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What's the best debate format? Show more Show less
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Competitive debating has become one of the most popular extracurricular activities for both high school and university students. Around the world, people engage in many different formats of debating, from the formal, cooperate Model United Nations format to the rapid-fire, argumentative Policy format. Out of so many formats, what exactly is the best?

Australasian Debating is the best format Show more Show less

The Australasian format is most commonly used in Australia at both the primary and secondary levels and the annual Australasian Debating Championships, a major debate tournament. The format involves two teams, one proposing and one opposing, with three speakers each.
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Australasian Debating is straightforward and easy to learn

The Australasian format is the most easily accessible. There isn't a lot of complicated rules and terminology involved in it. All the format needs is one team saying yes and another saying no.

The Argument

Australasian debating is the best format because it is extremely easy for a beginner to learn. Australs has two teams, one proposing and one opposing, and three people on each team, all of whom speak for eight minutes.[1] Unlike formats like Policy, there aren’t many complicated terminologies that a new debater will need to learn, such as Kritiks and link turns. It is also unlike formats like British Parliamentary, which features multiple teams and sometimes difficult and complicated rules. Additionally, it gives debaters half an hour to think through the topic and discuss strategy and ideas with their team. Any participant who can speak convincingly and think logically has the potential to excel in this format, even if it is one of their first times debating. This is very good because in many other formats debaters don’t win major tournaments until they become juniors or seniors, and they can’t become good unless they devote lots of time and sometimes money as well into learning and competing in the format. However, with its low bar of entry, Australs is uniquely accessible.

Counter arguments

While Australs may feature simple rules, that doesn’t mean it isn’t dominated by experienced debaters and resourceful universities. The annual Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships, the biggest international tournament in the Australs format, has only been won once by an Asian team in its 45 years of running.[2] The large majority of debaters who do well at the tournament come from Australia and New Zealand. This clearly shows that elitism still exists in the Australs format. Additionally, other harder formats like British Parliamentary also feature novice divisions where newer competitors can still do well.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Australs is easiest to learn. [P2] Because it is easiest to learn, it is also the most accessible.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Other debate formats have novice divisions, where newer debaters can learn. [Rejecting P2] Australs is not accessible, and major tournaments are still won by elite universities.

References

  1. https://www.usu.edu.au/Get-Involved/Debates/side-callout/Tournaments.aspx
  2. https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/2855622
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 04:42 UTC