Debate Skills

Steps for Approaching a New Topic

Every time a new topic is announced, students need to restart the process of understanding the topic area and generating arguments. This resource provides a structured approach for debate teams to effectively navigate the initial phases of topic preparation. This guide is designed to help debaters build a solid foundation of knowledge and perspective on new debate topics.

Impact Weighing Showdown

“Impact Weighing Showdown” is a structured debate activity designed to sharpen students’ skills in weighing the impacts of various arguments against each other. By focusing on key criteria such as magnitude, probability, scope, and timeframe, students will learn to evaluate and compare the potential outcomes of different arguments, a critical skill in advanced debate.

Advertising Fallacy Detective

“Advertising Fallacy Detective” is a critical analysis activity where students use their debate skills to identify and critique logical fallacies in television commercials. This exercise helps bridge the gap between the persuasive strategies used in marketing and those encountered in debate settings.

AI-Powered Debate

AI-Powered Debate is an innovative activity where students engage with artificially generated debate topics and arguments. Leveraging the capabilities of AI, students are exposed to a range of debate perspectives, allowing them to expand their horizons and challenge their argumentative prowess against machine intelligence.

Peer Coaching Starter Kit

Debate is a journey toward honing critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills. Peer coaching uniquely furthers these goals by aiding older students in developing leadership roles, and assisting younger students in learning the fundamental skills of debate.

Peer coaching creates a culture of collective growth, where experienced debaters guide and support their younger counterparts. Additionally, it frees time for coaches to manage, lead, and develop their teams holistically.

This week, we aim to share insights on effectively building a peer coaching system on your team, and aiding older debaters as they embrace this role.

Debate Relay

“Debate Relay” is a dynamic and interactive debate format designed to cultivate and refine students’ skills in quick thinking, impromptu speaking, and rapid rebuttal within a debate context.

Crystal Clear

This activity focuses on improving students’ enunciation and clarity in speech. This is crucial for debate, as clear communication ensures that the message is effectively transmitted to the judges and the audience, increasing the likelihood of successful persuasion.

Secret Agent

This activity, termed “Secret Agent,” centers around Kenneth Burke’s Dramatistic “Pentad,” which outlines the five motivations integral to any complete narrative: Act, Agent, Agency, Scene, and Purpose. Burke conceived this model on the premise that a compelling overarching narrative is pivotal, whether in extemporaneous or prepared speech or any debate round.

Debate Terminology Bingo

Debate Bingo is an interactive and engaging activity designed to familiarize students with the terminology and key concepts employed in debates. By listening actively to either debate clips shared by the instructor or using students to perform key terms, and then, marking relevant terms on their cards, students are not only introduced to the language of debate but also trained to listen attentively for specific arguments and techniques.

“Open to Debate” Topic Presentations

Leading and moderating a discussion are important skills for students to learn. One way to help students explore debate topics, gain skills in moderating discussions, and thinking critically about topics that impact the United States can come from “Open to Debate” (formally, Intelligence Squared US Debates).