Debate Speech Topics

This page is devoted to debate speech topics for high school and college level students. If you're repsonsible for picking the subjects about which these students will talk, here are some tips to guide you and help you come up with the best choice for your group.

Age and Maturity Levels

Debate Speech Topics for Middle School, High School and College

Teaching kids debating skills can be a tough job.

For many kids, debating means arguing or fighting! And in a sense, debating IS arguing - but in a formal, respectful manner, where views are exchanged without aggression and voices are heard.

It's a new concept to some kids (!) but a valuable one to master. It can be an incredibly useful skill throughout adulthood, no matter what particular course their lives take.

Debating at a school/college level can also be very enjoyable for the students, as long as the topics chosen are right for them!

To keep them interested and to really spark their imaginations and get them thinking, you need to use topics that are appropriate, yet challenging, for their age and maturity levels.

Debate Speech Topics for Younger Kids

If you're working with kids at the elementary level, you probably don't want to pick anything too controversial. You should also avoid subjects that may rely on lots on facts and figures.

Nevertheless, you still want to have the students push their own boundaries a bit, in order for them to grow and mature their debating skills.

Ideas include

  • How much should children be expected to help with housework?
  • Should schools offer ONLY healthy lunch options?
  • Should children be allowed to choose which subjects they want to study?
  • Would it be a good idea for ALL school children to wear a uniform?
  • Are kids expected to take part in too many extra curricular activities, leaving no time for play?

Interesting Topics for Middle School Students

  • Should homework be banned from schools?
  • Should kids be allowed to use their mobile phones at school?
  • Is Big Foot real or just a legend?
  • Is there life in outer space?

Debate Speech Topics for High School

While there's certainly nothing wrong with using some of the standards, like "Does television violence influence children in a negative way?", there are certainly a lot of other topics that can be used at this level to keep things fresh and exciting.

  • Should laboratory animal testing be banned?
  • Is global warming real, or just a myth?
  • Should the death penalty still be used today?
  • Censorship of the media - is it justifiable?
  • Are we allowing social media to replace our social lives?

Interesting Debate Speech Topics for College Students

  • Which is the real truth: evolution or creationism?
  • Should the United States decriminalize all illegal drugs?
  • Should families be responsible for the care of their elderly members?
  • Is the assassination of a dictator morally justifiable?

These topics are all challenging and appropriate to the age and maturity levels, but are thought-provoking and likely to trigger some very interesting debates.

Tip to Help Students Hone Their Debating Skills

Preparation and study are needed for a good debate - but it's also a good idea to plan a 'surprise' session once in a while, where you introduce a topic and ask students to debate it there and then.

Throwing a surprise curve-ball every once in a while helps them to think on their toes.

As you know, debates can take some unusual twists and turns. By holding a few sessions with surprise debate speech topics, you will be equipping students to react quickly and come up with good responses during real debates.

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