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3 – Rebuttals in Public Forum Debate

Introduction The second speech that each team delivers in a Public Forum debate is the Rebuttal, which is how the one side refutes the other side’s Constructive. For new debaters, this is often the most difficult speech, as they need to be able to come up with arguments to what they other side says. Constructive speeches are written out, and later speeches (Summary, Final Focus) use content from early speeches, leaving the Rebuttal as the speech where debaters need to create content “on the fly” against what the other side says. Preparing the Rebuttal There are two important tasks a debater must complete in order to deliver a strong Rebuttal. Prepare in advance. Even the most advanced debaters are not going to be able to think of all the answers they need on the fly; they are going to have to prepare a set of arguments against arguments they can predict the other side making in advance. How do they do this? There are a number of ways. They should start by writing briefs that include responses to arguments that they make in their own Constructive speeches. They should also write out answers to arguments they have brainstormed, that are available in evidence briefs that are sold, and against arguments they hear about at tournaments. If debaters have blocks/briefs prepared against all of those arguments (we will talk about how to do that in other essays) they will be able to use a minimal amount of preparation time responding to the arguments they are hearing for the first time in their debates. Flow. We will discuss flowing in another essay, but the basic idea of flowing is to take notes on the arguments your opponent is making in the debate. If you flow, you will have a good list of the other side’s arguments and you will be able to be sure you address them all. Organizing The Rebuttal The Rebuttal should be directed against the previous constructive. That sounds obvious, but I’ve seen debates where the second Rebuttalist directed at least the majority of their rebuttal against the first Rebuttalist. While it may be wise to spend some time answering some of the first Rebuttal if there is time at the end of the speech, and if responding to some of the Constructive arguments are likely to take more time than what is available in the Summary (the speeches that follow the Rebuttal), the Rebuttal should primarily be directed at the other side’s constructive speech. There are two different approaches to organizing the Rebuttal speech. The first approach is to simply go point by point through the arguments made in the Constructive speech (hopefully in order). This is certainly one way to be an effective Rebuttal speaker, but another more efficient way is to group the major arguments, usually by Contention or advantage/disadvantage. For example, if the Pro has two primary arguments in support of the claim that missile defense is in North Korea’s best interest, the Rebuttal speaker

2 — The Format of Public Forum Debate

퍼블릭포럼 디베이트의 형식 The format of a Public Forum debate is relatively simple. Two debaters compete against two debaters to determine the resolution. The topic the students will debate about is chosen in advance, either by the tournament by a regional or national debate association. In the United States, the Public Forum debate topics are chosen each month by the National Speech and Debate Association. Unlike other debate formats, the students are not assigned a specific side when the schedule for the debates is released. On the schedules, debaters as simply assigned a room, an opponent, and a judge. When all four debaters and the judges reach the room, two of the debaters from one of the teams will flip a coin and the other team will call which side they think the coin will land on. The winner of the coin toss can pick either the side of the resolution they wish to defend or if they will speak first or last. If the winner picks the side, the other teams gets to pick if they will speak first or last. If the winner picks first or last, the other team gets to pick the side of the resolution. After this process is complete, the judge will mark down on the ballot which side each team is on, which team will speak first, and which team will speak last. After this is noted, the debate will begin using this format. Speaker 1 – Constructive Speech (Pro or Con) – 4 minutes Speaker 2 – Constructive Speech (Pro or Con) – 4 minute Cross-fire. Cross-fire – 3 minutes Cross-fire is a questioning period during which each of the speakers can ask or answer questions of each other. This is different from the normal “cross examination” questioning period, where only one person from the other team asks questions and the person who just spoke needs to answer all of the questions. Speaker 3 – Rebuttal Speech (Pro or Con) – 4 minutes Speaker 4—Rebuttal Speech (Pro or Con) – 4 minutes Cross-fire. Cross-fire – 3 minutes Note, once the sides are selected, the debate does follow a pattern. So, if Speaker 1 is Pro, the Con will follow. Similarly, the Pro speaker will then deliver the first rebuttal speech, followed by the Con. Speaker 1 –- Summary – 2 minutes Speaker 2 – Summary – 2 minutes The Summary speeches are done by the fist two speakers in the debate. Grand cross-fire – 3 minutes During the grand cross-fire, all four of the debaters participate. In other words, they all ask and answer questions. Speaker 3 –- Final Focus– 2 minutes Speaker 4 – Final Focus – 2 minutes During the debate, each side has two minutes of total Preparation time that can be used in any way they choose. The preparation time is total, however, so if the first person on a team uses it all for Rebuttal, there will be no time left for the Summary and Final Focus

1- Introduction to Debate

Most simplistically, debate is an exchange of arguments. An argument consists of a claim being made by the arguer and a warrant – a reason that the argument is true. People can really argue about anything. For example, two people could argue over where they should eat, whether or not fast food causes obesity, or if humans are substantially responsible for changes in the Earth’s average temperature. Regardless of what they argue over, in any argument people are always advancing a claim, the argument, and a reason it is true, the warrant(s). Academic debate structures this arguing into a contest debate that is governed by rules, the requirement of evidence, the responsibility to respond directly to an opponent’s argument, and offers a neutral judge to resolve the arguments. It works by capturing the desire of people to argue and actively participate in their own learning and turning that into an educational experience where students learn to prepare and deliver arguments on both sides of a given resolution, also known as the debate topic. Competitive academic debate establishes the framework for this exciting process by structuring a debate around a topic, or resolution. This essentially turns learning into a game, an intellectual joust, if you will. In an academic debate, each side will advance a number of arguments that are related to a given topic and then will answer their opponent’s arguments throughout the debate. The goal of the constant argumentative sparring is to produce an answer to the question of whether or not one side’s advocacy should be supported. The Affirmative, or the Pro side in Public Forum Debate, will argue that the resolution should be supported. The Negative, or the Con, will argue against it. At the conclusion of the debate, a judge will decide which side has prevailed based on the arguments made in the debate. In the course of developing arguments in support of, or in opposition to, the resolution, debaters will engage in a number of steps – inquiry, invention, advocacy, and synthesis. Inquiry. Inquiry involves research. Debaters conduct research on the resolution under discussion in order to be prepared to present specific knowledge in support of what they are arguing for, and to refute the arguments that are being made by the other side. The process of preparing research begins with Questioning and Wondering. Debaters may begin by asking others what arguments they think support or oppose the resolution at hand. They may think to themselves what arguments can be made. After they have formed some initial thoughts, they will begin researching to learn more about the topic they are debating and to provide support for what others may have thought of. Invention. Invention involves creating arguments and will be necessary as students advance through their debate careers. During the process of inquiry, debaters will discover arguments that have been made by others, and will often take the arguments of their previous opponents and make many of those in their future debates. Invention, however, is the