- Ask the students to choose a topic of interest and collect information on that topic. Get them to work in small groups of 3 – 4.
- In class, discuss with the students WHERE and HOW they have obtained the information – from the library, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, journals? Ask them what difficulties they have encountered in the
process of doing so? Which ways do they find convenient and useful, e.g. is it more convenient to download information on the Internet? What are the limitations of getting information from the Internet? Does
library research enable the students to find more information that is not available on the Internet?
- Discuss with the students the different ways we have suggested to source materials. Encourage them to bring in their personal experience.
- Let the students choose a motion they are interested in and get them to do research on their chosen motions in small groups.
- Ask them to follow the guidelines of researching for a broad topic and researching for specific information. Get them to look up quotations and figures relating to their arguments.
- Encourage them to use the information they have collected to write their speeches.
1. Ask the students whether they have any debating experience before. If they have the experience, ask them what they usually do when they get the motion. Get them to jot down the main points
for class discussion.
2. Get the students to read some books on how to develop arguments. Ask them to consider questions like:
a. How to get ideas for your argument?
b. What are the different methods of arguments?
c. How to make your argument more convincing?
1. Give the students some words and terms, e.g. sportsmanship, professionalism, pollution, labor organization, etc. Ask them to define these words and terms.
2. Note the methods they use in defining the above words and terms. Do they look up the words in the encyclopedia and dictionary? If so, do they check them up in one dictionary, or more? (Of
course it is more reliable to look up more dictionaries.) Are their definitions thorough? (e.g. Do they include two meanings of professionalism? Do they mention different kinds of pollution?) Do they use examples to
define these terms? (e.g. How can sportsmanship, an abstract noun, be defined in attitudinal and behavioral terms?) Do they define some terms by referring to their common usage? (e.g. A labor organization is
commonly referred to as a union.)
3. Divide the students into small groups. Hand out a motion to the students, and ask them to generate ideas. Use brainstorming as a technique to generate ideas. (Please refer to our information
4. Now get each group to develop their arguments from the ideas they have collected, then report back their arguments for and against the motion.
5. Ask the students to reflect on how they have developed their ideas. Have they used any particular method(s)? If so, what are these methods?
6. Then go over our notes on “Methods of argument” with the students.
7. Having listened to the arguments of each group, students can now prepare their rebuttals. Get them to attempt rebutting the others’ arguments.
8. Ask the students to write some floor questions to challenge their opposing groups.
9. The teacher can now give feedback on whether the rebuttals are effectively made, and whether the floor questions are well asked.
10.Based on our notes, the teacher can discuss with students how to make effective rebuttals and ask good floor questions.
- Get the students to look up information on writing an argument, with particular attention to organization and effectiveness.
Get the class into small groups of 3 – 4 to discuss the following questions:
- What is the structure of a debate speech? Is its structure similar to other kinds of writing, e.g. an expository essay, an argument, a narrative?
- Are there any differences between writing an argument and a debate speech? If so, what are these differences?
- What features would you include in your speech to make it more convincing?
- How would you make your speech more persuasive, more emphatic and more powerful?
- Would you exploit some figures of speech, e.g. irony, parallel structures, to make your speech more powerful?
- How would you make your speech more humorous?
- Can you make a list of the figures of speech that can be used to make a debate speech more effective?
- Get the students to view famous speakers delivering speeches on television, e.g. American presidential candidates’ speeches, English parliamentary debates, Legislative Councilors’ presenting their arguments at
Legislative Council meetings in Hong Kong, etc.
- Get the students to jot down comments relating to the speaker’s voice, pace, rhythm, posture, gestures, style, etc.
Note: The teacher can ask down to watch specific video-tapes for class discussion later on (watching the same speakers facilitates class discussion as all students can refer to the same speakers.) Another alternative
is just watching any speakers on television, and later in class students can talk about some general points that debaters should note while delivering their speeches.
- Get a couple of students to deliver their debate speeches in class. Ask the class to comment. The focus is on delivery rather than content.
- Discuss the information we have on this website with the students. Help them note the important points and improve. A checklist on the different features to be noted would be useful.
- Each student should be given an opportunity to deliver his/her speech. Video-tape the delivery. Invite comments from the whole class.
- Get each student to watch his/her own video and evaluate his/her own performance.
- Get each student to deliver his/her speech again in his/her own time, and video-tape it.
- Compare the first and second delivery. The teacher can give comments.