Class debates begin this week and i am anticipating debates of a high quality from all groups.The time allotted to each speaker can be found below.
First speaker- 6 minutes
Second speaker-5 minutes
Third speaker-4 minutes
Groups will be given ten minutes to prepare for the rebuttal and 5 minutes for to refute the claims of the opposing team.
Additionally, rules and guidelines for the debate are as follows:
RULES : THE ROLES OF THE SPEAKERS.
In a debating team each speaker has specified roles that they must fulfill to play their part in the team. They are laid out below in the order that the speakers will speak.
1st Affirmative must:
- define the topic.
- present the affirmative’s team line.
- outline briefly what each speaker in their team will talk about.
- present the first half of the affirmative case.
1st negative must:
- accept or reject the definition. If you don’t do this it is assumed that you accept the definition.
- present the negative team line.
- outline briefly what each of the negative speakers will say.
- rebut a few of the main points of the first affirmative speaker.
- the 1st negative should spend about one quarter of their time rebutting.
- present the first half of the negative team’s case.
2nd affirmative must:
- reaffirm the affimative’s team line.
- rebut the main points presented by the 1st negative.
- the 2nd affirmative should spend about one third of their time rebutting.
- present the second half of the affirmative’s case.
2nd negative must:
- reaffirm the negative’s team line.
- rebut some of the main points of the affirmative’s case.
- the 2nd negative should spend about one third of their time rebutting.
- present the second half of the negative’s case.
3rd affirmative must:
- reaffirm the affirmative’s team line.
- rebut all the remaining points of the negative’s case.
- the 3rd affirmative should spend about two thirds to three quarters of their time rebutting.
- present a summary of the affirmative’s case.
- round off the debate for the affirmative.
3rd negative must:
- reaffirm the negative’s team line.
- rebut all the remaining points of the affirmative’s case.
- the 3rd negative should spend about two thirds to three quarters of their time rebutting.
- present a summary of the negative’s case.
- round off the debate for the negative.
Neither third speaker may introduce any new parts of their team’s cases.
In debating each team will present points in favour of their case. They will also spend some time criticising the arguments presented by the other team. This is called rebuttal. There are a few things to remember about rebuttal.
1. Logic – to say that the other side is wrong is not enough. You have to show why the other side is wrong. This is best done by taking a main point of the other side’s argument and showing that it does not make sense. Because a lot of the thinking for this needs to be done quickly this is one of the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of debating.
2. Pick the important points – try to rebut the most important points of the other side’s case. You will find that after a while these are easier and easier to spot. One obvious spot to find them is when the first speaker of the other team outlines briefly what the rest of the team will say. But do not rebut those points until after they have actually been presented by the other team.
3. `Play the ball’ – do not criticise the individual speakers, criticise what they say. To call someone fat, ugly or a nerd does not make what they say wrong and it will also lose you marks.
TECHNIQUES : THE INDIVIDUAL SPEAKER.
There are many techniques that each speaker can use in their speech but there are three main areas that you will be marked on and they are matter, method and manner.
CONCEPT : MATTER.
Matter is what you say, it is the substance of your speech. You should divide your matter into arguments and examples.
An argument is a statement “The topic is true (or false depending on which side you are on) because of x”, where the argument fills in for the x . For example in the topic “That the zoos should be closed” an argument may be: “the zoos should be closed because they confine the animals in an unnatural environment”.
An example is a fact or piece of evidence which supports an argument. If our argument is: “that zoos should be closed because they confine the animals in an unnatural environment” then an example might be: “that in the lion cage at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney the animals only have about 200 square metres where in the wild they would have 2000 square kilometres to roam in.”.
Any examples that you use should be relevant to the topic at hand. Examples which have very little or nothing to do with the topic only make a speech look weak and lacking substance.
Matter cannot be just a long list of examples. You do not win a debate by creating the biggest pile of facts. Facts are like bricks in a wall, if you don’t use them, cement them together properly then they are useless. Similarly you cannot win a debate solely by proving that some of the facts of the opposition are wrong. It may weaken their case a little, the same way that removing some of the bricks from a wall will, but you really need to attack the main arguments that the other side presents to bring the whole wall crashing down.
Many debates are on currently important issues so it is good for any debater to keep themselves informed of what is happening in the world around them and what are the issues involved. Watching the news helps (but watch a credible broadcast like the ABC , you are hardly likely to get a topic on some heartwarming story about a lost cat in western Sydney) as does reading a good paper or periodical like the Canberra Times or the Sydney Morning Herald.
Where matter is what you say method is how you organise what you say. There are many delicious pieces of the method pie; here are a few tantalising crumbs…….
1. TEAM. Good team method involves unity and logic. Unity is created by all members being aware of the definition, what the other speakers have said and what the team line is. Each member of the team needs to reinforce the team line and be consistent with what has already been said and what will be said by the other members of their team. You may as well shoot yourself in the foot as change the team line mid debate just because you think it isn’t working. Your team will look poorly organised and will be severely penalised by the adjudicator.
2. INDIVIDUAL. You must structure your own speech well. The first step is to have a clear idea of your own arguments and which examples you will be using to support those arguments. As you speak make a clear division between arguments and let the audience know when you are moving from one argument to the next, this is called sign posting and is a very important debating tool. The key thing to remember is that although you know exactly what you are saying the audience has never heard it before and will only hear it once so you have to be very clear about it.
When you are presenting one particular argument make sure that the argument is logical (makes sense) and that you make clear links between your team line and the argument, and between the argument and the examples that you will use to support it.
Rebuttal should be organised the same way. Attack each argument that the opposition presents in turn. Spend a little while on each and then move on to the next. That way the other team’s case is completely demolished.
Also organise your speech well in terms of time. Adjudicators can pick up when you are waffling just to fill in time …. and can see when you’ve spent too long on one point and then have to rush through all your other points and rebuttal just to finish your speech in time. Whew!! You will probably make a few mistakes with this early on but practice makes perfect.