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English III Policy Debate: A Guide: Home

A research and debating guide for Mr. White's Junior English class

Unit Objective

The focus of this project is to have you prepare the necessary research to engage effectively in a policy debate. This means our focus is two-fold: one part is researching and locating sources and the other part is effective use of your research to work with teammates to win a debate.

Important Due Dates

Issue Debriefing Form - Due May 25th

Evidence Cards and Speeches - TBD

Policy Debate Rounds - TBD

Debate Reflection - TBD

How To Use This Guide

All resources available for our classroom debates will be located in this LibGuide, including recommended sources, documents, and updates. 


Policy debate is a structured format for discussions regarding a topic, usually involving government laws and processes. The format of the debate allows for both sides of the topic to present their arguments and plan for responses in a way that is organized and equitable.

Debate Lessons Schedule

Lesson 1: Topic Development and Analysis

  • Brainstorming topics based on current and controversial events

  • Narrowing topic to something that is “debatable” - or has two sides

  • Writing a resolution - or a debate statement to support or negate


Lesson 2: Gathering Evidence

  • Locating sources of information that support your arguments

  • Organizing your evidence by “cutting cards” so that it's easy to read and directly connects your arguments

  • Identifying what “side” the argument supports and how to spin evidence

  • Creating constructed and impromptu speeches by summarizing, explaining, and analyzing your evidence

  • After these lessons, you will have about two weeks to research and prepare arguments


Lesson 3: Topic Debriefing and Argumentation

  • Within our debriefing, we will analyze possible arguments and counter-arguments based on evidence and information that you gathered with your team

  • These arguments and counter arguments will create the basis for our debate case


Lesson 4: Debate 101

  • Observing the debate format and understanding how to use time and arguments strategically

  • Drafting constructed, impromptu, and rebuttal speeches

  • Questioning arguments, claims, and evidence through effective cross-examination


Lesson 5: Debate Mock Round

  • Practicing argumentation, evidence use, and “direct clash” of arguments though a practice debate

  • Assessing who “wins” a debate by examining a debate judging ballot


Lesson 6, 7, and 8: Debate Rounds

  • You will be given your side the day of the debate and compete against another team

  • Anyone that is not debating at the time will judge using the ballot in order to determine the winner


This schedule is tentative and is subject to change


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