The ability to argue intelligently is a learned skill especially for teens which is why we’re featuring today the 15 easiest debate topics for high school. Debating is one of the best ways to harness this skill. It allows you to express yourself within reason without getting too emotional. While engaging in a debate you learn to keep your composure during an argument and come up with a rebuttal that will make the other party think and reconsider their stance.
Debating has many advantages. These include rigorous and critical thinking, which in turn enhances one’s problem-solving skills. It also increases the mental and emotional maturity of the students and further develops their academic skills. Debating flexes your mental muscles and trains you to have a respectful discourse. Students should be encouraged to start young as this kind of communication and intellectual training will come in handy when they begin working.
We collated and curated the topics from Debate Motions, Bright Hub Education, Buzzle, and About Education courtesy of Melissa Kelly, secondary education expert. We then ranked the topics by the number of times they appeared on these lists. The ones that appear more frequently get higher rankings. In case you missed our previous blog, we also created a list of the 20 easiest debate topics for middle school. Let’s start the debate!
15. Animal testing (Should it be banned or not?)
There’s a fine line between animal testing and animal cruelty that is difficult to define. This is what makes a good debate topic, tackling an issue that’s been in the grey area for so long. Animal testings have helped usher in medical discoveries but no one keeps count on how many animals it took to get that one medicine working. It’s one of those topics where doubt is cast as the ends try to justify the means. Now that’s a debate worth hearing.
14. Euthanasia (Is it morally acceptable or not?)
Euthanasia or mercy killing has been a perennial topic not only on school debates but also on a national scale. On one hand, it involves ending the life of another person. On the other hand, it’s also ending the suffering of a critically-ill person. It’s tricky because saying it’s not morally acceptable would overlook the suffering of the patient and his/her family members. But saying otherwise would mean that you’re crossing a line that you shouldn’t cross because you can’t simply take away somebody else’s life.
13. War on Terror (Is it justified or not?)
With terrorist attacks happening in different parts of the world, the question remains if the war on terror is justified. Nobody wins in any war. There’s only casualty after casualty. However, terrorism cannot go on and it shouldn’t be tolerated in any way. But when is it justified and when is it not justified? When do you stop sending troops? It’s one of those political questions that even world leaders are having a hard time grappling with. This debate topic maybe controversial but it’s definitely a great one!
12. Same-sex marriage (Should it be legalized or not?)
Although the Supreme Court has already ruled for same-sex marriage, it doesn’t mean that we should stop asking. This debate topic will shed some light on the moral issues behind it and the social implications of gay marriages to the social structure of families. Most people are sensitive about this subject and discussing this on a debate platform will equip students in defending their stand on the issue. Another twist to this topic would be to ask if it’s becoming the new norm or not.
11. Democracy (Is it the best form of government or not?)
Having been under a democratic government for so long, it would be good to ask the students if it’s the ideal form of government. If not, then it would be interesting to know what the debaters think the best kind of government is. Another good question to ask would be “Is Democracy overrated?” This topic is ideal for high school students because they will be the future voters and leaders of the country.
10. Drug testing athletes (Should they be tested or not?)
This topic is close to home especially with varsity players in high school. But really, in general, should athletes be tested for drugs or not? How about performance-enhancing drugs? Athletes are called to higher standards because a lot of young people look up to them. They need to be good examples whether they’re competing or not. If they shouldn’t be tested, why is that?
9. School uniforms (Should it be required or not?)
It’s a given that private schools have uniforms. But how about for public schools? Should they be required to wear uniforms as well? This is a great topic because it directly involves the students and the judges or teachers will hear what the pros and cons of uniforms are. It’s also good for the school because they will most likely end up getting good suggestions and points of view from the debaters.
8. Grades (Should it be abolished or not?)
Today’s grading system is the basis for what students have learned but it doesn’t fully measure how much they’ve truly assimilated. As a student, it will really make you wonder if grades are still relevant today. With information available one Google away, shouldn’t the measure of one’s knowledge be wider than just grades? So yes, this debate on grading systems will always be one of the more controversial ones.
7. Detention (Is it effective or not?)
Detention has been implemented in schools for the longest time. Do students really take the time to think about what they’ve done when they’re in detention? Is it the only way to deal with misbehaving students? High school debaters will have a field day defending their stance especially the side that thinks that it’s not effective anymore. They would also probably get the most cheers from the audience.
6. Video games (Should violent video games be banned or not?)
Video games are at their golden age right now, but we can’t deny the existence of the violent ones. It would be good to discuss if these should be banned. It would also be interesting to find out if the students can dig some advantages to playing violent video games as the disadvantages are already evident. This debate can get pretty intense as there are a lot of student gamers, making it a hot topic in our 15 easiest debate topics for high school.
5. Single sex schools (Are they more effective or not?)
Exclusive schools for girls and boys have their pros and cons. But does it mean that they are more effective in terms of learning? Do their students perform better? The key to winning this debate is being factual and showing research or stats on single-sex schools’ effectiveness or lack thereof. It will be interesting to hear how the pro side will defend their stance especially when they’re from mixed gender schools.
4. Cell phones and electronic devices in class (Should these be banned or not?)
One of the easiest and most popular topics to debate on, banning cellphones and electronic devices will definitely elicit a very engaging discussion. Students or teens, in general, are glued to their devices 24/7. Banning them from schools will cause an outcry from the Snapchat generation. It will be interesting to know how high school students debate on this without going over the top.
3. Sex education (Should it be taught in schools or not?)
With teen pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases plaguing our society, it will be a great debate topic to discuss the relevance of sex education in schools. Saying yes or no isn’t enough here, your rationale on why it should be taught or not should be very clear. You should also factor in how early should the students have sex education.
2. Death penalty (Should it be abolished or not?)
Present in all four lists, the death penalty has been on all debate platforms all over the world. Abolishing the death penalty has its repercussions but keeping it in the justice system also has a long-term effect on our society. In this debate, you need to consider both the offender and the victim’s situation. It’s a compelling topic to argue about and definitely brings out the best in debaters.
1. Homework (Should it be abolished or not?)
It would be really awful to defend that homework shouldn’t be abolished in a high school debate. But that’s what makes good debaters. It’s when you’re able to present a strong argument about something that’s not popular opinion. Seriously, nobody wants homework and every student would want it abolished. But if the opposing side wins, they deserve a standing O.
Tackling these 15 easiest debate topics for high school is a great exercise and training for presenting arguments in an objective and respectful manner. It allows students to think deeper and anticipate a counter argument. Debate gives room for ideas to flourish and opinions to be formed in a discerning way. It develops independent thinking and increases confidence over time. Having said that, debates should be encouraged in high school as it is necessary life skill when they face the real world.