Debate Style

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  • Topic: Debate, World Universities Debating Championship, World Schools Debating Championships
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Styles of Debate

RULES OF THE WALES SCHOOLS DEBATING CHAMPIONSHIPS / SCHOOLS MACE

Format

The format for debate is 2 speakers per team, a chairperson and timekeeper. The chairperson and timekeeper should be seated between the two teams. Speakers should be provided with a table and chairs, but must stand when delivering their speeches or Points of Information. A lectern is optional, but no public address system should be used.

Timing

Each speaker is allowed 7 minutes for his or her main speech. A further 4 minutes will be allowed in which either team member will sum up. The timekeeper will signal after one minute has elapsed and one minute before the end of the main speeches. Between these signals, Points of Information can be offered. The first summation shall be taken by the opposition.

A double signal after 7 minutes shall indicate the end of a speech. A 30 second grace period is then allowed to each speaker in which to conclude their presentation. At the end of the grace period, a triple signal will indicate that the speaker must stop speaking immediately.

Points of Information

Points of Information arise when a member of the opposing team wishes to give or request information relevant to something the speaker on the floor has said. Such points must be made between the first and last minute of the main speeches. No Points of Information can be offered during the summations.

Eligibility

Each Welsh school or college may send only one team as its representative, unless invited by the organisers to send an additional team so as to ensure an even number of teams in the competition.

a. A member of a school’s or college’s team must be:

i A full-time student at that school or college
ii Not older than 19 years of age on 1st February following the debate

b. A team may have up to 3 members - 2 speakers plus a reserve, although the speakers may not be interchanged between rounds without agreement from the organisers.

FORMAT OF DEBATES

Chairperson's Introduction

First Proposition Speaker

First Opposition Speaker

Second Proposition Speaker

Second Opposition Speaker

Opposition Summation

Proposition Summation

Adjudicators Retire

Floor Debate, open to all members of the floor

Vote Taken

Adjudicators return and (at end of proceedings) communicate decision

British Parliamentary Style

Format

The most common format in Britain is known as Parliamentary Style debate, and this involves four teams of two speakers all taking part in one debate, with two teams on each side. In order to win the debate you must agree with the other team on your side, but argue that side a little better than they do. This is the style of debate used in the Cambridge and Oxford competitions for schools and everywhere at university level.

Four speakers sit down each side of a table, facing each other, with the chairman at the end - a bit like the front benches in the House of Commons.

Timing

Speeches are usually five minutes long, with the first and last minutes protected from points of information. There are no summary speeches.

4. Points of Information

Points of information can be made to any speaker by any of your opposing speakers.

FORMAT OF DEBATES

The order of speeches is:

1st Proposition Team 1st speaker
1st Opposition Team 1st speaker
1st Proposition Team 2nd speaker
1st Opposition Team 2nd speaker
2nd Proposition Team 1st speaker
2nd Opposition Team 1st speaker
2nd Proposition Team 2nd speaker
2nd Opposition Team 2nd speaker.

Worlds Schools

Format

Another format is the Worlds Schools style, which is used at World Schools Debating Championships. This is exactly like the Wales School or Schools Mace style but with one extra speaker, allowing the argument to be developed a little more.

Timing

Main speeches are 8 minutes long and the summary speeches, which can...
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