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How to debate? - April 30th 2009, 03:34 AM

In my AP English class, we are doing debates in pairs. Me and my partner chose to do standardized testing, and it is decided that I will be debating against standardized testing. Thing is, I really hate talking in front of class, because I'm shy, like, really quiet, loner, boring, and shy. If you tell me "Just be yourself," that is who I will truly be. I have no idea how to prepare for debates; I've never debated before. I'm researching the topic and there's just too much information to sort through; we also have to incorporate persuasive appeals and whatnot. We are assigned to debate on Friday.

Our debate has to be 6-8 min. long, with an opening statement. Then we have to pose questions to each other, so I'm stressed on how to create meaningful, professional questions and be able to rebut to questions in 30-60 seconds. The effect of our argument is diminished if we are cut off before we finish.

I'm just really bad at speaking, and I need some advice on how to pull through this. Also, I'd like to hear what is YOUR opinion on standardized testing? Should we utilize this method to measure our nation's intelligence or should we ban it for good?
   
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Re: How to debate? - April 30th 2009, 01:13 PM

I assume it's not the government style of debating, where there's organization as to who speaks when, for how long, etc... .

When you go to debate, be confident. You are the one who knows the information, alongside your partner, the class doesn't. If you present your debate and give good refutes, then you can win for your side, making you feel good. Use this as a motivator.

If you check out the religion and debates area, you'll find some good debates with good posts. I'm interest in philosophy and debating (although I'm going into 3rd year university in hopes of neuroscience or forensic psychology), one key thing about debating is objectivity. If you keep on saying "I/we believe", "I/we think", etc..., it's subjective and can make it harder to use objective evidence for something subjective. Granted, you probably will and should give your opinion, however, try to use less of the first person tense and more third person. In doing so, it will come off as more professional usually.

To refute questions, you have to know your topic quite well. Try to look for possible refutes one can give to you and practice refuting those, or have a friend or parent give some for you. They may not be the ones that happen in class, however, it's likely some will be the same or similar, and so, you can be prepared with a quick, good refute. Going in without practicing is analogous to going into a big dangerous swamp with tons of weapons but having no clue which one to use when the big beasts begin attacking, and you're left testing out which one will work. Having practiced means you know what works and can beat them easier.

The problem with using standardized testing is that we have to first define intelligence. Gardener proposed multiple intelligences, as did Thurstone, so are we to test all the proposed intelligences or only favour a select few? If we are to favour a select few, then it's almost discrimination against those who may be savants in the unselected intelligences or very good in those unselected ones.

Basic I.Q. tests are riddled with flaws, although they are useful for diagnosing certain disorders. Thus, banning it takes away a valuable diagnostic tool, which is getting us nowhere. If a person seems to fit a syndrome but one of the criterias is low intelligence, then how do we measure low intelligence if intelligence tests are banned?

In using them for the nation's intelligence, I'd be more inclined to know the purpose of this. Say someone takes the test and gets a low score. Does that mean that they are retarded? That they'll be less successful? No and no. So, what is the purpose of measuring the nation's intelligence? The same goes for banning it, why ban it? What reasons do you have for banning/not banning it? It does little harm currently, it's useful for diagnosing, so why ban it? I'll admit, it does have its own nice amount of issues or problems but should we ban it for that? If so, then ban many other tests in diagnosing and whatnot.

Those are some questions you may face.
   
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Re: How to debate? - April 30th 2009, 03:44 PM

I'm going to assume you're having a standard structured debate (mace-style).

I would say just discuss the topic in a structured way (discuss one point, then the next, then the next). Don't stutter. Try to keep it quick - don't take up a minute giving your opening!

Don't take questions until you're finished the sentence. Questions (Points Of Information over here) are basically when you say "hey, what they're saying is wrong" and quickly explain why. To counter POIs just say why you think that what they are saying is wrong. If you're stumbling just rephrase your last point. If you're still stumbling then just ignore it and carry on.

Try to cut down on the "facts" and definitely don't give statistics! Debating is about saying why something should happen, not what is happening currently. Keep it abstract, why it will be great if your proposal gets implemented. Look at different sides of the argument (for example effect on students, efficiency and cost).

