May 18, 2011

Topics for debate

This week I've been working a lot on debates with my students and I noticed it's not that easy to come up with good topics to help them express themselves. For that reason, I thought I'd share a list of those which proved to be useful for me and may be useful for you too.
I usually choose one of the following alternatives when I work with groups debate:

Presenting a situation in form of a question and allow them to answer it and provide reasons for having answered a certain way. For example:

  • Is it ok for parents to allow their children to have unlimited and unsupervised access to the computer and the internet? Why or why not?
  • What activities would you plan if you were scheduled to babysit a 5 year old next Saturday and why? What should you consider in terms of safety?
  • Should teenagers under 18 have their parents consent to get tattoos or piercings? Why or why not? What would be the pros and cons in each case?
  • Should parents constantly monitor their children when they watch TV? What are the dangers of children being exposed to the TV without adult supervision?

Presenting a line, quote or topic and ask students to agree or disagree. Some examples are:

  • Parents should do anything to protect their children, even if it involves lying or covering their mistakes.
  • Nature vs Nature.
  • Death Penalty: The man playing God?
  • Euthanasia: Should we have the right to choose?
  • Going to college is not important. What really matters is how smart you are.
  • It's useless working hard for something you want because what's meant to be will be. 
The more controversial the phrases are the more interesting the debate will be. However, when working with debate it's super important to make sure we do not include topics that would offend our students. Some of these would include religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation, among others.

Good luck! XO

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