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Debate Basics

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  1. Debate Basics (In other words . . . how to present arguments like a professional!)

  2. What is a Debate? • A debate is an organized argument between two teams: • The AFFIRMATIVE team • The NEGATIVE team • Teams debate an issue called a RESOLUTION: • E.G: Be it resolved that all junior high students are required to wear foam clown noses during school hours.

  3. Teams: The Affirmative • The AFFIRMATIVE team argues in favor of the resolution. In other words, they believe that there should be a change to the current system (status quo). • Junior high students are not CURRENTLY required to wear foam clown noses during school hours. However, the AFFIRMATIVE team thinks the rules should be changed so that students must wear the noses at school.

  4. Teams: The Negative • The NEGATIVE team argues against the resolution. They believe that the current system, or status quo, is just fine the way it is – no changes are necessary. • Junior high students are not currently required to wear clown noses during school hours, and it is not right to ask them to start wearing them.

  5. The Structure of a Debate • A debate is divided into several different parts: • Constructive Speeches • New ideas/arguments/plans are introduced • Discussion Period • Teams ask and answer questions (in other words, argue!) • Rebuttal Speeches • Last chance to convince the judges their side is the best choice (no new ideas are introduced)

  6. The Structure of a Debate • Each team usually has two members, and each debater has a different role in the argument: • 1st Affirmative Speaker • 2nd Affirmative Speaker • 1st Negative Speaker • 2nd Negative Speaker • There are also other people that help to keep the debate organized: • Chairperson • Time keeper • Judges

  7. The Structure of a Debate • When a debate is based on Two man teams, the debate follows this schedule: • 1st Affirmative Constructive speech • 1st Negative Constructive speech • 2nd Affirmative Constructive speech • 2nd Negative Constructive speech • Discussion/Question Period (both teams) • Break • Negative Rebuttal Speech (Negative speaker) • Affirmative Rebuttal Speech (Affirmative speaker)

  8. The Structure of a Debate • Sometimes, your teacher may decide to use THREE man teams. The schedule would look like this: • 1st Affirmative Constructive speech • 1st Negative Constructive speech • 2nd Affirmative Constructive speech • 2nd Negative Constructive speech • 3rd Affirmative Constructive speech • 3rd Negative Constructive speech • Discussion/Question Period (both teams) • Break • Negative Rebuttal Speech (Negative speaker) • Affirmative Rebuttal Speech (Affirmative speaker) * Speech times are shorter with three man teams.

  9. The Structure of a Debate • Teams sit in a specific arrangement in a debate. • There are special places for the chairman, time keeper, and judges too. Chairperson Affirmative Team Third Second First Negative Team First Second Third Timer Judges

  10. The Affirmative Team • The affirmative says that the status quo be changed, so they must identify WHY the resolution is the only option. • These ideas are called NEEDS FOR CHANGE, and are imperative to the affirmative case.

  11. The Affirmative TeamNEEDS FOR CHANGE BIRT all junior high students are required to wear foam clown noses during school hours. • The affirmative team believes that the status quo is not satisfactory because: • junior high students take themselves too seriously – teens need to relax and let loose once in a while. It is important to enjoy your childhood while it lasts. • school has become to serious. Students feel a lot of pressure to succeed in a business-like environment and are more productive when learning is fun. • foam clown noses would provide some comic relief for teachers who are overworked and stressed out. • As a result of the above needs for change, it is clear that the best alternative is to institute a mandatory clown nose policy in ALL Alberta junior high schools.

  12. The Affirmative Team • Because the affirmative is proposing a change to the current system, they need to outline a PLAN for the new system. • THE PLAN describes how the affirmative plans to implement the resolution.

  13. The Affirmative TeamTHE PLAN BIRT all junior high students are required to wear foam clown noses during school hours. • In order to implement a mandatory clown nose policy for all Alberta junior high students, the affirmative team plans to: • incorporate the addition of red foam clown noses into the dress codes of Alberta junior high schools. • subsidize the cost of red foam clown noses to a maximum of three noses per student, per school year. Any additional noses must be paid for by the student. • enforce a minimum ½ day in-school suspension for all students not wearing the required foam nose.

  14. The Affirmative TeamReview • The affirmative team has two main goals in a debate: • Prove that the current system, or status quo, is not working by outlining NEEDS FOR CHANGE. • Outline a PLANthat will be used to implement the changes that the affirmative case demands.

  15. The Negative Team • The duty of the negative team is to reinforce the fact that the current system does not need to be changed. • The negative will present CONTENTIONS supporting the status quo as the best alternative. • CONTENTIONS are classified as any propositions made in the constructive speeches.

  16. The Negative TeamCONTENTIONS BIRT all junior high students are required to wear foam clown noses during school hours. • The negative team maintains that the status quo does not require changes because: • schools are busy enough trying to enforce the rules they already have – teachers do not need to waste time enforcing another dress code rule. • teens are sensitive to peer pressure and teasing – foam clown noses provide yet another opportunity for bullies to tease vulnerable students. • students have enough to worry about with the current dress code, homework, studying, work, and extracurricular activities. It seems cruel to pile yet another responsibility on to their already overloaded shoulders.

  17. Clash • Both the affirmative and negative teams must CLASH, or refute the opposing teams arguments. • Clashing is an opportunity to address specific comments your opponent makes, and to prove that they are either incorrect or that their solution is not practical.

  18. Clash • Each team keeps track of their opponent’s argument using a FLOW SHEET. • A flow sheet is a piece of paper where debaters write notes detailing their opponents key points and any faults they may find. • When it is time for a debater to clash, they refer to their flow sheet so they can repeat exactly what their opponents have stated.

  19. Clash – Affirmative Team BIRT all junior high students are required to wear foam clown noses during school hours. “ The negative team stated that foam clown noses would be yet another opportunity for bullies to tease and torment their victims.” However, we the affirmative believe that this is simply NOT the case because the bullies themselves would also be wearing the noses. If a bully insulted a student for wearing the nose, he would essentially be insulting himself. Red foam clown noses do not create an arena for insults and torment; they even out the playing field.”

  20. Review • A debate is an organized argument based on an issue called a resolution. • The affirmative team argues in support of the resolution (for change). • The negative team argues against the resolution (for the status quo).

  21. Review • A debate has three parts: constructive speeches, a discussion period, and rebuttal speeches. • The affirmative case is based on needs for change, the plan (contentions), and clash. • The negative case is based on contentions and clash.