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Charles Fedor

president@wadl.org

0437 496 648

 

Jolie Hewitt

secretary@wadl.org

‚Äč

CONTACT

SPEAKER ROLES

Debating is a team 'sport' (no, really, it is) with different roles for each member of a team to fulfil. This guide will let you know what you need to do, and how long you should spend doing it. To find out how much you should announce that you've moved between sections, see Signposting.


1ST AFFIRMATIVE

Introduction

The first 15 - 30 seconds should be used to introduce the debate. This should include your team's characterisation — the 
perspective you have on the topic — and the context of the debate. This can include claims about the most important parts of the
debate and descriptions of current events on which the topic is based.

 

This should not include your name, speaker position, or a recitation of the topic. Since we've just heard this information from the
Chairperson, you should move straight to building your case.


Definition

The 1st Affirmative is the only speaker who must provide a definition. While this may be included as part of a model, if required, it is often the practice in WADL for speakers to be explicit by stating that they are offering a definition. This should be confined to 15 seconds, unless you believe a debate to be particularly complex to define.

 

Check Case Construction for advice on how to define debates and Challenging Definitions for advice on what to avoid.


Model/Test

Normative debates (generally ones with 'should' in the topic that describe a proposed change in policy) will often require a model.

 

For more on constructing a model, see Models.

 

Empirical debates (generally ones without 'should' in the topic that ask for a comparison of how things are) will often require a

test.

 

For more on constructing a test, see Tests.

 

In either case, 30 second should be sufficient to set up a model or test. This will not always be true, particularly in debates covering nuanced policy solutions.


Team Split

A brief description of your team's arguments, and which speaker will be making them. You should not include a mention of your 
third speaker. They're important, but everyone knows that they're going to rebut the opposition and summarise your case — so 
you don't need to spend precious time telling us that.

 

You should decide on labels for points that your entire team will use, and announce them in your split. This will help you be 
memorable, and make the adjudicator understand immediately when you or your second speaker move on within your speech.


First Point

This should be the most important point that your team has. Often, it will be an explanation of the principle you stand behind as a team. For advice on constructing a point, see here.

You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.


Second Point

This should be the second-most important point that your team has. Often, it will be where you being to discuss the practical 
impacts of your model, or the real world effects of the topic.

You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.

 

Third Point

If you have time as a Novice or Junior speaker, you should try to fit in your team's third-most important point. Seniors should have
almost always have a third point.

You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.


Conclusion

You should have a brief conclusion that summarises your characterisation of the debate, and outlines the points that you have 
proven. This should be less than 30 seconds.


 

1ST NEGATIVE

Introduction

The first 15 - 30 seconds should be used to introduce the debate. This should include your team's characterisation — the 
perspective you have on the topic — and the context of the debate. This can include claims about the most important parts of the debate and descriptions of current events on which the topic is based.

 

This should not include your name, speaker position, or a recitation of the topic. Since we've just heard this information from the
Chairperson, you should move straight to building your case.


Definition

The 1st Affirmative is the only speaker who must provide a definition. The 1st Negative speaker should only ever define the debate if their team believes the Affirmative's topic can be challenged as explained in Challenging Definitions.


Rebuttal

It is important to engage with your opposition and take on the most important points that they have raised. For an in-depth look,
see Rebuttal.


Model/Test

Normative debates (generally ones with 'should' in the topic that describe a proposed change in policy) will often require a model 
Negative teams will likely have an opportunity to defend the status quo, or the way things are. If this is the case, the 1st Negative 
speaker should provide an outline of the current situation.

Empirical debates (generally ones without 'should' in the topic that ask for a comparison of how things are) will often require a 
test.

In either case, 30 second should be sufficient to set up a model or test. This will not always be true, particularly in debates covering nuanced policy solutions.


Team Split

A brief description of your team's arguments, and which speaker will be making them. You should not include a mention of your 
third speaker. They're important, but everyone knows that they're going to rebut the opposition and summarise your case — so 
you don't need to spend precious time telling us that.

You should decide on labels for points that your entire team will use, and announce them in your split. This will help you be 
memorable, and make the adjudicator understand immediately when you or your second speaker move on within your speech.


First Point

This should be the most important point that your team has. Often, it will be an explanation of the principle you stand behind as a team. For advice on constructing a point, see here.

You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.


Second Point

This should be the second-most important point that your team has. Often, it will be where you being to discuss the practical 
impacts of your model, or the real world effects of the topic.

You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.


Third Point

If you have time as a Novice or Junior speaker, you should try to fit in your team's third-most important point. Seniors should have almost always have a third point.

You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.


Conclusion

You should have a brief conclusion that summarises your characterisation of the debate, and outlines the points that you have 
proven. This should be less than 30 seconds.



2ND SPEAKER

Introduction

The first 15 - 30 seconds should be used to set up your speech. This should include reinforcing your team's characterisation — the perspective you have on the topic — after attacks by the opposition. It can also be powerfully used to pick up on contradictions or mistakes by your opposition, and to show their case as flawed.

This should not include your name, speaker position, or a recitation of the topic. Since we've just heard this information from the
Chairperson, you should move straight to building your case.


Rebuttal

It is important to engage with your opposition and take on the most important points that they have raised. For an in-depth look,
see Rebuttal.


Individual Split

A brief description of your arguments. Setting this up at the beginning lets the adjudicator know what is coming so they can 
understand the flow of your speech.

You should continue using the labels your team has decided upon. This will help you be memorable, and make the adjudicator 
understand immediately when you move on in your team's case.


First Point

This should be the most important point that you have. Often, you will find yourself discussing further stakeholders in the debate,
or other impacts of a model. For advice on constructing a point, see here.
You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.


Second Point

This should be your second-most important point.

You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.


Third Point

If you have a solid third point, though this is often not the case at 2nd speaker, you should try to fit it in.

You should conclude your point by stating how it proves your team's case.


Conclusion

You should have a brief conclusion that summarises your characterisation of the debate, and outlines the points that you have 
proven. This should be less than 30 seconds.

 


3RD SPEAKER

Introduction

The first 15 - 30 seconds should be used to set up your speech. This should include reinforcing your team's characterisation — the perspective you have on the topic — after attacks by the opposition. It can also be powerfully used to pick up on contradictions or mistakes by your opposition, and to show their case as flawed.

This should not include your name, speaker position, or a recitation of the topic. Since we've just heard this information from the
Chairperson, you should move straight to building your case.


Themes

It is entirely understandable that speakers, particularly before they get to senior level, will want to attack the points of the 
opposition individually. It is more persuasive, though, to group the points of your opposition into 2 or 3 main themes that have 
been the most important grounds of engagement. This is covered more in Rebuttal.

As with the split for 1st and 2nd speakers, 3rd speakers should announce the themes they have identified. It is often useful to ask
questions which will be answered at the end of each rebuttal point. This gives you a solid conclusion to lead to under each 
response.

E.g. That we should ban mobile phones in school

 

Possible Themes:
Are mobile phones any use as an educational tool?
Do mobile phones distract students from their work?
Are mobile phones necessary for student-safety?

 

This should take 15 seconds.
 

First Rebuttal Theme

Take on what you believe to be the most important and contentious theme of the debate. You don't want to leave decisive areas of engagement until the end of your speech — you may not have enough time to fully cover them, and could lose the debate 
because of it.


Second Rebuttal Theme

Take on the second most important theme of the debate.


Third Rebuttal Theme

If there is time, include the third most important theme.


Conclusion

It is important to summarise not just your speech, but also your team's debate. State the 2-3 themes that you have just won for 
your team. Then summarise your characterisation and why you believe your material has been the most important and persuasive in the debate.