Most of all remember that you'll more likely say too much than not enough (believe it or not ). If you ever find yourself with too much time then think aloud basically to fill up time.
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Re: How to debate? - April 30th 2009, 04:15 PM

We do follow a format:
Both sides begin with opening statements of 1-2 minutes. Then the affirmative side poses the first question, in 30 sec. The negative side gets a one minute response, and the affirmative makes a 30 second rebuttal. The affirmative poses the second question, and follows the same format.
The negative side asks two questions as well and follow the format described above.
Then we are asked 3 alternating questions by the class, and each question gets a 30 second response.
Not sure what this kinda format is called, but our teacher will time us and cut us off if we go past it.
   
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Re: How to debate? - April 30th 2009, 05:36 PM

...weird. I'd concentrate then on what the other side will say, and how to counter them.
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Re: How to debate? - April 30th 2009, 06:52 PM

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Originally Posted by Food View Post
Also, I'd like to hear what is YOUR opinion on standardized testing? Should we utilize this method to measure our nation's intelligence or should we ban it for good?
It definitely has itís pros and cons. Some cons (since that is what you are debating) would be that mentally handicap students and those who have English as their second langue have to take the test in some states. Which honestly I do not think is fair, I would not think it was fair if I had to take a test in a foreign language, I know I would fail it. There is also the fact that as students get older, they care less and less about the tests, so either they donít bother taking them, or they just mark whatever so that they can leave. I can say for certain that I just marked bubbles in the past, because they take all day, and honestly, that is really boring. So how are they supposed to collective valid information if the students arenít even trying? My younger sister who is in high school just told me that California is now placing Standardized Test Scores on college applications. They are trying to stop students from just bubbling any answer, and actually try their best. I am just glad I am no longer in school.




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Re: How to debate? - May 1st 2009, 01:24 AM

This is terrible, I have gathered nearly 6 pages of research, and there's so many other sources that I haven't read up yet. How will I be able to sort through all this information and pick out the most effective arguments?
   
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Re: How to debate? - May 1st 2009, 04:24 AM

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This is terrible, I have gathered nearly 6 pages of research, and there's so many other sources that I haven't read up yet. How will I be able to sort through all this information and pick out the most effective arguments?
I'm not sure what your sources are but read the summary or what the topics they plan to cover are. It's like reading a scientific paper, you read the abstract (summary) and if it's uninteresting, you put it away, you don't read the entire thing. Perhaps skim is quickly just to make sure.

However, I probably am little help as I'm more or less a speed-reader with very good memory.

But, from what I can tell, the debate structure seems to emphasize on giving your statements very summarized. It helps ensure you don't pack several items into one statement. So, try to find information on various views in your research supporting your cause. For example, if you are against standardized testing, you don't give one simple reason, you give multiple reasons. So, don't focus exclusively on one, focus on a diverse range.
   
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Re: How to debate? - May 1st 2009, 09:18 PM

Thanks for the advices and viewpoints. I think I did terrible, the debate did not go as I expected, because me and my partner were unprepared, did not rehearse, and we both gave each other questions that were hard to express and back up on. We both thought we sucked at expressing ourselves, like, the thought was there, but we didn't, know how to put them perfectly in sentences. I had an opening statement planned out, but when I refute my arguments, I start loud and gradually I get quieter because I did not what and how to respond to my partner's arguments. I completely had to improvise a closing statement and it wasn't very convincing.
Then our teacher asked us to vote who was better at persuading our point. I got the majority of votes but I feel like people just, pitied me, voted for me because they all know I'm usually quiet, or just being nice to me.
   
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Re: How to debate? - May 4th 2009, 05:58 AM

I know I shouldn't say this, but I couldn't help myself.
When I saw this thread I lol'd because of this one comedian Ron White.

"I got kicked off my High School debate team, for saying Yea, well %$#% YOU!"

"I thought I had won.. the other kid was speechless. Heheh I thought that was what we were supposed to do."

I do wish you all the luck though. Just don't lose your cool and pull a Ron White.



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