Debating

Debating is a verbal contest between two opposing teams.

The topic of the debate is expressed as a hypothesis eg “Animal testing should be banned”.

  • The affirmative team must prove hypothesis.
  • The negative team must negate or disprove the hypothesis.

Order of speakers and roles:

First speaker, Affirmative
1.  Introduces the Affirmative team and outlines the aspects of the topic to be tackled by each speaker.
2.  Explains the affirmative’s definition of the topic.  Clarifying key words.
3.  Explains the team’s central argument.
4.  Begins the argument for the affirmative team.  Covers one main aspect of the topic.

Second speaker, Affirmative

  1.  Rebuts the points made by the first speaker, negative.
  2. Presents the major part of the arrifmative team’s argument, covering at least 2 aspects of the topic.
  3. Emphasises the team’s central argument.

Third speaker, Affirmative

  1.  Rebuts the arguments of the second (and where possible, the first) speaker, negative.
  2. Attacks the opposition’s central argument.
  3. Concludes the argument for the affirmative, covering at least one major aspect of the topic.
  4. Summarises the affirmative team’s argument, explaining how each speaker contributed to the case developed by the team.

First speaker, Negative

  1.  Introduces the negative team and outlines the aspects of the topic to be tackled by each speaker.
  2. Has a definition of the topic to suit the negative team.  Agrees or disagrees with the affirmative definition.
  3. Rebuts the arguments of the first speaker, affirmative.
  4. Explains the teams central argument.
  5. Begins the argument for the negative team.  Covers at least one major aspect of the topic.

Second speaker, Negative

  1.  Rebuts the points made by the second speaker, affirmative.
  2. Presents the major part of the negative team’s argument, covering at least 2 major aspects of the topic.
  3. Emphasises the team’s central argument.

Third speaker, Negative

  1.  Rebuts the arguments of the third speaker, affirmative.
  2. Attacks the opposition’s central argument.
  3. Summarises the negative team’s argument, explaining how each speaker contributed to the case developed by the team.  Pays particular attention to the team’s central argument.  May not introduce new material.

Team line and team split

Matter, method and manner

Debating resources from the NSW Schools Debating championships