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Oct 20

Page history last edited by Jared 12 years, 8 months ago

First Thunderdome

In War and Battle, We Must Proceed Like This... (Socrates)


This is a two round debate:

1. The class will be divided into three categories: two debating "teams" and a panel of judges.


2. A coin toss will decide which of the two debating teams gets to decide which perspective (pro/con) to argue.


2. The two teams will then be given 20 minutes to prepare for THE FIRST ROUND: the pitch of their opening statements (see below for some components).


3. Five minute arguments will be made by a representative (or several representatives) of each group


4. After ten more minutes of prep time, a SECOND ROUND WILL BEGIN a rebuttal of the opposing team's initial argument, and crossfire round refereed by the judges, the latter must include several new spokespersons for each team (max 5 minutes)


5. Afterwards, the panel of judges will convene privately to decide which team won the debate and pick MVPs for each team. Members of the winning team receive a bonus point. MVPs receive an additional "special" prize!


Tips for Building your Arguments:  

The First Round:


Primary goal of opening statements: is to include a strong definition of marriage that supports your team's position on (same-sex/gay) marriage.  


  • USE "Steps to Writing a Definition Argument" in Good Reasons (pg 134 -5) to help you create a definition of marriage with clear criteria.
  • Similar to our pleading for a skeletal structure in projects 1 and 2, we will need to work through (and know up-front) some key criteria for structuring your definition of marriage.  X is (or is not) a ___________ because it has (does not have) features A, B, C, and so on.  Again, use Good Reasons (pg 134 -5)
  • SAMPLE criteria:  (Gay) Marriage is................ a (religious union) (legal right) (sacred institution) (issue of equality) (tradition) (moral dilemma) (ethical question) (national issue) (state issue) (burden on the government) (danger to X) (protection for children) (slippery slope) (perversion) (social or cultural benefit) (natural/unnatural) 



Your secondary goal in opening statements: will be accommodating your audience,and establishing some common ground.  Successful teams might begin by addressing the following questions that might establish common ground, before using a template from pg 55 of They Say/I Say, that helps them turn towards their particular disagreements with their opposition.

  • What does this audience know about the term and the surrounding issues? (Like project two, you may need to "summarize" or set the scene.  You may also need to convince your audience that the term/word under consideration is always/already rhetorically constructed or supported by other people's goals in writing, their perspectives, their logos/ethos/pathos, the time or opportunity for creating this definition (kairos), etc.
  • How does the audience you will address currently feel about the issue? 
  • What interests or desires do you have in common with your audience?
  • What rhetorical strategies will work to convince this audience (or cause them come to some understanding and acceptance) of your definition?


Other tools that strengthen arguments: (note, you may wish to save some of these for your rebuttal):

  • Ethos Bring in experts, stats, research studies, evidence, etc. to build your team's 
  • Pathos 
  • kairos (leverage timely evidence, circumstances etc)
  • commonplace: Any statement or bit of knowledge that is commonly shared among a given audience or a community.  
  • categoriaDirect exposure of an adversary's faults.
  • deductionA method of reasoning/logos in which a conclusion follows necessarily from the stated premises
  • effectio: (a relative of flattery) a flattering 'head-to-to' description of the values in their argument, or a personal description: a head-to-toe inventory of a person's physical attributes or charms.

Your opening round will be presented to the class, and will be evaluated by a panel of judges in charge of granting you 15 points based on the following criteria...


The panel of judges will develop a point system weighing opening statements based on:

  • the selection of criteria stated in your definition,
  • the strength of the reasons given to support your criteria
  • your consideration of the "opponent's" perspective on marriage 
  • the ethos you bring to the support your definition
  • the way you accommodate your audience 
  • the use of emotional appeals that help (or hinder) your argument 
  • other evaluative criteria decided upon by the judges (delivery, team participation, etc)


Panel of judges: how will you weigh their opening statements?  Your first objective is to come up with a rubric and point system for the opening statements.  Your prep for the second round is top secret.



Rebuttal and  CROSS-FIRE ROUND

After opening statements there will be ten minutes of prep before a rebuttal and cross-fire round where you will be able to directly interrogate your opposition and defend your stance.  The judges will referee this session.... with a: TWIST!!


The Judges have been armed with gavels and studying A LIST OF COMMON FALLACIES IN ARGUMENTS. 


They will be able to interrupt any point in the cross-fire round if any fallacies are given as part of the argument, and given the power to deduct points or add points based on such common fallacies


The panel of judges will convene privately to decide which team won the debate. The winners will receive a "special" prize!

Due next Class:

Response Seven



Better Know a Lobby pt 1

Better Know a Lobby pt 2


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