Festival topics

Explore the topics and teaching resources used in the last Topical Talk Festival. Each resource is a one-hour lesson. Participating classes teach at least four Topical Talk lessons over the Festival period.


It's time for standpoints!

A standpoint is a student’s final say on a topic from the news. It gives them a chance to share their opinion in writing, film or audio. Before students make a standpoint, they should take part in at least four classroom Topical Talk Festival lessons. All standpoints should be submitted to the Student Hub, where they will automatically be entered into the standpoint competition! Use these supporting resources to help students to create their standpoints.

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Space: a positive human future?

In this lesson, students will consider how space innovations might help create a positive human future. They will have time to think about what makes them curious about space exploration, before discussing which space innovations might help to solve some of the problems on our planet.

Publish date: 5th October

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The global food crisis

There is enough food in the world for nobody to go hungry, so why is there a global food crisis? In this lesson students will explore the complexities of food scarcity by playing a trade game – then think about how their experiences in the game might mirror the real world.

Publish date: 12th October


Protests in Iran: Mahsa Amini

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, was arrested for not wearing a hijab according to the rules in Iran. She died in custody. Eyewitnesses believe this was as a result of police brutality, which sparked a wave of protests. The Iranian government responded with violence and by heavily restricting the internet. In this lesson students will discuss whether anyone outside Iran has a responsibility to speak out if the people in Iran cannot.

Publish date: 19th October

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US midterms: are young people political?

The news means that more people than ever can hear about politics – but does this mean young people are politically engaged? In this lesson, students will explore what it means to be political, before taking time to reflect on themselves.

Publish date: 26th October


COP27: is it sustainable?

For nearly three decades the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for a global discussion about climate change. But are the events themselves as sustainable as they could be? In this lesson, students will hear from young activists from around the world, before discussing their own sustainable solutions.

Publish date: 2nd November


Fast fashion

Explore the problems caused by fast fashion. Who is responsible? And who has the most power to make a difference?

Publish date: 2nd November

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Black Panther: representation and diversity

Black Panther was the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – but it was celebrated as a major milestone for representation and diversity in film. In time for the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, this lesson helps gets students to explore why diversity in film is important and discuss how representation should be done right.

Publish date: 9th November

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UK politics: is it time for a general election?

In October 2022, Rishi Sunak became the prime minister of the UK, making him the fifth prime minister in six years. His appointment is the most recent event in a long period of instability for the UK – for example, Mr Sunak took charge after the previous prime minister, Liz Truss, resigned after just 44 days in the job! Now people are asking: what’s next for UK politics? And is it time for a general election to give the power back to the people?

Publish date: 9th November

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World cup: the legacy of big events

Every big event has a legacy – and the soccer World Cup is no different. But what does this legacy look like? And are big global events like the World Cup good for a city? In this lesson, students will take part in an interactive decision-game to discuss the pros and cons of big events, then form their own opinions.

Publish date: 16th November

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Sustainable healthcare: doctor shortages

Doctor shortages are a global problem – but there isn’t one reason for it. In this lesson, students will look at case studies from around the world to diagnose what’s going wrong. The lesson ends with a discussion about how to make healthcare a more sustainable career-pathway in their own country.

Publish date: 16th November