world war?
~ Is quarter life crisis the new midlife crisis?
~ The American military involvement in Iraq has done more good than harm.
~ Is co-habitation the replacement for marriage?
~ Human cloning should be allowed.
~ Are we overworking ourselves?
~ Do newborn babies remember their past life?
~ Will there be another Holocaust?
~ The pros and cons of media consolidation
~ Should same-sex partners have the same rights as heterosexuals?
~ Should the United States eliminate its own weapons of mass destruction?
~ Is the American dream overrated?
~ Is it justified to give a dictator a tit-for-tat treatment?
~ The Roman Catholic Church policy forbidding the use of contraception should be changed.
~ Should we encourage the belief that kids have in Santa Claus?
A debate is, and should be a battle of wits. It should make the participants and the audience think. And for that to happen, it is important that the topics go beyond the obvious.