Debate Protocol

  1. The aim of the debates is for a 'Simulated Synchronous' environment. This is not a pre-recorded exercise. Teachers are to emulate a real debating situation where the 'recording' of the other team is played at an agreed time and the school team responds (and records at the same time) within 2-5 minutes of hearing it.
  2. Each debating team has TWO or THREE members (first speaker may close, or a third speaker can be brought in)
  3. Each debating team must be prepared to take the affirmative or the negative
  4. All debating teams will respond in what we call 'simulated synchronous' mode. This means there is to be very little delay time between when they HEAR the other side and when they RESPOND to the other side. We want to simulate an authentic experience with the students. The integrity of a real debate has this very short time span to listen and respond to the other team.
  5. Response and recording is to be done 'live', preferably with an audience (class, other group within the school), and there is to be no delay time (2-5 min. is acceptable) that allows for planning.
  6. There is to be no re-recording of the response EXCEPT if there has been a technical issue with VoiceThread or associated equipment. This will be at the teachers discretion and full disclosure made
  7. All debates will be voice recordings only. The use of images and music is not encouraged as it will detract from the purpose of the debate. We want focus to be on the persuasive power of the voice
  8. The time limit for each debate must be observed and judges will impose penalties for going over the maximum limit
  9. A team who is not able to meet the timeline for their part of the debate will forfeit the round
  10. Teams debating each other must communicate (teacher to teacher) in order to fine-tune the schedule for affirmative and negative responses. It is possible to take into account school interruptions if planned in advance
  11. It is expected that Negative #2 and Negative #3 will record their debate session one after the other as they are both responding to Affirmative #2 (and #1)
  12. Only one speaker is allowed per recording with a total of three speakers per team.
  13. New for 2012: If a teacher wishes to include a transcription due to a concern that a student's accent may be difficult to understand, it should be a public google doc attached as a link to the back page - it is optional. This transcription must be verbatim of what was said. If it takes the form of additional written material, it will be disqualified from being used.

Debate Format

Affirmative #1 (will make their case): 5 - 7 minutes

Negative #1 (will make their case): 5 - 7 minutes

Affirmative #2 (continue to make their case, and rebut Negative #1): 5 - 7 minutes

Negative #2 (continue to make their case, and rebut Affirmative #1): 5 - 7 minutes

Negative #3 (closing statement and final rebuttal, no new material introduced): 3 - 4 minutes

Affirmative #3 (closing statement and final rebuttal, no new material introduced): 3 - 4 minutes

Note: The Affirmative team has the burden of proof and therefore must close the debate

A debater is defined as someone who engages in debates. Students in years 5 – 12 are encouraged to participate in debating. Debaters are in close communication with their coach, who is their first point of call for any issues. Refer to the Judges' Rubric for this competition adjudication specifics.

Debate Flow: 1st Proposition Speaker -> 1st Opposition Speaker -> 2nd Proposition Speaker ->2nd Opposition Speaker -> 3rd Opposition Rebuttal -> 3rd Proposition Rebuttal
Debating roles at a glance…
Affirmative / Proposition
Negative / Opposition
First Proposition speaker
  1. Defines the topic
  2. Allocates topics to speakers.
  3. Introduces main points of the arguments
First Opposition speaker
  1. Defines the topic
  2. Allocates topics to speakers
  3. Introduces the main points of the arguments
  4. Rebuttal
Second Proposition speaker
  1. Rebuttal
  2. Arguments and examples
Second Opposition speaker
  1. Rebuttal
  2. Arguments and examples
Third Proposition Rebuttal speaker
  1. Rebuttal
  2. Summary
  3. Conclusion
Third Opposition Rebuttal speaker
  1. Rebuttal
  2. Summary
  3. Conclusion
How to structure a rebuttal point in 4 steps:
1) What did they say? – State the point you want to argue [Signalling]
2) Why is it wrong? – Say why your team disputes the point, make your counter claim. [State]
3) Evidence or justification – Use example(s) or justification to support your counter claim [Support]
4) Contrast / Summarize – Explain the importance of your argument [Summarize]
[Signaling] My opponent argued that the death penalty deters crime.

[State] In fact, the death penalty increases crime.

[Support] According to a nationwide study conducted by Professor Wiggins in 2002, violent crime has actually increased in states with the death penalty while crime has decreased in states without the death penalty.

[Summarize] If this study is true, and the methodology is certainly sound, then the central justification for the death penalty has no merit.

We will have a single elimination for the primary competition but those eliminated in the first round will move to the "debate it again" consolation bracket which will also have a winner.