Here’s an example of a debate text – we’re going to think about how the paragraphs are set out. The first is always the introduction and telling the reader what the debate is about, why it matters and to who. The other paragraphs are reasons for the different sides. Let’s see if we can pick out the key reason from each paragraph. My work is underneath the paragraph in red.
Is it better to be a child or an adult?
Being a child can be very exciting because you can have lots of fun and you don’t have to complete lots of boring jobs that adults have to do. Peter Pan never wanted to grow up and maybe he was right! Although, some people would say that being an adult is better, due to the fact you get to earn and spend lots of money and buy whatever you want. There are lots of arguments for both sides. What would your opinion be?
Being a child has many positives! Firstly, children get to have amazing birthday parties with cake, ice cream, chocolate and fantastic party bags full of surprise toys and gifts! Some children have themes such as football or princess parties, where as others have their birthdays in really exciting locations like play areas and swimming pools. Furthermore, children get huge gigantic presents full of brand new toys and computer games. In contrast adults get small boring gifts (like bubble bath and socks).
Side: Child. Reason: Birthday parties and presents are better, like football and princess parties.
Would you like to be treated like a King or Queen? If you are a kid, lots of people do everything for you. In the evenings, parents cook children their dinner and then wash up for them. They even wash their clothes and drive them to wherever their son or daughter wants to go! It is like having your own private taxi!
Side: Child. Reason: You get a lot more things done for you, like your dinner being made.
However, some people would argue that being an adult is a lot better than being a snotty child! When you are an adult you get to have a job! At the end of every month you get paid lots and lots of money (much more than you get for pocket money). Not only that, but you get to spend it on amazing things like holidays, TVs and even cars!
Side: Adult. Reason: You get to earn much more money from a job and can spend it on amazing things.
Secondly, once you are grown up, you get to drive a car! Driving is really fun because you can speed around roads and go on amazingly beautiful journeys all over the world. It also means you don’t have to walk to your friend’s house, which might be miles and miles away. That way, when you are an adult, you will never get tired and can go wherever you want to go without having to walk long distances.
Side: Adult. Reason: You can drive a car and don’t need to walk long distances.
Overall, it could be said that being a child is much better than being an adult simply because it is a lot more fun and you don’t have to be serious all the time. In contrast, some people might also say that being an adult is better because you don’t have to go to bed early and you get to do whatever you feel like doing. Which do you think is better? I wonder, who will you vote for?
Did you see how each paragraph is about a different reason, and takes a different side? See if you can have a go at this example about whether zoos should be banned. You just need to do the same as I’ve done in the example in red – remember the first and last paragraphs are the introduction and conclusion, so don’t worry about those (yet!)
Should Zoos be banned?
Zoos are very popular – and becoming increasingly more so - and have been around, in one form or another, for over 100 years now. Originally, zoos’ conditions were poor and animals were treating badly yet they have grown more suitable for both humans and animals, though many people still question if it is right to be doing this to animals. This balanced argument will discuss if zoos should be kept open or banned, consider the benefits to all species and debate whether the potential damage caused is too high.
The most critical reasons as to why zoos should be kept open is that they can prevent extinction of certain animals. In the wild, animals can be hunted and eaten by any predator that could threaten their existence. All animals in Zoos can be cured easily if they fall ill and can be fed healthier food. Now, in the 21st century, the cages can be modified to suit the animal or animal’s needs. Consider Twycross Zoo as an example. Recently, they spent over £20,000 pounds redesigning their monkey and gorilla sanctuary: this investment has enabled the animals there to thrive. Their natural habitats, which are in decline for a variety of reasons, cannot guarantee protection whereas a zoo can ensure a species’ survival.
Additionally, Zoos can be great fun for humans and can also teach them more about animals. Some people say that you can learn about animals on TV and the Internet although without actually seeing the animal in real life. However, you can't see their interactions with others of the same species; observe them in habitats that replicate their own; and you can’t feel their skin, fur or scales through a screen.
However, one argument against zoos being kept open is that being trapped in one cage can bore an animal. Animals do not normally act naturally around people and that does not teach anyone how they behave. Bright camera flashes can shock animals, and people love to take pictures of anything they find interesting - including animals. Unfortunately, Sea World (in America) is regularly in the news for these negative reasons. They have had to put down several of their Orcas in the past twenty years as the animals have started to display disturbing behaviours such as: head-banging against the glass, harming other orcas within the tanks and finally grievously harming humans during performances. David Attenborough – a famous naturalist – has been quoted to say, “Conservation of animal’s natural habitats should be human’s focus, not building more zoos to make us feel better for destroying their homes!”
Moreover, animals that are caged up cannot grow well and do not learn how to hunt properly. They cannot experience how it feels to roam the wild freely. They can only meet other animals in their cage so cannot socialise and this can cause stress, increased anxiety levels and often this leads to self-harming behaviours being displayed, which were mentioned above. Sometimes, animals are removed from their natural habitats and separated from their families. How would you feel if you were seized from everything you know and placed inside a glass cage for the rest of your life?
In conclusion, I personally think Zoos should be kept open. They can keep animals healthy, feed them when they need food and stop their extinction. Animals that live within zoos often have an extended life span compared to animals in the wild. This has to prove how zoos can benefit animals! I would like the next generation to be able to see the animals we see today in zoos and ensure that no other animals have to become extinct. Will we be able to guarantee the preservation of all species for the future in the wild? I feel that zoos are the safest, easiest and supportive way of ensuring the continuation of all animals.