First week of meetings

Thank you everybody who came down to the first two meetings at DebSoc! Here is a short summary:

Tuesday saw a healthy mixture of first-timers and experienced debaters. It was great to see such good turnout; indeed, we had three rooms of debaters and several people judging each debate! The motion read: This House would legalise prostitution.

Thursday saw two rooms debating the motion This House would ban faith schools. Praises to the many novices who despite initial nerves, spoke with great confidence and intellect!

If you are interested in debating, do come down next week – Tuesday 7.00 pm in B101 and Thursday 7.00 pm in B111. It is not necessary to attend both sessions, but you will become better more quickly if you attend more workshops! Taking part in tournaments is also an excellent way to improve as a speaker. If you are interested in taking part in any competitive tournaments (sign up) !

What happens at the sessions?

In the meetings we aim to mimic a competitive debate format. A random motion is presented (some are less serious than others!) and a team for proposition and opposition is selected, who then are given 15 minutes of preparation time. There may be too many attendees to make for even teams and therefore some may have to judge as opposed to be speakers. If one wishes not to speak it is of course also possible to judge instead and gain some valuable experience from listening and judging.

In this society we follow the British Parliamentary style. This means that each side has 4 speakers, grouped into: First Prop, Second Prop, First Opp, and Second Opp. Speeches alternate between Prop and Opp, until the Second’s final speakers summarise their side’s respective arguments. Speeches are 5 minutes long. Between the second and fifth minute, i e 1:00-4:00, a member of the opposite team can stand up and offer to make a Point of Information. These are short points, no longer than 20 seconds, and are meant to be in the form of a question or a statement made by the speaker. These can be refused by the speaker. It is inadvisable to accept more than 2 PI’s during a speech. Conversation and replying to a speaker’s response to a PI is not permissible.

Normally, after the debate is finished, the chair gives out general as well as personal feedback, and awards 1st-4th places in our practice debates. We hope that you find the feedback we give in workshops to be useful!

The society will be holding workshops in later weeks of the term. These will  go over various debating strategies in addition to brainstorming around various motions and themes that you may encounter. Naturally, a debate will follow; this is after all the best way to learn!

So, until Tuesday, have a nice weekend and may peace be upon you all.



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