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WINELANDS DEBATING LEAGUE Volunteer Training. What is WDL?. The Winelands Development High School Debating League is a social initiative to educate and empower the youth of South Africa by teaching them formal debating in the World Schools Debating style

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what is wdl
What is WDL?
  • The Winelands Development High School Debating League is a social initiative to educate and empower the youth of South Africa by teaching them formal debating in the World Schools Debating style
  • We are one of four Debating Leagues in the Western Cape, presided over by the Western Cape Schools Debating Board (WCSDB) who run the Provincial Championship
  • They in turn are overseen by the South African Schools Debating Board (SASDB) who run the National Championship














We are here

our goals
Our Goals
  • To empower and inspire learners from the Stellenbosch community by teaching them to think critically and express themselves with confidence
  • To provide social support to learners who come from difficult circumstances by building positive relationships with them
  • To teach these learners to debate successfully in World Schools Debating Style, so that they may be selected to represent their school at the Provincial Tournament, and their Province at the National Tournament
the world schools format
The World Schools Format
  • 2 teams, 1 proposing the topic (or motion) and 1 opposing it
  • Each team has three speaking members, one of whom speaks twice
  • Each speech last 6 minutes (juniors) or 8 minutes (seniors), except for the final ‘reply’ speech which is half normal length
  • Teams take turns to present their case, starting with proposition
  • Sometimes have prepared motions where teams get the topic in advance and can research it
  • Other times debates have impromptu motions which means the team only get the topic an hour before the debate and must prepare











1st Speaker

  • give a CASE SPLIT (highlight each of the points that the proposition are going to make in the debate)
  • DEFINE the motion. The definition must be reasonable - the test for a reasonable definition is how the ordinary person on the street define would define a topic.
  • provide a POLICY (steps that will be taken to implement the motion)
  • discuss arguments in favour of the motion (POSITIVE MATTER)

1st Speaker

  • Provide a CLASH
  • Give the team’s CASE SPLIT
  • Provide REBUTTAL for the first speaker of the proposition
  • IF necessary offer counter policy and/or definitional challenge.

2nd Speaker

  • provide REBUTTAL of the first speaker of the opposition’s arguments
  • further the proposition’s case with POSITIVE MATTER

2nd Speaker

  • REBUT the arguments brought forward by the second speaker of the proposition
  • Provide POSITIVE MATTER to further the opposition’s case

3rd Speaker

  • The third speaker is also known as the ‘Rebuttal Speaker’.
  • If time allows, the third speaker should also spend a little time SUMMARISING the proposition’s substantive matter.
  • The third speaker MAY NOT bring in any positive matter!

3rd Speaker

  • The third speaker of the opposition has the SAME job as the third speaker of the proposition.
  • The third speaker of the opposition MAY NOT bring in any positive matter!
  • The opposition’s reply comes after the opposition third speaker, and is followed by the proposition reply.
  • This is a short, three-minute speech given by either the first or second speaker from each team
  • The reply speech is sometimes referred to as being a "biased adjudication" of the debate, because its format is similar to that of an adjudicator's oral feedback on the debate, but with the purpose of convincing the audience that the speaker's team was victorious.
  • A reply speech should have the following structure:
    • Outline two or three ISSUES of contention that the debate has centred around;
    • EVALUATE the course of the debate;
    • Declare the reasoning of the team's victory.
    • NO POSITIVE MATTER should be offered in a reply speech. Instead, the speech should be a SUMMARY of the entire debate with special emphasis put on why your team should win the debate.
  • …are NOT
    • Dictionary definitions
    • Word for word definitions – more contextual
    • Truistic (self evident/not debatable)
    • Time or Place Set
    • Squirrels (completely unreasonable/not in the spirit of the motion)
    • Useless!!!
  • DO
    • Provide some context
    • Ensure that everyone understands EXACTLY what is being debated.
definitions this house would provide free aids drugs
DefinitionsThis house would provide free AIDS drugs
  • This motion isn’t completely specific and it immediately brings several questions to mind:

· Who should supply the free AIDS drugs?

· Who should receive the AIDS drugs?

· Which AIDS drugs should be supplied?

  • These answers could be:

· The government should provide free AIDS drugs.

· They should provide them to all people in South Africa with AIDS who

cannot afford to buy the drugs themselves.

