• Courtney Baker

An introduction to Debate class at CHS

This semester at Cairo High School, I'm taking Speech of Debate with Mrs. Morgan Henrique, and for this article, I would like to explain what the class is like and what you can expect if you sign up to take it in the future.

Most people think being on the Debate team is the same as just arguing, but

that's not the case. The definition of debate we were given in class is "a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward." Debate can be fun, but you have to take it seriously.

On the first day, we had to introduce ourselves to the class, and this was a way for us to practice our body language and confidence in front of the group.

Right now, we are learning what debate really is. We are also learning the format of debate and debate argument, and in doing so, we are learning about how it is important to have voice, body language, and eye contact with the audience. For example, the better eye contact you have with the audience, the more you have their attention.

If you are like me and want to be a lawyer when you get older, this class can help a lot because it can help you get over your shyness and learn to present your ideas in an organized, persuasive way. It could also help for those wanting to become politicians or philosophy professors.

Some of the roles we practice with are "the affirmative", "the cross-examination," and "the negative." As other students are up talking, you can also act as "the flow" to jot down questions to give the debaters feedback. The purpose of the feedback is to make sure that we understand what each person is saying.

According to our course texts, "The goal of the affirmative is to persuade the judge that the benefits of the affirmative case outweigh the costs." On the other hand, "the goal of a negative is to persuade the judge that the costs of the affirmative case outweigh the benefits."

In debate you can have fun, but you have to take it really serious because you only have a certain amount to present your argument - or as we say in debate, "speeches." We also have constructive and rebuttals speeches. The constructive speech is for only eight minutes, during which the debaters lay out their arguments using evidence to support them. The rebuttal is only five minutes, and this speech is used to respond to the arguments of the other team and extend and explain the arguments you have previously made.

If you're interested in taking Speech of Debate in the future, see Mrs. Henrique on the English hall, room 35.