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Wuhan BP Training

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IDEA's April 25-27, 2008 British Parliamentary (BP) Debate training and the Cang Long Cup at the Hubei University of Economics were both big successes! This page is designed to be a resource for participants from the event in Wuhan - along with anyone else generally interested in BP debate - to continue their discovery of debate. You will find lecture notes and links to other BP resources.

British Parliamentary Debate

BP debate, as you learned, is a 4-team, 8-person debate format centering around 1 motion. There are very few rules to the format, which enables open, creative forms of argumentation. You can read more about the rules of this format at Parliamentary Debate

Case Construction

Building good cases is crucial to success in British Parliamentary debate. Doing so is not terribly complex, but understanding a few basic concepts can help you when structuring your cases:

Constructing a Case for the Government side

Constructing a Case for the Opposition

Effective Delivery

Debate is about good logic and argumentation, but without an effective delivery style, people may not want to listen to your arguments. It would be a shame if nobody heard your great arguments! Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Don't Worry!
    • You will get less nervous each time you debate.
  • Have an appropriate volume
    • There is no need to yell at your audience, but whispering is equally ineffective. Find a good middle ground so that everyone can hear you comfortably.
    • Vary your volume for emphasis of particular points
  • Find a good speed
    • Do not go too fast or too slow - you will either bewilder your audience or send them off to sleep!
    • Instead of going faster to address more arguments, consider being more efficient with your word usage. See the difference between "In our opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption to think that developed countries ought to give more aid" and "Developed countries ought to give more aid."
  • Be Natural with your Gestures
  • Use humor IF you can do so effectively.
    • Humor is not a necessity in debate, but can be helpful if you can be funny. Many effective public speakers and debaters, however, succeed without using humor. Think about your own debate style and use your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses.
  • Have good eye contact
    • Do not "read" your notes. Instead of having a speech written out, use an outline with only keywords and facts/arguments instead.
    • Avoid: looking at only 1 person, looking above your audience, looking out the window or at some spot on the wall.
    • Look at your entire audience as if you were having a discussion with them.

Further Resources

There are several resources on the IDEA website and Debatepedia that will be useful to you as you continue to debate. Among these are:

  • Debatepedia's Homepage - Debatepedia features thousands of articles on debate-related material for you to use free of charge! Any time you need to look up a debate topic, check Debatepedia. If there is an entry you would like to make or a debate you would like to suggest, see Getting Started Tutorial.
  • IDEA's Website - this features news, events, our famous Debatabase, teaching resources and DebateTracker.

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