What are some good debate topics for an 8th grade level class?
Please include topics that are controversial (not everyone takes one side), don't have to do with race or religion, and are middle school level appropriate.
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The choice of debate topics and what could be deemed as "good" debate topics is an issue that will be dependent on your school community and probably reflective of the community in which the school is located. You might be the best judge to examine this for yourself. At the same time, I think that being able to choose topics that have immediate relevance to 8th graders will help enhance the reality of good intellectual discourse and passionate interest. I think that one topic that always seems to get kids going is whether or not there should be a school uniform. Whether the school has one or not, school uniforms really provokes a lot of debate amongst students. Technology is a big issue amongst 8th graders. Along these lines, another good debate topic would be to talk about whether or not schools should block social networking sites like facebook from school computers. Bullying or intimidation is something that receives a great deal of emphasis from schools. If your school has a school bullying prevention program, it might be good to have students debate its effectiveness. If your school does not have a school bullying prevention program, perhaps an equally good debate topic would be if your school should have one. Essentially, the issue at hand is what responsibility does a school have in preventing bullying and intimidation in the school setting. Finally, I think that an interesting topic for debate might be if teachers should be paid on a merit based system rather than on number of years served. Depending on how this issue stands in your school district, it might be interesting for a teacher to hear how students debate on an issue that politicians are actively debating at this time. These topics "hit close to home," as they are intimately connected to the lives of an average 8th grader. I think that they will prompt a good deal of reflection and distinct positioning, helping to form the basis of good debate and discourse.
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