Hello and welcome back to my blog. In this post I will be talking about the project we completed before winter break where we learned all about debating. For the final product we got to present our prepared debate during the PLP winter exhibition. Β 

Be It Resolved That Exams Hurt Student Learning

We started off this project by picking our debate opponent and what topic we would be debating. After given a long list of possible topics and having multiple mini non formal debates with my opponent we decided to chose β€œExams Hurt Student Learning”, I debated the negative.Β 

To begin, we were tasked with creating a piece of writing to allow us to learn the art of persuasion. We wrote a short paragraph using the prompt β€œThe greatest ______ ever”. As for the topic, we could choose whatever we wanted, a book, movie, pet, sport, song, ect. I decided to go with a topic I debate with my friends often, that Taylor Swift is the best Music Artist ever. Using this piece of writing, we went through multiple revision processes to identify parts of our paragraph that appeals to the audience’s emotion, facts, and our personal opinions. The goal was to have an even amount of all three. Through this first revision I was able to identify that my writing was all facts and opinions, and didn’t have anything that could appeal to the audiences emotions. To revise I added a few sentences that the audience could definitely connect to which made my writing so much more effective.Β  Β 

Once we understood how to make our writing persuasive in multiple different ways we started the research on our debate topics. When doing this I started the basic research on key points on why exams are beneficial to support my side, then I started doing research on my opponents side, I was able to find multiple key points that I thought my opponent might mention then used them to further support my side. A few things that I feel helped keep me organized during this was by colour coding my sources, writing down a summary for each source stating what I got from it, writing an evaluation stating why this source is reliable, and lastly my opinion where I talk about what I will mention and how it supports my side.Β 

Then came time to start writing the first draft of our speeches. During the exhibition each debate would be laid out in a specific way ensuring everyone has a fair chance to state their case. This meant everyone had a total of 4 minutes for their, 1 minute for their rebuttal, and 30 seconds for closing remarks. After looking at a few examples I knew I wanted to paint a picture for the audience to engage them right from the beginning, I was able to accomplish this in my anecdote. As for the rest of my speech I had three key points that I would be mentioning, all including facts, quotes, and emotion. This writing went through a few revisions before I came up with my final speech which I must say I’m pretty proud of.

Lastly came the rebuttal prep, which was the part I was most unsure about when presenting as the chances of my opponent not mentioning a point I have prepared were low, but still there. To make sure I was making these chances as low as I could I created a chart of my opponents potential points, and how I could critique this. I then wrote a small write up for each point so I would have something to refer to when the time came.Β 

As the number of days prior to the exhibition got lower, I practiced presenting my speech and a few of my rebuttal points to classmates to start the process of memorization, I also had a chance to present with the podium to my teacher to get a few extra tips. When the exhibition day came I was fully ready to present, and I am so proud of myself because this project was a huge step to improving my public speaking/presenting skills. I did end up winning the debate by one mark, however my opponent made good points making it a good debate. If you haven’t had a chance to watch our debate video its located at the top of this post!