Students Guidance

Here we have some guidance for Students.

You can download Debating layout and guidance here

Layout of the debate for the students

Definition = Motion and the whole idea of the debate is to

    1) Define parts of the topic (motion) that can be understood differently and
    2) If needed, narrow the debate or
    3) Explain a mechanism used by the proposition side.

One should define as little as possible, but as much as necessary to establish a clear debate.
Make sure that you express why we talk of this topic !!

Argument – how to structure it

    1. Statement = > is the title of the argument which establishes what the argument wants to prove. A statement should consist of one sentence that summarises the whole argument.
    2. Explanation => after the statement, one needs to explain it as if one is answering opponents /audience question Why is it so ?
    3. Examples => is giving supportive illustration to the why explanation
    4. Conclusion => is to explain to the opponents/audience why this is relevant to the topic

Example of an argument
a. I claim that banning alcohol supports organized crime.
b. This is because if the state stops selling alcohol, then the business moves to the black market In which case the profit from selling alcohol goes to the criminals instead of the state.
c. For example in the 1930s the US imposed the dry law meaning selling alcohol was banned. As a result alcohol was sold by mobsters such as Al Capone whose power increased significantly due to the dry law.
d. Thus we can conclude that by banning alcohol organized crime gets more money and grows more powerful, which is harmful to the entire society.


Listen carefully opponent’s argument ! The point of rebutting is to clash other sides’ argument ! Here simple is more powerful ! see the main idea and rebut that.

1. Rebut the explanation – logic
Show that the opponents ‘argument is based on premises that will not fulfil.
Show that the opponents’ explanation is not correct (bring in your own !).
Show that the opponents’ explanation is not connected to their statement or example or conclusion.
2. Rebut the examples
Show that the opponents’ argument has no evidence, examples
Show that the opponents’ evidence is wrong or dated (good bring in you own example)
Show that the opponents’ example is not relevant in the topic or otherwise

Summing up
Go through how you have argued your case and compare with what the opponents have replied. State clearly why your case should win!

Prepare well in advance !
Rehearse to define the motion in all positions ! Make sure to tell the division of labour and give the key arguments as planned ! Without good planning and preparation you are less able to be flexible! Pay attention to complementary actions within the team!
It is appreciated if you can speak freely ! It is though quite acceptable and recommendable to prepare notes on small cards and to use them during the debate to support you argumentation. It is also acceptable to take notes what other party is saying.

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