English through History- Debate Topics

Level: Advanced

Topic: General

Grammar Topic: General

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Lesson Plan Text

English through history debate topics

Imagine Neanderthals have just been discovered living somewhere. Have a parliamentary debate on 

whether they should be given the same rights as homo sapiens (=us). If not, what rights should they 

have? If you decide that they should, have another debate on whether apes or monkeys should have 

increased rights too.

Was the appeasement of Hitler a mistake, or did it give the Allies time to prepare for WWII?

Should denying the Holocaust or other genocide like the massacre of Armenians in Turkey be a 

crime?

Should the main aim of history lessons be the teaching of national pride?

Should central government be allowed to approve history textbooks or curricula?

Should former colonial powers have to pay compensation to their former colonies?

Should historical artefacts be returned to their original countries, even if it is hundreds of years 

later?

Should aboriginal people have special rights to the land of a country, even if the other people have 

been there for hundreds of years?

On reflection, was colonisation mainly a good or bad thing?

Should school history lessons concentrate on world history or the history of your country?

Should history be taught, or should students just be shown how to research periods and topics that 

they are interested in?

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2010

Is it the business of foreign countries, e.g. ex-colonies, how they are represented in the textbooks of 

other countries?

Should it be possible to sue governments for historical crimes of different governments in the same 

country?

Should the crimes of previous governments (e.g. military regimes) be punished, forgiven, or 

forgotten?

Can you find any examples of a justified attack on another country in history?

If a part of the history of your country could make you ashamed of your ancestors, should it be 

avoided in school history lessons?

Are historical dramas, novels and films a good way of teaching history, despite their inaccuracies?

Is history an important subject in schools, or should it be relegated to a lesser role while more 

practical subjects like business studies are promoted more?

If _______________________ hadn’t happened, would it have been a good or bad thing?

Was ____________________________ inevitable, or could it have been stopped?

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2010