Speak up for your rights at school!
Are you always the one who silences your friends during an argument by proving a good point? The one who speaks up in class? Do you always win a game of Trivial Pursuit? If so, you should think about organizing (and participating in, of course) a classroom or school wide debate. This is a great way to spread awareness on a specific cause you care about. Just make sure you get all the quiet kids to participate, too.
Who's in charge?
Talk to teachers and try to find one who will allow their class period to be used for a debate on a certain relevant topic (i.e.: If you're covering environment in science, ask to have a debate on the benefits and consequences of renewable energy).
The big picture
You might want to talk to your principal and get your whole school or grade to participate in a school wide debate. Not only is there more focus on the issue this way, but there’s also more opportunity to get more opinions on each issue. People are inevitably going to be passionate about lots of different topics relevant to your cause, so by expanding the scope of your debate to include everyone (isn't that the idea anyway!?!) you’ll be really working toward creating awareness of the issue.
In this case, each class could pick two representatives to debate during a competition assembly. All other classmates would be in charge of doing the research and preparation.
If you do this, you could pick a general topic and have debates focused on certain aspects of that topic. Have students pick topics. For example, with environment, you can cover everything from climate change to recycling to renewable energy to energy conservation to water conservation. Get the picture?
Choose topics that you're interested in, but not anything that will be too controversial. You don't want to offend; you want to inform. Go to your teachers, friends, and family with these topics. Ask them to think about which ones would make for fun, passion-driven debates.
The Debate Deal
The most standard type of debate practiced in high schools is called a Team Policy Debate. In this type of debate, two people team together on each opposing side of the topic—one team is the Affirmative team, the other is the Negative Team.
- A round of team policy debate consists of eight speeches. The first four speeches (eight min each) are called constructive speeches, because the teams are laying out their most important arguments at this time.
- The last four speeches (four min each) are called rebuttals, because the teams are expected to extend arguments that have already been made, rather than make new arguments.
- Team policy debate is focused on the ability of each team to organize and gather evidence. Persuasiveness is not considered too important. The best teams have huge file boxes packed with evidence on their own case and all the possible cases they might have to oppose.
For much more info and great resources on debating go to: