I've taken some work on at the moment, teaching debating skills to 10-11 year old children in the Upney area of London.
Debating is a pretty dry subject matter, it has lots of arcane references and a bewildering set of rules and can seem quite alien to kids used to having a bloody good chat but I've found that the framework of regulations it provides enables children to feel safe discussing quite heavy topics.
You may be surprised to know that it wasn't my suggestion to throw around this particular political hot potato, I keep my beliefs away from the young, the kids themselves had been discussing it and wanted to try out the debating techniques I'd taught them on a subject they felt passionately about.
It was strange watching a 10 year old justify capital punishment and inspiring to see them have such a good grasp of political issues at a young age (never mind the images of his death they had been exposed to via YouTube) but the best bit came not when the class voted that the killing of Saddam Hussein was wrong but when one young speaker said:
"He's killed people, we've killed people. How can we hang him? If we hang him, we have to hang ourselves as well."