Debate Instructions

DEBATES: The point of these debates is to get you to practice your critical thinking skills, research skills, speaking skills, witing skills, and you ability to civilly yet assertively discuss different perspectives on controversial issues.There will be at least 10 debates based on the Taking Sides issues.  Each debate will involve 2 teams of 4-5 students. Thus, each student will participate in at least 2 debates. Although we our debates will start with the articles presented in Taking Sides, the primary goal is for each team to gather additional quality sources in support for their positions. Teams should prepare their presentations well in advance. These must involve:

Teams should work together ahead of time to divide up research tasks, to organize and coordinate (and avoid duplication in) their presentations, to practice the timing of their presentations, and to brainstorm how what pointed questions they might ask or evidence they might present to counter their opponents' claims. In addition, each team should work together on  an outline of your team's presentation (double-spaced so I can write comments) on debate day. It will contain the following: Each debate will involve the following procedure: Each audience member (non-participant in a particular debate) must read the relevant articles in the Taking Sides book prior to the debate in order to (a) submit their question card at the beginning of class, 2) have the necessary background to appreciate your classmate's presentations 3) participate in a discussion at the end of each debate and (b) answer test questions about those readings come exam time (e.g. what a 2 arguments against....., what kind of evidence is used to support the claim of....)

Each student presenting in a debate can earn up to 30 points. Evaluation of your team will be based on:

Although each team member will only be presenting a portion of the debate, each will write an original position paper incorporating all the arguments/evidence from their original Taking Sides Yes or No article, and the arguments/evidence from the particular outside sources which he/she uncovered. Position papers are worth up 50 pts.

Questions to Keep In Mind during the Debates

           While you are watching others’ debates, you might want to answer the following questions:
            1. In your own words, what is the issue being debated?
            2. What is the "yes" position? What are three pieces of evidence to support it?
                 Is the evidence credible (i.e., is it a fact or an opinion)?
            3. What is the "no" position? What are three pieces of evidence to support it?
                 Is the evidence credible (i.e., is it a fact or an opinion)?
            4. What are the three main areas of disagreement between the two sides?
            5. What is your position? Why?