Debate Club is a free extra-curricular activity that practices the arts of persuasion and public speaking. Every week we have structured debates about current events. We do not use evidence, but rely on logic and persuasive skills to "win the day". Our topics are student-selected and faculty-approved, and have included ideas as diverse as: "First amendment rights: for citizens or humans", "Should the state fund extra-curricular activities", "Anchor Babies and the intent of the 14th Amendment" and "Should schools have dress codes". Parent permission slips are required and each debater argues BOTH sides of any issue.
There are several different formats for debate practiced in high school and college debate leagues.
Most of these formats share some general features. Specifically, any debate will have two sides:
a proposition side, and an opposition side. The job of the proposition side is to advocate the
adoption of the resolution, while the job of the opposition side is to refute the resolution.
The resolution can take many forms, depending on the format. But in most cases, the
resolution is simply a statement of policy or a statement of value. Some examples include,
"Be it resolved, that the federal government of the United States should legalize marijuana";
"Be it resolved, that when in conflict, the right to a fair trial ought to take precedence over
freedom of speech"; "Be it resolved, that men should wear boxers rather than briefs,"; etc.
In many debate formats, there is a requirement that a policy resolution (a resolution
regarding the policies followed by some organization or government) represent a change
from current policy, so that the opposition team will be defending the status quo.
Usually, there is also a judge present in the debate whose job is to decide the winner.