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Debate activities

Establish the rules for a formal debate (time limited, opening statement from both the ‘for’ and ‘against’ sides of the motion, the right to reply, questions from the floor, closing statements from both sides, show of hands vote).

You as leader may wish to chair or you may wish to appoint a chair and time keeper from the group.

Either debate as a whole class divided into two, with each group arguing ‘for’ or ‘against’ the issue.

Alternatively, if you wish the class to work in smaller groups, then divide the class into three. Give each group one statement to research (the list following has suggestions). Divide each of these groups into two. One half is set the task of constructing arguments to support the motion, and the other half to challenge it.

Depending on time availability the groups may be able to conduct some sustained research to find material that backs up their arguments

Suggested topics for debate

  • The media is biased against Muslims
  • One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist
  • We have the right to say what we like no matter if it offends
  • “More unites than divides us” – Ken Livingstone Mayor of London at the time of 7/7
  • If you want to change things you have to fight for them
  • The world has changed since 9/11
  • We in the west have brought the terror attacks on ourselves because of out poor treatment of people in the rest of the world.


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