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Formal Debate Guidelines

Formal Debate Guidelines

Note: This is a formal debate. Teachers may choose to use a more informal format where the assigned two teams do not adhere to stringent time frames and just take turns expressing views for their side.

Objective of Assignment:

Students will engage in a debate focused on two opposing views. Engaging in this structured event requires each student to critically evaluate current evidence, examine personal convictions based on values and beliefs, and synthesize relevant information to provide detailed information so that others may make an informed decision.

Format:

  1. Two teams will be assigned. One team will create an affirmative presentation while the other team will be responsible for creating a negative or opposing presentation. Involvement by each student is required.
  2. Debate guidelines:
    1. Affirmative Plan: 4 minutes. This is their introduction. What will they be discussing and why? They need to get everyone’s attention.
    2. Negative Rebuttal: 2 minutes. This is a direct rebuttal to the Affirmative Plan. This team addresses only those issues identified in the Affirmative Team’s introduction.
    3. Negative Plan: 4 minutes. This is their introduction. They need to get everyone’s attention. What they will be discussing and why?
    4. Affirmative Rebuttal: 2 minutes. Direct rebuttal to the negative plan. This team addresses only those issues identified in the Negative Team’s introduction.
    5. 10-minute break for preparation/adjustment to argument.
    6. Negative Argument: 10 minutes. This is the body of the speech. Tell students to present all the information they have gathered. Have them use facts, stats, and sources to argue their side. The Affirmative Team cannot interrupt during this argument.
    7. Affirmative Cross Examination: 8 minutes. Have students ask the tough questions, demand answers, and do anything and everything they can to counter the argument of the negative. The Negative Team does not ask questions. Their role is to provide answers only.
    8. Affirmative Arguments: 10 minutes. This is the body of the speech. Again, have students lay it all out—facts, stats, sources, have them argue their side. The Negative Team cannot interrupt during this argument.
    9. Negative Cross Examination: 8 minutes. Have students ask the tough questions, demand answers, and do anything and everything they can to counter the argument of the negative. The Affirmative Team does not ask questions. Their role is to provide answers only.
    10. 10-minute break to prepare for closing.
    11. Affirmative Closing: 5 minutes. Tell students to use emotion for a big ending. They’ve seen the “TV lawyers” present their closings…do it here!
    12. Negative Closing: 5 minutes…same thing…here’s their chance!