20 Discussion Ideas for Classroom Debate
Different topics to discuss in class
Below you will find a selection of topics of interest to discuss in class (trying to reach a conclusion) or to have a chat (basically share ideas in an informal way without trying to reach a conclusion). These topics are designed for people with a maturational level corresponding at least to the secondary level and even at the university level, although many of them can be adjusted to the needs of other vital stages such as childhood, which corresponds to primary education.
1. The stigmatization of people with mental and neurological disorders
Mental health and the existence of alterations and disorders is a topic that is not usually talked about in society.
Why is it said so little about it, what should someone with a disorder feel, the social stigma that a diagnosis supposed in the past and the way in which this prejudice still exists today, how it can affect them and how they are viewed by society are some of the topics for debate that are proposed. This is a topic of debate that includes a clear ethical component.
2. The death penalty
A topic of debate somewhat more typical than the previous one. The death penalty continues to be applied in many countries around the world. Some people consider it necessary and just, others are little more than a crime committed in search of revenge. Should it remain in force? Is your application ethical? Why do some countries apply it and others don’t? What happens if an innocent person is convicted?
3. Illegal immigration
Another typical topic of debate and gathering is that of illegal immigration. In this aspect, it is possible to argue and discuss what produces it, what should be done about it, how it should be regulated, the different measures that have been taken throughout history in this regard, the risks, and advantages that non-entry may entail. regulated by people in the country or the treatment is given socially and legally to illegal immigrants, for example.
4. Animal experimentation
Medicines, cosmetics, and other elements must be tested before they can be marketed to verify their effects. Traditionally, various animals have been used in the laboratory to verify these effects, and even if today we have synthetic skins to test elements such as cosmetics, other living beings are still used in experimentation and research.
Is animal experimentation necessary? Is it carried out ethically? What is the use if, after all, they are tested on a type of being that does not share all our characteristics?
5. The evolution of technology
Technology advances at an incredible speed. What seemed impossible a few centuries ago can now be achieved with a simple click. Asking where we will get with it, discussing whether said evolution is always positive or hides a negative part or if we should put brake or precaution in this regard are topics to be debated.
6. Ethics in everyday life and at the professional level
Ethics and morals. This subject is complex, but despite this, it can be adapted to different evolutionary levels. What is and what is not admissible? Should we cause suffering to someone if thanks to it could be possible to improve their situation or achieve a common good? Should everything be allowed? Or even more. Does the end justify the means? What aspects must be considered at a professional level to exercise correctly? What limits should not be crossed? Is ethics itself ethical? These and other aspects allow for in-depth discussions and debates in which to highlight values and beliefs.
7. Image in society
We are in a society in which the image is highly valued. The physical appearance and reputation of each one can greatly influence how others see you and even how you see yourself. It can help us get a job or get closer to our dream partner, but it can also cause us great frustrations, insecurity and even generate various disorders.
Discussing its importance and the changes that have arisen over time regarding what is considered a good image can be interesting.
The thoughts, beliefs, and even the perception of some concrete facts are frequently censored by different people and organisms. In some countries, tendencies and thoughts contrary to the power or the interests of part of the population is openly censored and repressed.
In other places it is applied in a more disguised way, omitting part of reality, or even modifying it. And it doesn’t have to happen between different people: even oneself can censor part of one’s being or think due to social pressure or the existence of contrary beliefs and thoughts. Does it have any kind of sense or utility? Why is it carried out? How to avoid it? Should there be limits to freedom of expression?
9. Climate change
Although today it does not seem as much a fashionable topic as it did a few years ago, climate change and its existence have been a frequent topic in debates and discussions.
What it is, how it affects us, the environment, or the rest of the world, what should be done, who has the responsibility or aspects derived from the fight against it, such as recycling or the use of fossil or natural fuels are aspects that allow reflection About the world we live in.
10. The legalization of prostitution
Prostitution is illegal in many countries, being punishable by law. However, it is a type of activity with a high level of demand. The fact that it is illegal supposes a high level of insecurity for the people who engage in it, in addition to the fact that being a demanded activity facilitates the creation of mafias and sexual exploitation networks that seek to benefit from it.
Whether or not it should be legal or what such legalization would entail for sex workers, clients, and society, in general, are aspects to comment on.
11. Drugs in society
The use of psychoactive substances is relatively common today. Many of them cause severe addictions and harmful effects both in the short and long term. Some aspects to discuss may be the following: why are they consumed? What effects do they have? How is its consumption seen socially?
12. Fidelity and infidelity in the couple
The couple is another of the great topics to be discussed. And within it, the maintenance of fidelity or its breach is a widely debated topic.
What does it mean to be faithful? Is being unfaithful just having sex with third parties? Why are some people unfaithful and others not? Is the human being unfaithful by nature? Would you forgive infidelity? Would you commit one if you knew no one was going to find out? What about open couples? How does infidelity affect life as a couple? These and other questions are usually discussed in different gatherings.
For decades, society has been advancing in the search for tolerance and acceptance of interpersonal differences. Little by little, the integration and equal rights of different groups previously discriminated against (women, ethnic and racial differences, or the LGTB community) have been sought and achieved. But we can ask ourselves: have we reached true equality or is there still a long way to go? Does the same happen in all parts of the world? This topic can be extended to different areas, such as women in the world of work, same-sex marriage, or racism.
14. Intimate partner and gender violence
Gender violence is an issue that, unfortunately, continues to be a relatively present element in society. What exactly it is and what it includes, where it comes from, its legal treatment, what role education and society play in its prevention, how to detect it, and what to do if it is done or how it could be avoided are topics that can allow us to speak at length and share points of view.
15. Social stereotypes
Stereotypes are a set of predetermined ideas and beliefs regarding the characteristics of certain subjects or groups. Stereotypes can lead us to prejudge others and maintain attitudes that suppose undeserved unequal treatment, and because of this we sometimes act as if we know someone, we do not know based on characteristics that they have not demonstrated. Where they come from, why they are produced and how to combat them are aspects to be discussed.
16. Privacy and the right to privacy
With the presence of elements such as social networks or new technologies, we can keep in touch with people from all over the world at any time and place. While this can be positive, on the other hand, it also means a loss of privacy by allowing our information to be shared with many people.
These people can come to judge our life both public and private and cause us various types of harm, or even obtain benefits using our information.
We are in a globalized world, which allows communication and expression of feelings and ways of seeing the world. It is something that helps us share and understand each other better. However, it also causes different ethnic groups and peoples to see their cultural identity, traditions, and customs eliminated and forgotten, being absorbed by an increasingly standardized society.
Obtaining a job today can be difficult, as can be seen in the high number of unemployed people. In addition, temporary hiring is abundant, which in practice implies a high level of insecurity regarding future economic possibilities and makes it difficult to establish future plans. The situation of the labor market today is a frequent reason for various gatherings.
It is a typical topic in different debates and gatherings. The fact of abortion and what it entails, the decision-making and the possible psychic effects that it may have, the legal limitations to abortion, until what moment of the development of the foetus is it possible to do it, ethical aspects discussed in relation to this issue and how the different sectors of society see the fact are aspects to be debated.
20. Religion and spirituality
Spiritual and religious beliefs have been present in human beings since ancient times. Rites, traditions, and ways of seeing the world have emerged from them and have been a frequent source of debate. The usefulness of religious beliefs, their use for various purposes, why some people believe, and others do not, and the effects that different religious denominations have had throughout history can give rise to intense debate.