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Public Forum

Public Forum debate is the most popular debate format in the world, with students debating 2 v. 2 in competition. In the US, topics change bi-monthly in the fall and every month in the spring. In Asia, topics change in the spring and fall semesters. Students normally debate topics more than once and prepare very intensely to debate the topics. We provide instruction with helping students learn Public Forum, helping students improve their skills, and helping students prepare to debate the topics.

We provide two types of courses for Public Forum debate.

Introduction to Public Forum Debate.  This course provides instruction to teach students the basics of Public Forum debate.

Tournament Preparation.  Tournament preparation courses are designed to help students prepare for particular tournaments on particular topics. We cover topics from the US, China (both NSDA and NSDHLC), Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.

If students are new to debate and want to prepare for a tournament, we combine the instruction below into one 24 hour course.

TOURNAMENT PREPARATION — 30 Hours (15 two hour courses)

[Full course content to purchase, included for enrolled students]

This is broken down into 15 hours, but classes can be combined

Class 1 — Topic introduction lecture, discussion of contention ideas
Homework: Write a contention

Download topic Power Point (Genome Editing)

Class 2 — Review 1st contentions work on second contentions, lesson on search engines (Bing, Baidu, Google), lesson on sample evidence, more topic brainstorming,
Homework: Finish second contention

Class 3 — Review cases, practice cases, practice crossfire, discuss rebuttals
Homework:  Start rebuttal prep
Class 4 — Practice rebuttals against specific contentions, advanced rebuttal techniques instruction, crossfires
Homework: Work on more rebuttals against contentions
Class 5 — Practice rebuttals against specific contentions, crossfires, crossfire practice
Homework: Work on more rebuttals against contentions
Class 6 — Practice debates through rebuttals and crossfire — one on each side, feedback
Homework: Improvements as suggested
Class 7–  Summary speeches & weighing, practice weighing

Reading: Weighing Mechanisms

Homework: Start Summary speeches
Class 8 — Summary speech practice, improvements; weighing mechanisms practice
Homework: Weighing mechanisms exercise
Class 9 — Topic revisit — cover other arguments on the topic we haven’t covered yet; check for understanding
Homework: Adjust cases and rebuttal briefs
Class 10 — Practice debate, feedback
Class 11 — Practice debate, feedback (switch sides)
Class 12 –How to win debates on turns, practice and execution
Class 13 — Prepping crossfire questions
Class 14 — Practice debate
Class 15 — Final and review

Learning Objectives

Students will develop a strong understand of all of the major arguments on the debate topic

Students will learn how to research and write their own constructive speeches

Students will learn how to prepare their own rebuttal briefs on the topic and practice rebuttals against major arguments

Students will develop their crossfire skills and practice crossfire questions on the topic

Students will develop their Summary speech skills and learn how to create Summary speeches on the topic

Students will develop their Final focus speech skills and learn how to create Final Focus speeches on the topic

Students will learn how to develop framework arguments, answer framework arguments, and weigh arguments

Students will develop flowing skills

Students will develop advanced strategies (as appropriate for experience level) that can be applied to any topic


The purpose of this class is to teach students the very basics of Public Forum debate.

Class 1 –Introduction to Competitive Debate

A. Generally, what is it?
B. Why is it valuable/what you will learn
C. Debate in the World
(1) China/East Asia
(2) The US
D. Debate tournaments
E. Intro to basic argumentation Homework: Read an Intro to PF Debate article

Class 2 – Introduction to PF Debate and Case Construction

A. The basics of argumentation
B. The basics of PF Debate
C. Case Construction – How to and samples
D. Working on case outline with sample topic that is easy for students Homework: Read a sample article about the topic

Class 3 – Case Construction and Card cutting

A. Work an outline for a case based on what students read in the article
B. Discuss how to cut cards and find actual cards in the article
C. Find more cards and put them into the case
D. Provide two more articles for students, work with them to find articles Homework: Finish constructive speeches

Class 4: Cases

A. Review constructive speeches
B. Intro to public speaking basics
C. Applying public speaking basics to constructive speeches
D. Practicing the speeches

Class 5: Cross-fire/Research

A. Intro to crossfire
B. Practice crossfire
C. Intro to basic research (using Chinese search engine) and Google for those with VPNs Homework: Find three relevant articles, with a focus on the Con Constructive

Class 6 : Practice Speeches

A. Prep Con constructive speeches using established skills
B. Practice presenting Con speeches (review public speaking skills)
C. Practice crossfire (review crossfire skills)
D. Very basic flowing skills Homework: Finish Con speech revisions

Class 7: The Attack

A. Introduction to Rebutting arguments
B. Identifying weaknesses in the structure of arguments.
C. Understanding and identifying the different types of logic and reasoning (ie. inductive, deductive)
D. Intro to logical fallacies
E. What logical fallacies people can make when creating arguments Homework: Identify logical fallacies in research

Class 8: The Rebuttal

A. Types of Rebuttal arguments – offensive/defensive
B. Introduction to turns and disadvantages
C. How to organize the Rebuttal
D. Answers to briefs
E. Review of arguments from Con speeches
Homework: Write answers to Constructive arguments

Class 9: More ways to Rebut

A. Evaluating quality of evidence including relevance, bias, recency, accuracy, applicability
B. Learning how to integrate research, facts, and data into arguments
C. More advanced research skills and card cutting Homework: Write a rebuttal brief to Pro/Con argument (assigned 1 student per argument)

Class 10: Rebuttals in Practice

A. Practice rebuttals
B. Practice cross-fire of rebuttals

Class 11: Flowing arguments

A. Comprehensive flowing discussion
B. Practice Flowing

Class 12: Summary Speeches

A. Intro to Summary Speeches
B. Work on writing the Summary speeches Homework: Finish summary speeches

Class 13: Summary, Grand Cross

A. Practice Summary SpeechesZ
B. Intro to Grand Crossfire
C. Practice Grand Crossfire

Class 14: Final Focus

A. Intro to Final Focus
B. Work on Final Focus
C. Prep for first debate Homework: Prep for first debate

Class 15: First Debate and Review First practice debate, discussion review Homework: Prep for next debate

Class 16: Second Debate Final (2nd debate) Class review