Have you ever watched a debate competition? Have you ever participated in a debate game? Have you ever wanted to create a debate section for your class?

English Trainer Team from Specialist Department is willing to share you some important rules to organize an exciting and professional debate for your own. Once you have tried, please let us know your experiences in the comment below.

General information:

Obtaining the format inspired by debate competitions in England and other English speaking countries, a debate has two main roles: attendee and host with three sections: Brainstorm, Discuss and Debate.

In the Brainstorm section, there is no team and in the Discuss and Debate sections, there are two teams: The House and The Opposition:

The House agrees with the statement.

The Opposition opposes the statement.

First section – Brainstorm:

There will be a statement shown to all attendees. The statement is neither true nor false. For example: Killing people could be justified.

The host will:

  • 1st: explain a bit the statement to attendees if the subject is unfamiliar.
  • 2nd: invite each attendee to give opinions on the statement.

For example: 

  • An attendee’s opinion: I think killing could be justified because when there’s a terrorist trying to kill innocent people, it is better to kill the terrorist than to watch him kill others.   
  • What the host writes on the whiteboard in the The House column: Heroism.
  • 3rd: continue to the second step until attendees run out of ideas.

Second section – Discuss:

Attendees are divided into 2 teams: The House and The Opposition with equal numbers of members on each team.

There are three roles in the Discuss and Debate sections:

  1. Introduction ( one person), his job in the Debate section is:
  • 1st: List ideas of his team.
  • 2nd: Explain one idea. 

2. Elaboration (more than one person), their job in the Debate section is:

  • 1st: Disagree with ideas of previous speakers.
  • 2nd: Explain one idea.

3. Conclusion (one person), his job in the Debate section is:

  • 1st: Disagree with ideas of previous speakers.
  • 2nd: Conclude ideas of his team.

Attendees will:

  • 1st: Sit with their team members.
  • 2nd: Choose the role (Intro, Elab or Conclude) they want to play.
  • 3rd: Based on the ideas in the Brainstorm section, choose the best ideas on the board, write them down on papers and take notes.

Note: Each attendee must have ideas that are different from those of other people in his team. Usually, each attendee will choose only one idea to develop.

  • 4th: Develop the idea(s) they chose into a 2-minute speech.

Note: Developing ideas is a task for each individual. Each attendee has to develop the ideas he chose with help from his teammates.

The Host will:

  • 1st: Go to each team to help attendees choose the best ideas.
  • 2nd: Weigh in his ideas to support them to develop their ideas. 

Third section – Debate:

Attendees will deliver a 2-minute speech individually and in a fixed order based on their notes from the Discuss section and use “Rebuttal” to pose questions (optional).

The fixed order of delivering their speeches:

  • Introduction from team 1.
  • Introduction from team 2.
  • 1st Elaboration from team 1.
  • 1st Elaboration from team 2.
  • 2nd Elaboration from team 1.
  • 2nd Elaboration from team 2.
  • … 
  • Conclusion from team 1.
  • Conclusion from team 2.

“Rebuttal” rule: During a person’s speech, any members of the opponent team can ask a question by raising their hands.

  • If the person who is delivering his speech says “Yes, please go ahead”, the person who raises his hand poses a question. The person who is delivering his speech must answer the question immediately. 
  • If the person who is delivering his speech says “No, please”, the person who raises his hand puts his hand down and keeps silent. The person who is delivering his speech will continue his speech. 
  • Good questions and good answers will leave a great impression in judges’ eyes.