Debating and Coronavirus

Due to the coronavirus outbreak the planned Debate-Ed debating competition will not be taking place this March.

I am conscious, however, that parents will soon be trying to find activities for their children to do whilst they are out of school. Parents may want to consider whether their children would enjoy using this time to practice and develop their debating skills. This could involve debating against friends (perhaps via lively email debates), against their siblings or even the pets (very receptive audience, rarely heckle).

Children could be encouraged to research any or all of the topics below and to come up with some arguments for and against. They could then practice how they would deliver a persuasive and engaging speech, keeping in mind the importance of fully explaining their points, backing these up with examples/evidence and linking their points into the overall debates.

I have suggested some potential topics below, but feel free to expand on this list or tailor it to your child’s specific interests.

Younger Students/Lighter Topics

  • Who is their favourite character in a specific book/tv show/film. Why is that character the best?

  • Who would win in a fight out of two characters? You could restrict this to characters the children are used to thinking of in the same context (Iron Man vs Captain America for instance) or expand it out to help them think innovatively about how different character’s abilities might benefit them e.g. Harry Potter vs the Incredible Hulk.

  • Should violent video games be banned?

  • Should school uniform be banned?

  • Should zoos be banned?

  • Should all reality TV be banned?

More Mature Students

  • Should we ban cosmetic surgery?

  • Should testing on animals for medical purposes be allowed?

  • Should advertising of unhealthy food be banned?

  • Should celebrities who break the law receive harsher sentences?

  • Should the royal family be banned?

  • Should everyone become a vegan?

  • Should 16 year olds be allowed to vote?