John Marshall

high school

Two types of debate

The JMHS Debate Team offers two different formats so you can pick the style that suits you best.

Public Forum Debate:  This style of debate is a team event.  You will work with a teammate taking turns to argue a point of view.  You and your teammate will be prepared to argue both the affirmative and the negative point of view.   You will work together to persuade a judge that your ideas are better defended than the opposing team’s arguments.  This  “clash of ideas” is demonstrated fully during the “crossfires” where you and your teammate will take turns asking and answer questions to defend your point of view.  The ultimate goal is for you and your teammate to. . .

· display logical reasoning supported by solid evidence.

· utilizing this evidence to counter arguments of the opposing team.

· communicate ideas with clarity and professional decorum.


Lincoln-Douglas Debate:  This style of debate is an individual event.  You will have a one-on-one discussion against an opponent that is focused on competing “values”.  The value concerns itself with what ought to be instead of what is.  A value is an ideal held by individuals, societies, governments, etc. You will develop arguments for and against a resolution that display solid reasoning to support your point of view.  No resolution is entirely true or false, so you are not held to a standard of absolute proof.  Instead you will . . .

· present valid arguments supporting a general principle using a “values point of view” at the core of the argument.

· “clash” with the opponent’s position by shifting his/her argument to support your point of view, or just prove your value structure is superior.

· ultimately use a logical chain of reasoning that leads the judge to conclude your value argument is stronger than your opponents.


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