Today I met my new debate coach!
Although I believe that self-practice is an effective way of training, I felt that self-practice certainly has a limit. I might be able to incorporate the rhetoric of top debaters from youtube videos into my speech, but I would never know if I used the right rhetoric in the right timing. Thus, I decided to find a debating coach and a debating club. How was it? I regret that I hadn’t tried to find one earlier.
Very surprisingly, my coach explained to us what I’ve self-studied and researched over the past year in a single hour lecture. While it did confirm that I was on the right track and also made me feel proud that I found all of that myself, I felt what ancient Chinese doctors that tried various herbs on themselves would feel if they read a modern-day medical book. It felt very strange that what I’ve discovered for a year through trial-and-error was explained in less than an hour.
Still, I would never forget what I learnt because they've been ingraved in my experience, and I believe that would be the flipside of self-study.
To talk more about the lecture, it was primarily about the logical flow of caseline for a government side.
Although there were many sub-points, they could be organized as the following:
1. What is the problem?
Debate is about analysis. If you are the government, you need to have a concrete and specific analysis of the problem, since that is what gives you justification to act upon the problem.
2. Why is the problem significant? (or relevant)
(This is what I didn’t know) Always try to ground your problem analysis to reality. In other words, explain the relevance of your case to our society. For instance, if the motion is THW replace all math classes with debating classes, think about what is the problem and why it is relevant to our society. Rather than simply asserting that “math classes are less practical” or “math classes are applicable to a narrower scope of things,” (just like I did😓) do as the following:
We live in a society that is increasingly politically polarized. In an evermore bipolar political arena and the constant influx of fake news or alarmist inflammatory rhetoric, debating skills allow us to engage in politics in a meaningful manner. This means that we can make the best choices for ourselves, and also improve democracy as a whole.
Almost a hundred year ago, the first steam engine displaced millions of workers in London. Several decades ago, the first computer expatriated human calculators out to the streets. Several years ago, megacorporations such as IBM, Amazon, or such have began massive investments in artificial intelligence. We no longer live in a world that favors the best “human calculators,” but rather those who can solve multifaceted problems, cooperate with others, communicate efficiently, and have interdisciplinary interests—all of which debating education provides.
3. Why can we pass motion A?
Then, for the government to win in a “ban” debate, they must propose limiting the right of certain members. Then, they should also prove why the value that government side proposes is more important than the freedom of such parties. This value comparison—or justification argument—is necessary in any debate.
4. What is so good about motion A?
Here is when a practical comparison becomes necessary. By intuition, if one were to prove that a certain right can be limited for the sake of a certain value, one must also prove that limiting the right ensures that the value will be protected.
Frankly, most debaters know that they have to do the points listed above. But a lot of them don’t know why they should build a justification argument. However, when one does know the reason why such an argument exists, that allows a better logical structure of a case.
I also learnt various rhetoric techniques, such as….
- By simple statistical proof,
- Panel, note the fact that side (gov or opp) does not provide you with any examples of (). Why is that so? Because if they were to provide any one example of () to you, it becomes so glaringly obvious that their () is extremely impractical.
I loved my first debating session, and I am confident that I would be able to make it to the national team someday.