· They should supply a particular anti-retroviral drug such as Nevirapine.

the clash
The Clash
  • The clash is a statement or several statements that the opposition team uses to sum up what they’re trying to prove.
  • Is NOT…
    • Long-winded & fancy
    • Just the opposite of what the Prop has said (although sometimes it is)
  • MUST
    • be clear and unequivocal (i.e. not ambiguous or misleading)
    • be maintained throughout the debate.

This house would provide free AIDS drugs


  • “The South African government should not give free AIDS drugs to everybody with AIDS; it should rather educate people about avoiding infection. We as the opposition believe that this would be more beneficial and effective as a long term solution in dealing with SA’s AIDS problem.”
  • NB!! It is Opposition’s job to clash with Proposition, not the other way round!!!!
Case Splits &

Team Lines

case splits teamlines
Case-splits & Teamlines
  • Case Split
    • Road map of teams line of argument
    • Is directly related to strategy
  • Teamline
    • Similar to a clash.
    • is a statement or several statements that either team uses to sum up what they’re trying to prove.
points of information
  • The QUESTION Form
  • This format is basically delivering an argument as a question.
  • E.g. in the death penalty debate a POI could be phrased as,
  • "Don't you think that the death penalty actually deters murder by increasing the consequences?" or
  • " What do you say to the argument that the death penalty deters crime by increasing the consequences of crime?"
  • This type of POI is essentially an attack on the speaker's case.
points of information1
  • The FACTUAL form
  • Often a team may be relying on a certain example or factual piece of information to support their arguments. If you have information that would stop them in their tracks, this is worth delivering.
  • For example if a speaker was arguing …
  • That most asylum seekers are possible terrorists and criminals and thus we cannot open our borders" a POI stating that,

'80% of asylum seekers are genuine immigrants and there is no statistical evidence that terrorists come to South Africa via boats according to immigration stats' would be devastating.

points of information2
  • POIs are useful to
  • expose where a team's argument is lacking,
  • where their arguments are contradictory, or
  • where they have failed to rebut a key argument.
  • Suppose a team is debating that we should invade Iraq, and they are talking about all the benefits of having the UN administering Iraq after the invasion. A POI may point out that, "You're talking about all these benefits of having democracy in Iraq but have failed to rebut our arguments about how invasion in Iraq is totally impractical and will not be possible."
points of information3
  • Always RESPOND to your POI. This is the best option. If you are confident in your case just refute the point and move on. The quicker you can do this, the better.
  • Dodge. Sometimes you are going to be stumped by a POI - it happens to everyone. If you are stumped don't waffle for 30 seconds. You can restate your case line or provide token refutation. The most important point is that you shouldn't allow a POI to make you lose your concentration.
  • Do NOT use POIs to 'nitpick' minor examples, unless the example is very important to their case and you have matter that will destroy them.
structure internal
Structure - Internal
  • Always state the outline of your speech
  • STICK TO IT!!!
    • Flag your points. Indicate clearly when you are launching into a new point and when you’ve concluded a point.
  • Ensure that the flow of your speech is logical and strategic.
  • Relate the argument back to the overall case: i.e. state the argument then show its link to the case.
  • Use examples to back up the argument, AFTER it has been made.
  • Structure is VERY important! Even if the matter and manner is poor, good structure conveys a sense of purpose in proving the overall case.
structure external team structure
Structure – ExternalTeam Structure
  • It is important for the first speaker of the team to give a clear case split. Avoid repetition of arguments. A case split will quickly help you identify duplicated or very similar sounding positive matter.
  • Use simple headings.
  • Two to three points per speaker starting from the most NB points to the least NB points.
  • First speaker, summarise your case in two sentences!
  • Second speaker, summarise your case in two sentences!
structure external team structure1
Structure – ExternalTeam Structure

This house would legalise euthanasia

  • The first speaker could establish why suffering individuals have the right to make decisions about their life.
  • The second speaker can broaden the case to show the benefit to family members in alleviating medical costs and personal suffering that comes from a drawn out death. They could also show overall benefit to healthcare systems who could divert valuable resources to non-terminal patients.
what is an argument
What is an argument?

An argument is essentially a conclusion supported by reasons (otherwise referred to as premises).

A conclusion is a statement or claim which a person would not ordinarily accept at face value. As a result, you need to provide reasons for a person to accept your claim. These reasons must be presented in a logical progression which gradually builds up to your final claim.

