Debate Tournament / Workshop

TWR: Debate Activism Workshop 2020

Welcome to the 2020 TWR Debate Activism Workshop!

This event is a debating workshop aimed at developing your argumentative abilities while inspiring interest in global political and social issues. The workshop is comprised of two major sections. The first is the presentation part, where we will be hosting speakers to talk to the debaters about the art of argumentation, speaking, and critical thinking. The second part will be comprised of an actual tournament, where we will give our attendees a platform to apply the practical skills and knowledge they have gained through the presentations. 

Introduction to the Workshop

This workshop is about you. Through this seminar, we want to help you focus and understand the valuable and impactful voice that you have, the interests and curiosities you have about the political world, and how you as a critical thinker can create change through discussion. 

To ensure that people of all demographics have access to the event, the workshop will be free of charge. Additionally, no experience is required. Regardless of whether you are a debating veteran with 6+ years of experience or a newcomer who simply is interested in finding a platform to begin their debating career, everyone is welcome. 

Signing Up for the Workshop

Attendees can sign up for the workshop using this google form:

Judges, please sign up for the workshop using this google form:

You will be sent an access code to a Zoom Channel/Meeting on the day of the workshop along with a full schedule of the day. 

Workshop and Tournament Logistics

The tournament will be divided into two categories based on age and experience: JUNIOR and SENIOR.

  • JUNIOR - less than 2 years of debating experience.

  • SENIOR - more than 2 years of debating experience.

Here is the full schedule for the workshop:


7:15 AM

Opening Ceremonies - Vaishu + Badra + Alazne

7:30 AM

Presentation 1: Ankita and Nolan

7:45 AM

Presentation 2: Tournament Overview

  • How it works, what happens if someone logs off/unstable connection, how POIs will be given, how time signals will be given, how tournament rounds work.

8:30 AM

Judges Briefing + Junior/Senior Debating Briefing

9:00 AM

Round 1 - PREPARED (30 minutes) - debaters must prepare for both sides, but will only debate one (randomized)

For JUNIORS (2 years of experience or aged 16 and under)

  1. THBT Foreign Intervention does more harm than good (Prepared) 

 When military or aid operations arrive in countries or regions, does their intervention truly benefit those that it seeks to help? 

For SENIORS (>2 years of experience or over the age of 16)

  1. THBT Countries have the right to develop nuclear technology (prepared)

Nuclear technology, including weaponry, energy, etc., is a clear and present part of the future. Keeping in mind that many countries around the world own nuclear technologies and many are trying to access them.

10:00 AM

Round 2 - Impromptu 1 (50 minutes) - technology allowed for research

20 minutes preparation

11:00 AM

Round 3 - Impromptu 2 (50 minutes) - technology allowed for research

20 minutes preparation

12:15 PM

Tabulation Break Presentation 3: RunLin

12:45 PM

Awards announcing

1:00 PM

Closing Ceremonies

Again, the tournament itself will take place on Zoom, and will also utilize Discord. Please ensure that you have created an account for both of these platforms prior to the tournament. Invites for both of these platforms will be sent to the information that you applied with in the google form. 

Participants will begin in the General Assembly where they will be given an opening address by the organizers. Participants are asked to turn off their cameras and microphones for this portion of the workshop.

Once registration has been completed and attendance is confirmed, everyone will be given a name to change to using the Zoom usertag function. There will be three primary formats:

  1. Debater_[FirstName][LastInitial] - This will be used for the debaters.

  2. Judge/Mod_[FirstName] - This will be used for the judges/moderators.

  3. ADMIN - This will be used for organizers and other staff members.

More directions will be given on how to change your usertag at the tournament.

Debaters Guide 

This information will be provided on the day of the workshop. However, we strongly recommend that all those participating or planning on participating in the event read this guide in order to reach a better understanding on how virtual debate works and more specifically, how this workshop will proceed.

Beginning the Debate

At the beginning of the tournament, debaters will be shown the presentations from our guest speakers. An opportunity to ask questions will be given at the end. Afterwards, the “draw” will be released, at which point debaters will be sorted into their breakout rooms with their moderator and competitor. Participants will be given 20 minutes to prepare before their rounds.

Once all rooms have been sorted, there will be an announcement to begin preparing for the first round of the tournament. Participants may now turn on their cameras but keep their microphones off unless they are addressed by someone else directly or need to ask a question. This is to reduce background volume. A second announcement will indicate when the debate will begin. 

After Round 1

Once the round is finished, judges will complete their ballots before providing constructive feedback on the debate, during which the admin team will begin preparing for the next round. Debaters will then return to the General Assembly after their round and will be given instructions on the next steps. 

The same process will be followed for the 2 remaining rounds. 

Debate Results and Feedback

As this is a debate workshop designed to develop your argumentative skills rather than a competitive event, winners will NOT be announced after each round. That being said, the scores of all participants will be released publicly after the tournament for those who wish to see it. 

Tournament Logistics

This tournament will utilize a modified Worlds debate style.

  • There will be three rounds:

    • The first round is a prepared round. You will be given time before the event to prepare for the motion/topic, which will be revealed below. 

    • The second two rounds are both IMPROMPTU rounds. The motions/topics for these rounds will be revealed at the tournament, meaning you will be given a set amount of time before the debate to prepare. 

  • A 1 v 1 debate-style will be utilized. You will not be given a partner for any of the rounds. 

  • Each speaker will deliver 1 five-minute constructive speech, and 1 three-minute rebuttal speech

  • One speaker will be on the “Proposition” side, and the other speaker will be on the “Opposition side”, the draw and side a speaker is on are randomized. The rounds will not be bracketed, meaning that your opponent in the next round will not be influenced by your performance in the previous round. 

  • All motions will be delivered “This House believes” or “This House supports”. 

    • Proposition will debate in favour of the motion

    • Opposition will debate against the motion. 

The speaking order will be as follows:

Proposition: first speech (5 minutes). The first and last 45 seconds will be protected time, during which no points of information (POI’s) can be brought up by the other team. 

Opposition: first speech (5 minutes), The first and last 45 seconds will be protected time.

Proposition: rebuttal Speech (3 minutes). No points of information are to be brought up during the entirety of this speech. 

Opposition: rebuttal speech (3 minutes). No points of information are to be brought up during the entirety of this speech. 

Debate ends.

  • Each speaker is allowed an additional 15 seconds of grace after their constructive/reply speeches where they must wrap up their speech. At this point, the moderator will cut them off once grace period is exceeded. 

  • Heckling and Points of Order or Points of Privilege will not be allowed

  • During the debate, points of information (or POI’s) will be permitted outside of the protected and grace period of each speech. POI’s will be explained in detail at the event

    • If any participant wishes to give a point of information, they can unmute, say “point”, loud enough for the other competitor to hear, and mute themselves again until they are addressed.

  • Participants ARE allowed to use the internet or external resources to support their arguments, as our goal is for attendees to learn about the issues they are debating. 

  • Judges/Moderators will be experienced debaters ready to answer questions and provide thorough feedback. 

Don’t worry if you don’t understand any of the things in this guide. These will all be explained in detail at the beginning of the workshop. Additionally, feel free to ask questions whenever you feel the need! We're here to help after all. There will also be a debater’s template for those of you who aren’t comfortable with debating just yet! We’re all about providing a space for you to grow and develop your debating skills!

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