Debate Tournament: Framework, Mechanics, Guidelines, etc.

This program aims to enhance the students’ intellectual abilities and social/communicative skills.
            Specifically, the program intends to accomplish the following goals:
1. Provide students with the opportunity to think critically, improve their communication abilities, solve problems creatively, and increase their self-confidence as debate affords training in rhetoric, persuasion, organized communication, and argument.
2. Engage students in writing (e.g. speeches), information analysis, and in-depth library and Internet research, thereby developing their academic research skills.
3. Enable students to express their views effectively and to respond cogently to arguments with which they disagree.
4. Encourage them to take part in a truly scholar examination of the issues facing the society, thereby molding them to become well read and well informed about current issues.
5. Encourage them to value truth and the process of seeking truth.
6. Teach them to accept responsibility to articulate a position using to the best of their ability the available evidence and the rules of reason, logic and relevance.
7. Train them to listen open-mindedly, recognizing always that new information may alter one’s position.
8. Teach them to welcome evaluation and accept, and even encourage, disagreement and criticism.
9. Teach them to refuse to reduce disagreement to personal attacks or attacks on groups or classes of individuals.
10. Teach students to value civility, even in disagreement.
Article III (Bill of Rights), Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines:
“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
CONTENT (The significance of the activity to the 8 Learning Areas):
As propositions in debate competitions can be varied, the different learning areas (LA) can be tackled or involved in this cocurricular activity.
Debate, for instance, directly concerns the Arts and Languages, as it cultivates one’s skills in public speaking and rhetoric. Understanding issues related to Society & Environment and Health & Physical Education can also take place in debates as controversial issues concerning these subjects are usually discussed in debate practices. Mathematics is also involved as statistics and survey results are often used as evidence in debates. Science and Technology are also learned as logical and scientific methods are used in looking for proofs and building cases and technological tools like computers and internet are utilized in gathering evidences.

The following are detailed guidelines in holding an intercollegiate debate tournament:
1. College Level
·         Debating teams representing each course will compete. Three (3) speakers will compose each team. In a college where there is just one course (e.g. College of Law, College of Nursing, etc.), teams could be formed per year level or section.
·         Awards will be given to the Best Team, Best Debater, and Best Speaker.
·         Best Debater, Best Speaker, and one debater from the Best Team (to be chosen by the College Trainer/Coach) will compose the College Team which will compete in the university level.
2. University Level
·         Through draw lots, college teams will be grouped into two groups (Group A & B).
·         Matches within each group will be determined also through draw lots.
·         Knock-out system will be used.
·         The undefeated team from both groups will compete against each other in the Championship.
3. Championship
·         Awards will be given to the Best Speaker, Best Debater, and the Champion Team.
  1. Each debating team is composed of three speakers and shall select a team captain.
  2. The team captains shall represent their respective team in draw lots, determining which side of the proposition they shall represent, etc.
  3. The Modified Oxford-Oregon Type of Debate (5-3-5) will be used.
  4. The teams shall be given time to discuss their presentation and argumentation. Pre-debate conferences administered by organizers shall be done at least a day before the competition.
  5. The speakers will alternately present their arguments with the first speaker of the affirmative side speaking first, and somebody from the affirmative side (Rebuttal Speaker) also speaking last.
  6. The first speakers should tackle about the practicability aspect of the proposition, the second speakers, the necessity, and the third speakers, the beneficiality.
  7. Rebuttal speeches are for case re-building and final words. Though counter-arguments are permitted in rebuttal, no new evidence or proof is allowed.
  8. Delivery time for each speaker shall be:
Constructive Speech                           5 minutes/speaker
Interpolation                                          3 minutes/speaker
Rebuttal*                                                  5 minutes/speaker
*Anybody from the team could do the Rebuttal
         Validity and Preponderance of Arguments                                 50%
         Ability to Interpolate, be Interpolated and Rebut                    20%
         Stage Performance (attire, diction, emphasis, courtesy)         15%
         Team Work                                                                                         15%
1ST speaker affirmative side        constructive speech                 5 minutes
1st  speaker negative side               interpolation                              3 minutes
 1st  speaker negative side             constructive speech                 5 minutes
1st  speaker affirmative side         interpolation                              3 minutes
2nd speaker affirmative side       constructive speech                 5 minutes
2nd speaker negative side            interpolation                              3 minutes
2nd speaker negative side            constructive speech                 5 minutes
2nd speaker affirmative side        interpolation                              3 minutes
3rd speaker affirmative side       constructive speech                 5 minutes
3rd speaker negative side            interpolation                              3 minutes
3rd speaker negative side             constructive speech                 5 minutes
3rd speaker affirmative side        interpolation                              3 minutes
5-minute break
speaker negative side                      rebuttal                                    5 minutes
speaker affirmative side                 rebuttal                                    5 minutes
One (1) Trophy each for the Champion Team, Best Debater, and Best Speaker
Gift items/tokens/certificates for the non-winning teams
School officials, department heads concerned, and faculty members shall determine the effectiveness and usefulness of the activity. The participants and the students who witnessed the tournament could also be asked for feedbacks and comments, perhaps through reaction papers (which answer guide questions) to find out if the activity has attained its goals, one of which is widening the students’ understanding and perspective as regards controversial and relevant issues. Organizers could also list down suggestions from students and teachers to make the competition better and more significant the next time it will be held.
Institutions outside school and various sectors whose advocacy concerns the topic in the debate proposition may be involved by formally inviting them to witness at least the championship debate match. The barangay captain and/or the mayor in the area where the school is located may be invited to be one of the judges.  Leaders of the community and other government institutions would normally want to be involved in cocurricular activities.
*Prepared and contributed by Prof. Jensen DG. Mañebog
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