What are some basic things about debating?"What are some basic things about debating? I am really interested in debate but I lose in school competitions! ...:( plz help me out....

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

In debate, you rely mainly on the appeal of reason and facts. Some debaters approach the presentation of reason and fact through emotional deliver but this is different from trying to argue your point with emotionalism: what you don't want to do is rely on the appeal of emotional persuasion.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are different kinds of debate, but no matter what type you're using you have to remember to not only support your own arguments but refute the other side's as well. This is called clash. If you don't address the other side's arguments, you will lose.
scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It depends on which type of debate category you choose. Are you involved in Lincoln-Douglass debate or public forum? If you want to practice Lincoln-Douglass debate, you need to be very familiar with the formalities of the category. Public forum--where you work with a partner--has fewer formalities. I would suggest visiting the National Forensic League's website for debate rules and topics.

One tip to keep in mind in any type of debate is your tone (your attitude). You need to appear confident and knowledgeable without coming across as belligerent and arrogant. The most effective way to defeat your opponent is to point out the flaws in his or her argument, not in him or her personally.

Finally, read, read, read! Stay up to date on current events but also read whatever is assigned you in your classes, whether it's history, literature, science, etc., you can always pull examples from a wide variety of subjects.

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

As post 2 suggested, many students forget to look at the argument from both sides. For each topic, you will want to make a list of possible arguments and possible rebuttals. It's important to have an idea what the other side might say. It's also important to have an idea how they will rebut your ideas. Then, you can counter their arguments before they make them. You can attempt to word your argument so that you leave little room for the other side's rebuttal. You want to acknowledge the other view point while showing it to be wrong. The best debaters leave little room for their opponents to make their point.
pacorz's profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

If you are not familiar with the formal rules of debate, here is a link that will be worth reading through.  In preparing for a debate, you should be sure that you look at the topic from both sides; a common mistake that students make is only considering their own side of the topic, but if you are familiar with both sides you will be much better prepared with rebuttals.Also keep in mind that citing facts and statistics can enforce your position, but always double check them in advance and be prepared to give your sources.

Aside from being thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the topic you are going to debate, there are a couple of things that can help tip the scales in your favor. Either practice in front of a mirror, or take a video of yourself doing a presentation, and then really look at yourself.  Pay attention to your body language, whether or not you make good eye contact, whether you make nervous gestures or use verbal fillers like "ummm" a lot. You want your body language to reinforce your words, not distract from them.

 

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