Lesson one: Introducing Debate


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The Debate in the Neighbourhood mentor training programme provides all of the material that you need to begin exploring debate with teaching staff and youth workers in your institution or youth group.

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  • Facilitators tell the participants that before presenting the overview of the seminar they would like to give them an overview of the project and its main components. The overview will be brief since the main discussion of the direction in which the project will be going is reserved till the end of the seminar, after the participants get a better understanding of debate as an activity and opportunities for using it with young people.
  • Facilitators should mention that there will be 2 formal training components during the project: one is debate mentors- i.e. the persons who will be facilitating promotion and implementation of the debate program in schools and youth centers and the second training which will involve young people who may be mentors’ assistants in the process of program’s implementation in all specific locations (vocatioanl schools and youth centers).
  • At this point the facilitators may just mention that the project will involve formal and informal debate instruction: formal debate instruction will take place in classrooms while informal debate instruction will take place in youth centers as well as schools (as debate societies). Instruction will focus on skills development such as public speaking, critical thinking, argumentation as well as learning debate techniques. On the other hand debate events will provide opportunity for young people to interact with each other and put their skills to use in the setting of competitive as well as public debates. Facilitators should explain that these elements will be discussed more in-depth after the participants get a chance to learn about and practice debate themselves.
  • Here Facilitators should explain that the main goal of the 3-day seminar is to acquaint the participants with a model of educational debate, its main components and applications. Facilitators should also stress that debate mentors are one of the main elements of the program and that their input and feedback at the early stage of the project is invaluable and that apart from learning what debate is, this seminar will also be an opportunity to discuss ways in which mentors can be involved in the project. Facilitators should stress that by participating in the project, mentors are not passive recipients of ideas but a valuable resource generating these ideas.
  • When discussing methods, facilitators should emphasize that the training is intended to be very interactive- participants will learn what debate is and they will get a chance to practice it!
  • The first day of the training will focus on what makes debate and debate and what its main components are: Facilitators may say that they will talk about formats, topics, and the roles of speakers. Argumentation is the main tool used by debaters and one of the main goals of the project is to teach young people how to become better critical thinkers and how to argue more persuasively: defend their position and advocate more effectively.
  • Here facilitators should stress that debate is not only about making persuasive arguments but also successfully (and critically) responding arguments made by others. Assisting young people in becoming better speakers is another important goal of the project- and the seminar will focus on rhetoric – or the ars dicendi (the art of speaking) Preparing for debates- facilitators should emphasize that it is important for participants to experience debate as debaters and thus they will be divided into teams and given a debate topic to prepare for. In addition they will also be given tips on how to assist young people in preparing for debates
  • The last day of the training for debate mentors will focus on practice: debate mentors will be acquainted with strategies for judging debates as well as presenting their verdict to young people in a constructive and friendly manner. The following session – practice debates will give participants an opportunity to practice what they have learn by participating in debates (as well as judging) with some participants being debaters and some participants being judges. The last session of the day will focus on planning the development of the DIN project in Rotterdam. Facilitators should stress that while the framework for the project is in place, it is crucial for its success to involve debate mentors – in all the stages of the preparation. The facilitators should also emphasize that during that session, participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the program of the training for debate trainees and discuss the roles they will be comfortable to assume during that seminar.
  • Lesson one: Introducing Debate

    1. 1. Living Together Program ComponentsTraining Implementation
    2. 2. Debate in Neighborhood Program Components Training Debate Mentors Debate Trainees
    3. 3. Debate in Neighborhood Program Components Implementation Debate instruction Debate events
    4. 4. Debate in Neighborhood Training – Debate Mentors Goal:• Introduce debate and its main components• Discuss role of debate mentors and the program
    5. 5. Debate in Neighborhood Training – Debate Mentors Methods:• Overviews of the main concepts• Practice and exercises
    6. 6. Debate in Neighborhood Training – Debate Mentors Content:Day 1• Main components of debate• Introduction to argumentation
    7. 7. Debate in Neighborhood Training – Debate Mentors Content:Day 2• Responding to arguments• Public speaking• Preparing for debates
    8. 8. Debate in Neighborhood Training – Debate Mentors Content:Day 3• Judging debates• Practice debates• DIN project development