Student Speech Topics

While giving a speech in front of peers can be frightening, it is also a wonderful opportunity to speak your mind and get an important point across to others. Informative, motivational and demonstration speeches are common in high school and college, but the most popular public speaking assignments are persuasive speeches and Lincoln-Douglass debates. Whether you are a student researching a speech topic or a teacher looking for a few public speaking assignment ideas, choosing a broadened topic that is adaptable to the various kinds of speeches will make it easier to construct a meaningful argument from any angle 2. Always check with teachers or school administrators to make sure the topic is acceptable, as prohibited topics vary by school.

Culture and Society

Speech topics that explore an aspect of culture or society are interesting and relevant to students’ lives 2. The education system in America, for example, is a topic that many students have an opinion on. A speech that discusses the impact of budget cuts or a debate about the pros and cons of school uniforms will engage and inform classmates and, in the case of a good persuasive speech, might even change a few minds 1. Other culture and society topics of interest to the youth include safe sex, discrimination and censorship. College students may have interesting and important things to say about gambling, obesity or women’s rights.

Controversial Issues

Controversial issues are important topics for students to explore. Opinions about controversial issues are often passionately upheld and vehemently debated in news, politics, scholarship and the classroom. Controversial speech topics engage students in a healthy discussion of differences in an appropriate environment of expression and debate 12. Popular high school controversial speech topics are capital punishment, abortion, drugs and gay rights, while honors or college-level topics include:

  • stem cell research
  • euthanasia
  • prostitution 2

The Environment

With the increase of environmental awareness has come a rise in the urgency to talk about environmental issues. Everyone has a vested interest in the good health of our planet, making speech topics about the environment interesting and important to share in the classroom 2. Energy efficiency, green products and renewable resources make good topics for informative speeches, while pollution, oil spills and global warming are passionate topics for motivational or persuasive speeches.

Special Interests

Sometimes, students simply enjoy talking about the things they like, and speeches are a great opportunity for students to share their interests with others in a meaningful way. If a student has a favorite music group, for example, a speech about that group’s contributions to society or even the group’s notoriously violent reputation encourages the student to express her personal interests through logical opinion while sharing her expertise or knowledge with her peers 2. Other topics of special interest to students may include sports and athletics, technology, film and cinema or fashion and style trends.