Monday, June 29, 2015

The Wonders of Policy Debate

Last week, the Debate and Rhetoric class, for the most part, went over the world's style of debate.  This style of debate was first introduced to the class last Thursday when the students and the debate coaches came into class.  Now, we are moving on with policy debate, an entirely different animal.  The main distinction between world's debate and policy debate is that policy debate is much, much more difficult because it involves a lot more technical terminology, as well as having to cram a lot of information into a little amount of time.  

The Brain Display
Policy debate, unlike world's debate, is broken up into two teams of two people.  The two teams are the affirmative and the negative; the affirmative is for the motion presented and the negative is against the motion presented.  Unlike world's debate, policy debate is more about what is said rather than how it is said.  Austin showed the class a YouTube of the semi-finals of collegiate policy debate. In the video, the student that was opening up her argument was speaking hundreds upon hundreds of words in only thirty seconds, which was a true application of the "doesn't matter how it is said" rule.  Policy debate is broken up into the 1st Affirmative speech followed by the 1st Negative speech, the Second Affirmative speech, the Second Negative speech, the first negative rebuttal, the first affirmative rebuttal, the second negative rebuttal, and the second affirmative rebuttal.  After each of the speeches, the opposing side gets to cross-examinate the opposing side.  Speeches are nine minutes, cross examinations are three minutes, and rebuttals are six minutes.  When we concluded going over how a policy debate operated, the class was given an example of an affirmative speech in written form.  We went over all the important aspects of how to write an affirmative, then we were given our own affirmative assignment, which is set to be due next Monday.  The motion of the affirmative is "The United States should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of he following in the United States: marijuana, prostitution, online gambling, the sale of human organs, and physician-assisted suicide."  After this little lecture, the class went to visit various brains in the building next to Ives Hall as a little introduction to a debate we are going to be having on the topic of "Nature versus Nurture," which I thought was a little out of the box.  

As we move along, the class is getting more difficult, little by little.  At the same time, however, the class is becoming more informative and fun because we are moving outside of the box.  It seems to me that Dr. Sharkey isn't just a teacher, but a student was well; he learns from us as we learn from him.  It is this type of two-way relationship that has allowed me to fall in love with the class.  Sure, there has been a lot of hard work involved, but that is all apart of the learning process.  I know for a fact that I wouldn't be getting this rigor or caliber of education in the junior college's of the world and I'm loving every bit of this class. 

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