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?
British Parliamentary is the best debate format
The British Parliamentary format is a form of debate that originated in Liverpool in the mid-1800s. The style of the format is meant to mimic the actual British Parliament, with four different teams of two competing against each other, with a proposition and opposition bench, as well as an opening and closing house.
It is the format of the World University Debating Championships
The World University Debating Championships (WUDC) is the world's largest debating tournament. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world. Every year, students from schools worldwide all gather to participate and debate in the British Parliamentary format.
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.
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.
In policy debate, two teams of two argue for or against a certain policy change by the United States federal government. This format is mainly used in American debating at both the high school and collegiate levels.
Policy debate requires extensive use of evidence
Research and evidence should be an important part of debating because it cultivates the critical skills needed to make a convincing argument. Arguments should always be about real-life impacts, and only policy debate's research-heavy format ensures that.
Policy debate typically focuses on the same resolution for an entire month or even an entire season, which allows for the most pertinent and current issues to be selected for debate. Therefore, the ideas that are being presented and forwarded will always be the most relevant and updated.
In Model United Nations, participants are placed in the position of delegates or ambassadors in a committee of different countries. They are forced to collaborate to resolve a variety of international issues.
Model United Nations emphasizes collaboration instead of argument
Debates should be about reaching common ground and coming to a solution instead of simply trying to win a round. Only MUN stimulates that type of environment by not giving participants a clear-cut position but instead allowing them to think for themselves.
Model United Nations presents the most flexibility in topic
Although Model United Nations conferences would give participants broad topics to talk about, participants still get a lot of freedom to pick and choose what exactly they find important. This makes the debates more interesting for the people doing them since they won't be limited by a resolution.