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11 classroom debate ideas for purposeful writing

  • by: Anna from Pobble
  • On: 28, Oct 2020
20 min read

Holding a class debate can be a great way to spark ideas for purposeful writing, allowing pupils to produce persuasive discussion texts or balanced arguments from their findings.

A well-structured debate between your pupils develops their critical thinking and research skills. It’s also brilliant for refining other essential expertise, such as public speaking, communication, and teamwork. And, if you get some meaningful writing at the end, then it’s a win-win!

However you choose to conduct the debate (there are some great tips here), it’s essential to introduce a topic that your pupils can really get their teeth into. As usual, when we searched Pobble for inspiration we came across some brilliant teaching ideas from educators around the world, with writing examples from their classes.

Here are 11 class debate ideas for you to try in your own classrooms:

School uniforms: should pupils have to wear them? 💬
They’re sure to have an opinion on this one but once they really get into it, will they stick with their original thoughts? Read some writing examples.

Should animals be kept in captivity? 💬
An intriguing debate idea. How do animals live in zoos compared to the wild? Are they safer there? Will your pupils be for or against it? Here are some great writing examples.

Homelessness: should the government help? 💬
This is a great one if you want to base your debate around a whole-class text. You can, for example, link to the book Mr Stink by David Walliams. Pupils can debate if the government should help people in extreme poverty and those who are homeless. Read a writing example.

Robin Hood: should he be captured? 💬
What will your class think? This can also be linked to the story for extension activities. This teacher used the book Outlaw by Michael Morpurgo as the basis for her class writing. Here’s an example.

The Highwayman: good or bad? 💬
The famous narrative poem can provide an excellent basis for class discussion. What will your class think?
Read writing based on The Highway Man here.

Should parents take their children out of school during term time? 💬
Will your class think that pupils would miss too much work or that mum and dad should book a holiday?
See some examples

School playtime: should it be longer? 💬
We bet nearly every child will say yes, but when it’s mandatory that they think of the opposing argument will they change their mind?
See an example.

The Titanic: should Rose have let Jack on the door? 💬
A movie-inspired debate. We all know the scene, but should Rose have shared the door and saved Jack? What will your class think?
Here are some great writing examples.

Mobile phones: should they be allowed in school? 💬
Does your class have their own phones? What are the rules in your class? What’s their verdict?
Read a persuasive example.

Should we play video games? 💬
Do they pose a health risk? Or are they simply good fun? Let your class decide.
Here’s an example of a great persuasive piece.

Homework: should it be banned? 💬
Can your class come up with some thought-provoking arguments?
Read a great example of the pros and cons.


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