Debate is one of the ancient rhetorical skills that marked human interaction. Part of our job as teachers and educators is to nurture a culture of debate in our classes, teach our students how to become better debaters, and how to voice their opinions in respectful and responsible ways.
The purpose of this post is to share with you this collection of debate topics that you can use as prompts to deep and meaningful discussions with your students (especially ideal for high school or college students).
For practical reasons, I organized these debate topics into 3 broad categories: Internet and Technology debate topics,Education and Learning debate topics, Social and Cultural debate topics, and Political debate topics.
Internet and Technology Debate Topics
1. Should mobile phones be banned in schools?
2. Should parents limit kids’ screen time?
3. To what extent can parents control their kids’ mobile devices?
4. Should schools ban/allow access to social media websites ?
5. Should teens be allowed to play violent video games, why or why not?
6. Which do you prefer: to socialize online or hang out with friends in real life?
7. Are social media websites making people asocial?
8. Spending more time online makes people dumb/smart.
9. The Internet is eliminating more jobs than it provides.
10. Using the Internet for help with homework is cheating.
11. Technology is revolutionizing our life. Yes or no and why.
12. Kids should be allowed to interact with digital technology from an early age.
13. Artificial intelligence technology encourages cheating.
14. Robots will soon take all human jobs.
15. Self-driving cars should be banned.
16. Laws still have not caught up with cyber-crimes.
Education and Learning Debate Topics
17. What is the real value of academic education?
18. Are academic degrees worth the pain and hassle?
19. Should higher education be totally free? Why or why not?
20. Online academic and scholarly literature should be/shouldn’t be free. Why?
21. Post-pandemic classrooms are different from the pre-pandemic ones. Do you agree?
22. 21st century teaching/education/schools/classrooms are different. Do you agree?
23. What skills should every 21st century teacher master?
24. What do you think of school segregation?
25. School staff and teachers should be allowed to carry guns.
26. Which do you prefer studying at home, in class, or in a hybrid (flipped) setting? Why?
27. What do you think about online teaching?
28. Should homework be abolished?
29. Athletics is the least important subject in school.
30. Smart students occupy the front rows in class.
31. Should Teachers have a uniform dress code?
32. Sex education should/shouldn’t be taught in schools.
33. Recess periods should be longer.
34. Standardized tests should be banned.
35. Students should be allowed to eat in class.
36. STEM subjects are more important than other school subjects.
37. Schools should/should not be given the freedom to ban books from their libraries.
38. Which do you prefer, reading a book or watching its movie version? Why?
39. Is reading non-fiction a waste of time?
Social and Cultural Debate Topics
40. What do you think of defunding the police?
41. Social, racial and linguistic profiling increases crime rate.
42. Should the government control people’s choices of whether to have an abortion or not?
43. Should same sex marriage be legalized?
44. Does bad parenting contribute to teens’ delinquency?
45. Should people be allowed to wear religious symbols in public?
46. Are you with or against euthanasia and assisted suicide?
47. Are you with or against government policing of social media websites?
48. Does social media contribute to the rise of hate crimes and crimes against minorities?
49. Are you with or against social media websites collecting users personal data and selling it to advertising companies?
50. Eating meat unethical?
51. Money does not necessarily bring happiness.
52. Animals should be liberated from zoos.
53. Marijuana should/should not be legalized.
54. Women are paid less than men.
55. Dogs are the best pets.
56. What do you think of interracial marriage?
57. Drinking and smoking should/shouldn’t be banned.
58. What do you think of teen pregnancy?
59. Are you pro or against abortion and why?
60. Should people be free to choose the gender they want to identify with?
61. What’s the role of religion in our life?
62. Why are there different religions?
Political Debate Topics
63. Should democracies continue doing business with dictatorships and autocratic regimes?
64. When it comes to relations with foreign countries, which comes first:national interests or human rights and ethical considerations?
65. ‘Our’ political values are universal values that every nation should embrace. Discuss?
66. Democracy is the only viable political system.
67. The Constitution should/should not include references to religion.
68. Rich countries should/should not encourage immigration.
69. Monarchies are a waste of money and resources and should be abolished.
70. Voting should be compulsory for all citizens.
71. Nationalism and patriotism are harmful to global peace.
72. Politics should not infiltrate into sports.
73. Powerful countries should be allowed to bully their neighboring countries.
74. World peace is currently at stake. Why?
75. Countries should not interfere with the electoral systems of other countries.
76. Lobbying for foreign countries should be abolished.
77. Female politicians are better than their male counterparts.