Guess we humans have always liked to indulge in debating as there are accounts of Athenians and ancient Indians carrying it out within the framework of set rules. However, debating has always been considered an art, a skill that doesn’t come naturally to all. How often have many of us been embarrassed trying to put forth arguments and failing miserably at it? To become good at debating, you require more than just speaking skills.
Read our blog to access strategies that can make you a good debater. Also, get topics for group discussions and debates.
What do you mean by debate?
The Cambridge Dictionary cites debate as, that “serious discussion of a subject in which many people participate: or a competition in which teams of people, often students, discuss a subject and the team that is judged to make the best arguments wins.”
Debating is not just about presenting arguments but the prowess of structuring your ideas and convincingly presenting them. It is a fantastic activity to gain confidence speaking in front of others, learning to build an argument and developing your critical thinking skills. As a result, your academic knowledge grows exponentially, and you gain mental and emotional maturity by engaging in serious discussions.
Debate leans heavily on the three modes of persuasion by Aristotle: Ethos (establishing your authority to argue), Logos (presenting logical points), and Pathos (connecting with your audiences).
How to Select Good Debate Topics
One can’t just choose a topic for debate and group discussions without considering specific parameters. First, consider your audience and the course objectives. Then, ask yourself: will the audience and the participants learn something from the topic? Also, take into account
Debate Topics Master List
It isn’t easy to pick up good debate topics. To choose an exciting debating topic, you should look at areas connected to students and their perspectives on significant issues like education, career, environment, technology, health, etc. As students move to higher classes, their views become well-formed, and they can prepare comprehensively for the topics for debates or group discussions. Some of the critical topics that can be taken up for debating are:
Tips and tricks to prepare for a debate
Preparing for a debate topic is nothing short of planning for a battle. Edulyte’s instructors have broken down the strategy for debating to enable you to be ready to make an impact with your arguments.
A debate’s greatest highlight is that different speakers bring their character and experience to the floor. Regardless of your debating topics, be passionate in your speech. It will be much easier to convince others of your viewpoints if you believe what you say.
Debate topics for middle school and high school
With greater access to information, children today have well-informed opinions and views about their surroundings and the world. Thus, by the time they step into middle school or high school, they can debate topics that require a great deal of information and in-depth understanding. Some important topics for debates in middle school and high school are:
Corporate Jobs are slave centric in developing economies.
Working in a fancy, glitzy office with a laptop might not adhere to the idea of conventional slavery, but does that mean it is any different?
How do you see a slave: a person who has no freedom to make choices and has to work tirelessly day in and day out? A person who is not viewed as a human.
If one looks at developing economies like India and Brazil, it seems corporate jobs promote slavery disguised as good professional work. Corporate offices are driven by profits, turning a blind eye to employees’ welfare. Endless working hours, barely any paid leaves, low salaries, and unachievable performance targets are something that workers in these countries have to deal with daily.
Employees are made to feel that they are paid better than others and would get chances for incredible career growth. Still, these illusions significantly damage the employees’ mental, emotional and physical health. Moreover, as these countries are labour surplus markets, employees are easily replaceable.
Are we playing God with Genetic Engineering?
- It can be used to help babies born with genetic defects
- It is the next step in evolution, where endangered species can also be saved.
- A healthy population is an asset, and genetic engineering can reduce the impact of illnesses and diseases.
- A tiny error can affect generations. It is unethical.
- It would be too expensive a technology to benefit everyone
One cannot go against nature and interfere with the natural process.
Can we talk about world peace while stockpiling nuclear weapons?
The very reason it was used against Japan has acted as a deterrent for its use again. The world understands the results of its use and thus works through talks and discussions rather than using such weapons.
Despite the escalation of tensions between nuclear-armed countries, the weapons have not been used as each nation is aware of the consequences.
They can wipe out life on earth. Even if used in a restricted way, over a specific region, it can make the place uninhabitable and detrimentally affect all life forms.
A simple misunderstanding or immaturity on the part of a country’s leader can trigger its use, and there would be no recovery from the disaster. There is a reason scientists advanced the symbolic Doomsday Clock by 30 seconds, which indicates how world leaders are failing to maintain peace. FAS reported the pace of reduction of nuclear weapons has slowed significantly compared with the 1990s and appears to continue only because of the dismantlement of retired weapons; the trend is that the military stockpiles (useable nuclear weapons) are increasing again.
Do we have freedom in democracy?
In a democracy, we choose our leadership but is that what freedom means? People who hold power decide what gets to be censored in the media. They own or hold influential media houses and sway public opinion per their requirement. Artistic freedom has been threatened across democracies, and voicing criticism against politicians invites consequences. The very reason that certain democracies have failed is that freedom was a myth there.
The fact that democracy is a rule of the majority but has led to majoritarianism policies in countries like Sri Lanka that have curbed the freedom of minorities shows that democracy is an illusion in today’s world.
Data companies are the new rulers.
Countries with oil were considered powerful once, but not anymore. It is Google, Apple, Meta and Amazon who play God today. They can access customers’ data to improve services, but recent incidents have told otherwise. Controversy over Facebook being used by political parties and groups to gain leverage is becoming the norm. Data mining is prevalent, and anyone with access to the kind of data these companies hold has power over others.
The fact that these companies decide what we should view, hear, choose or even buy makes it clear that they control our lives in innumerable ways.
Can E-learning replace classrooms?
It sure is a hot topic for debate, especially since the pandemic. We question the necessity to go to a place specifically created for learning when all we can do is sit in our room, log in and start learning. With choices between online live classes, blended learning, and online customised courses available abundantly, do we need real-time classes?
MOOCs allow you to learn from prestigious institutions, thus allowing you to overcome physical barriers. Online tutoring ensures a child doesn’t have to leave the safety of home to study. Time and money are both saved due to e-learning. Think Impact reported that:
- 42% of grad students and 30% of undergrads preferred online learning to in-classroom learning.
- On average, students can retain 25% to 60% more information when learning online compared to 8% to 10% in the classroom.
Learning from home can make you lethargic. Sitting in a classroom and interacting face to face with the instructor enhances your motivation to learn. In addition, classroom interactions with fellow students are necessary for social skills development. One of the most significant disadvantages of E-Learning is the promotion of cheating during assessments. Compared to on-campus students, online students can cheat on assessments more quickly as they take assessments in their environment, while using their personal computers.
Do's and Don'ts of debate.
A great debater can stand their ground and hold forth interesting discussions anywhere. And while you are preparing for a debate competition, there is a checklist of dos and don’ts that you must adhere to to make the right impression.
- Dress neatly. Wear your school uniform/ college blazer.
- Be punctual. Arrive 15 minutes before the debate announcement.
- Prepare an opening speech that hooks the audience.
- While researching the debate topic, stay focused and look for information supporting your stand.
- Argue calmly with logical arguments and counterarguments
- Have cards ready with your essential points on them to help you
- Stick to your stand. Remember that other persuasive speakers may try to discredit your points; that’s part of the debate.
- Look at your opponents, judges and audience. Maintaining eye contact is imperative.
- Have a presentation ready with data to support your arguments if the debate rules allow it.
- Have light/ funny one-liners to keep the debate interesting. Change your tone appropriately to stress your points.
- Lead your arguments away from the topic. It will create confusion and make you sound ill-prepared for the debate.
- Criticise your opponent directly
- Read the cue cards while you are speaking.
Ensure your tone isn’t sarcastic or condescending. Refrain from exaggeration.
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