This logical progression of reasons leading to a conclusion is the basis of an argument.

the form of an argument
The form of an argument
  • Reason 1
  • Reason 2
  • Reason 3


The key thing to remember is that a conclusion only stands if there are reasons provided to support it and these reasons are true. An argument may be contrasted with an assertion. An assertion is merely a claim or a statement which is not supported by reasons and thus gives you no basis to believe it.

Assertions are your enemy.

how to construct an argument
How to construct an argument
  • When constructing an argument you will initially start with some conclusion in mind. It is then necessary to work backwards by providing the reasons that will support your conclusion. For instance, take the following conclusion as a starting point:

Amputating thieves’ hands will deter theft

  • I will then need to supply the reasons that will lead to this conclusion, starting from the least controversial claims and then building up to the conclusion. The trick here is to make small, incremental steps from these non-contentious claims in order to establish an argument that will be difficult to rebut.
how to construct an argument1
How to construct an argument
  • I will start with the first reason:

1) Thieves are generally rational individuals.

  • This seems to be a relatively good basis from which to start. Next I will add an additional reason:

2) A rational individual assesses the consequences of his/her actions before acting.

  • Having established this basis the next link is fairly obvious:

3)Amputation is a severe consequence.

how to construct an argument2
How to construct an argument

These reasons can be put together to create the final argument:

1)Thieves, in general, are rational individuals.

2)A rational individual assesses the consequences of their actions before acting.

3)Amputation is a severe consequence.

Amputation is an effective deterrent against theft.

how to construct an argument argumentation in practice
How to construct an argumentArgumentation in practice
  • In practice you will not have that much time to map out the flow of your reasons and conclusions while you prepare your speech. This is why you need to train your brain to think in logical patterns of conclusions supported by reasons. The best training is to take everyday statements and claims and try to create arguments for these claims. Start with the most self evident reasons and gradually work your way up until you have proved the claim. Use the following examples to test your argument construction skills:
  • Torture is effective in getting information out of criminals.
  • Mother-tongue education allows children to learn better.
using examples to support your argument
Using examples to support your argument
  • The use of real-world evidence is often a powerful tool to give your arguments greater force.
  • However, an example is NOT a substitute for an argument. Examples are merely used to demonstrate how the logic of an argument is carried through into the real world.

Consider this use of an example:

  • Amputation was used in the country of XYZistan and it reduced theft by 90%.
  • Therefore amputation is an effective deterrent.
using examples to support your argument1
Using examples to support your argument

The use of an example in this context is clearly no substitute for an actual

argument. This is because narrow examples such as the one above suffer

from a crucial flaw:

There is nothing in the example to suggest that this isolated case is representative of all cases.

For instance, it may be that XYZistan is unique in that its citizens are

particularly fearful of criminal punishments and change their behaviour

accordingly. Alternatively, it may just be blind luck that all the thieves left

XYZistan at the time the new punishment was introduced. As a result, there is

nothing in the isolated example of XYZistan to suggest that amputation will

work in all countries and all situations.

using examples to support your argument2
Using examples to support your argument

To use an example effectively:

  • Present a logical argument
  • Establish the logic behind the argument you are providing
  • Use the example to show how the logic has been demonstrated in real life
a few important things
A few important things…
  • Always, ALWAYS, read through the workshop thoroughly before you present it. Email me if there’s anything you’re unsure about/need me to explain
  • If you aren’t confident of the matter the kids will struggle even more, so make sure you are comfortable with what you are teaching for that week
  • Decide within your groups who will do what each week, when you will divide the class up and work in smaller groups, when you will address them together, etc.
  • Everyone should try and take turns to present sections of the workshop
Be aware these kids are SECOND LANGUAGE English speakers. Don’t be condescending, but also be aware of what you’re saying and how you say it.
  • Where possible explain things in simpler terms. Be patient and take the time to explain difficult concepts to them.
  • Check that they remember the previous session’s work and can apply what you’re teaching/have taught them.
  • HOWEVER don’t underestimate them simply because they struggle to express themselves. Many of these kids are very smart and informed about what’s going in South Africa, and the world.
  • But most important of all…
HAVE FUN!!! The kids won’t return each week unless they enjoy the workshops and feel positive about debating.
henri de wet
Henri de Wet

Studying BSc Human Life Sciences with Psychology

Portfolio: Chair

megan clemmans
Megan Clemmans

Studying Sociology Honours

PORTFOLIO: Secretary and Vice-chairperson

ryno meyer
Ryno Meyer

Studying BA Sosio Informatics

PORTFOLIO:Marketing & Events Coordinator