Tags: #formaleducation #debate #vote16 #participation #youth

To debate about a topic, that is relevant and of the participants’ concern. Raise the interest of the participants for political topics. Show the participants that their opinion on political topics is important and that they can speak up for their beliefs.

The values of a debate. Respecting others’ opinions. Practice in advocating for their own ideas.

Maybe Participants are not used to work with creative methods in school, which could cause irritations.

This session can be used to debate about any topic. The session should be customized depending on the language.


100 minutes (including a 10-minute break)

A normal-sized classroom

Up to 30 participants are possible without any problems.

Printed copies of common arguments, template and referendum papers. A ballot box. One pen for each participant. Flipchart / blackboard for the beginnings of the sentences and explanation of the one-on-one-confrontation and talk show. Marker to write on flipchart / chalk.

A template, where the participants can write down the debate question and arguments in favour of and against. A referendum paper.

Activities step by step
Step 1:
5 Minutes

Introducing the activity and its relevance (e.g. importance/link to the participants)

Step 2:
5 Minutes

The Question: Ask the participants to choose one of the options below as an answer to the following question “Should the voting age be lowered to 16?“. Depending on the answer they position themselves throughout the room, e.g. in a line. Options: Yes / No

Step 3:
25 Minutes

Discussion among participants with the same opinion (if possible, otherwise make equal groups): preparing the arguments. Working in a smaller, same-opinion group, participants will make a list of the arguments for the answer they chose in the previous step using the template. When both groups have finished, they exchange their sheets and think of counter-arguments for the other groups’ arguments

Step 4:
20 Minutes

One-on-one confrontation of opinions: Arrange the room making two rows of chairs face each other. Each pair of seats will belong to 2 participants representing a different opinion on the topic. One-on-one-discussion. To help them discuss the facilitator shows some useful beginnings of sentences. It is their task to always repeat what the other person said (e.g. You say... ) and then bring their own (counter)argument (e.g. But in my opinion ...)

Step 5:
10 Minutes


Step 6:
10 Minutes

Participants work in the previous groups (among participants with the same opinion) and get a list of common arguments in debates about this topic. It is their task to understand all of the arguments and look which of them they already thought about before and which are new.

Step 7:
20 Minutes

The Debate (Talk-Show): Each group nominates two persons who will represent their group in a talk show about the topic. The facilitator gives useful beginnings of sentences again, letting the groups prepare a short opening speech. (To make it easier) The facilitator is the host of the talk show and introduces all guests. All of them shall give a short opening speech and tell if they are in favour or against the proposal and begin with a strong argument. Afterwards the guests can debate freely. At the end everyone gives a short closing speech, where they state what was most important for them in the debate

Step 8:
5 Minutes

Referendum: Voting anonymously expressing their opinion after the debate

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