25 Debate Topics for the ESL Classroom

25 Debate Topics for the ESL Classroom

Teamwork , Debate Topics , Communication


A debate is a discussion in which participants articulate, justify, and clarify their positions on an issue or refute statements made by the opposing side.

Select the topic

The topic for a debate evolves from what you are teaching. Should Marijuana be legalized?

Take a stand

Who’s pro and who’s con? Every debate has two sides, the affirmative side and the negative side. The teacher can divide the class into pros and cons, or students may choose their own stance

Let the research begin

Allow students do the research. Fact gathering should support the student’s point of view.

Select the moderator

The moderator directs the debate and may be the teacher or a student. The moderator formally introduces the debate topic and recognizes students to speak alternating between pro and con.

Ensuring  equal participation

Students should not speak until all students have had an opportunity to voice their opinion.

Opening Statement by  Team A and Team B

Round 1
Team A Speaker 1 – 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 1 – 3-minute limit

Round 2 
Team A Speaker 2 – 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 2 – 3-minute limit

Round 3
Team A Speaker 3– 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 3 – 3-minute limit

Round 4
Team A Speaker 4– 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 4 – 3-minute limit

Round 5
Team A Speaker 5– 3-minute limit
Team B Speaker 5 – 3-minute limit

Final Round
A Rebuttal — 5 minute limit
B Rebuttal — 5 minute limit

Closing Statement  by  Team A and Team B

Debate Topics

  1. Video Games are a waste of time.
  2. Countries need to legalize medical marihuana.
  3. Counties need to legalize recreational marihuana.
  4. Smartphones have made our lives easier.
  5. Animal shouldn’t be used for medical research.
  6. Marriage is outdated.
  7. Military service must be obligatory.
  8. Countries should have curfews after midnight
  9. Torture can be considered depending on certain circumstances
  10. Our country should be banned
  11. Schools should ban religion classes
  12. Guns should be banned
  13. Death penalty must be implemented to reduce crime
  14. Alcohol should be illegal.
  15. Gay marriage is wrong
  16. The Theory of Evolution is true
  17. Sex education should be taught in schools
  18. Teachers should be allowed to carry guns
  19. Software piracy is not really a crime
  20. Climate change is a fact
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