Teaching Debates for Outlook

Renato Ganoza for EF Zhengzhou, 2009

Debates are an important part of the Outlook competition. Debates are present in the finals of Round 3 at each level of competition. Contestants need to know: How to listen carefully to teammates and opponents for arguments and mistakes. How to form convincing arguments and counter-arguments. How to leave a positive impression on everyone present – teammates, opponents and judges.

Contestants must be familiar with common debate vocabulary. Refer to the Useful Debate Vocabulary handout and drill situations with students. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ There are two standard forms of debate: In a formal debate students speak one at a time in a predetermined order for a maximum of two minutes each. Students may not speak out of turn. In a free debate any student may speak at any time and there are no limits for speech times. Practice both in class. Weaker students prefer the formal debate style. The free debate favors more aggressive students. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Choose appropriate debate topics for your group. Topics about student life are always popular. Do not debate political or religious topics. Refer to the Outlook Debate Topics handout list for ideas. The internet is also a rich source of topics. http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_index.php has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of categorized topics. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Whenever possible stress the important of active listening during debates and story chains. Too often students will talk at each other and not to each other. They don’t directly address points other students have made. This hardly impresses judges. Have students practice incorporating elements from the arguments of others into their speeches. “As you’ve just stated, McDonalds is popular and popular for good reason. However I must take issue with…” This makes it clear that students are responding actively and spontaneously and not just reciting prepared arguments. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Obviously training students to debate is serious business. It’s no good to just walk in and ask the kids, “Chicken or egg?” Further Reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate Always start with Wikipedia and go from there.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful