Debate Timing and Structure (Debate Series -5)

Debate:


A debate is a discussion or structured contest about an issue or a resolution. A formal debate involves two sides: one supporting a resolution and one opposing it. Such a debate is bound by rules previously agreed upon. Debates may be judged in order to declare a winning side. Indeed, any discussion of a resolution

Is a form of debate, which may or may not follow formal rules.


Structure for Debate


A formal debate usually involves three groups:


One supporting a resolution (affirmative team)

One opposing the resolution (opposing team)

And those who are judging the quality of the evidence and arguments and the performance in the debate.


Debate Preparation:


  1. Develop the resolution to be debated.

  2. Organize the teams.

  3. Establish the rules of the debate, including timelines.

  4. Research the topic and prepare logical arguments.

  5. Gather supporting evidence and examples for position taken.

  6. Anticipate counter arguments and preparer rebuttals.

  7. Team members plan order and content of speaking in debate.

  8. Prepare room for debate.

  9. Establish expectations, if any, for assessment of debate.


Debate Timeline:


Debate will open with the affirmative team (the team that supports the resolution) presenting their arguments, followed by a member of the opposing team. This pattern is repeated for the second and third speaker in each team. Finally, each team gets an opportunity for rebutting the arguments of the opponent. Speakers should peak slowly and clearly. The judges and members of the audience should be taking notes as the debate proceeds. A typical sequence for debate, with suggested timelines, is as follows:


•The first speaker on the affirmative team presents arguments in support of the resolution.(5minutes)

•The first speaker on the opposing team presents arguments opposing the resolution.(5minutes)

•The second speaker on the affirmative team presents further arguments in support of the resolution, identifies areas of conflict, and answers questions that may have been raised by the opposition speaker. (5minutes)

•The second speaker on the opposing team presents further arguments against the resolution, identifies further areas of conflict, and answers questions that may have been raised by the previous affirmative speaker. (5minutes)

•The Team leader from the affirmative team presents further arguments in support of the resolution, identifies areas of conflict, and answers questions that may have been raised by the opposition speaker.(5minutes)

•The Team leader from the opposing team presents further arguments against the resolution, identifies further areas of conflict, and answers questions that may have been raised by the previous affirmative speaker.(5minutes)



Rebuttal:

1. The rules may include a short break for teams to prepare their rebuttals.(1minutes)

2. The opposing team Leader begins with the rebuttal, attempting to defend the opposing arguments and to defeat the supporting arguments without adding any new information.(1minutes)

3. The affirmative team leader presents his rebuttal and close his statement (1minutes)

4. There cannot be any interruptions. Speakers must wait for their turns.



By: Mehedi Hasan and Mahbub Alam Khan, Mentor, Intelligentsia Debating Society, and Intelligentsia English Language Club.




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