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How to Prepare for a Team Classroom Debate



1) Be familiar with the Rules of the Debate

A classroom debate is a formal contest. A formal contest implies that there will be clearly defined rules, protocols, and guidelines for all involved i.e. debaters, adjudicators, timekeepers etc. The rules of a classroom debate is heavily influenced by the type of debate format being used. Examples of popular debate formats for competitive debates include: Parliamentary Debate, Karl Popper Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate. For a chosen classroom debate format, it is important to pay attention to the speaking roles and its description. Another important element of the debate is the criteria of assessment/rubric. Ensure that your team incorporate all the elements that was built out in the rubric (Content, Structure, and Style).


2) Be Clear About Your Resolution/Topic/Motion & Position

  • Know your position. In a debate teams are assigned a position relative to a particular motion. For instance, one team is FOR the motion and the other team is AGAINST the motion.
  • Underline key terms of the motion, define the motion or reject the motion from your position and propose an alternative definition.
  • Develop a thesis statement on the motion that incorporates distinct main points in support or rejection of the motion/topic/resolution.


3) Be An Organised Team

  • Appoint a group team lead/chairman to conduct group meetings.
  • Develop a debate schedule to track the achievement of key milestones. These milestones include conclusion of initial research, submission of arguments supported by evidence, team delivery practice sessions.


4) Schedule Debate Presentation Rehearsals

  • Team debates require extensive practice on the delivery aspect of your presentation.
  • Timing of speeches is important. Try to adhere to the debate format guidelines on timeframe for particular speaking roles.
  • Schedule at least two group practice sessions focused exclusively on delivery.





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