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  • Peter Lawrence

Day Seven - Debates and Ethical Dilemmas

Even though the rain today put a damper on our ability to spend time outside, it did not stop us from having an engaging and education day. We started our day with a research session. This morning we focused on improving cases, taking into account comments for previous debates, and continuing to build "Block" files. The goal of the case work was to enhance the quality of evidence-primarily related to connections between the student's impacts and the IoT. Students should be able to tell a clear story about how the two are connected in their cases. Blocks are the pre-prepared responses that debaters use in rebuttals to “block” their opponent’s arguments. These blocks allow for better flow in rebuttal speeches and ensure that debaters can respond more in-depth to their opponents’ arguments. Once we finished researching the students used what they found in a practice debate. These were the best debates we have seen thus far! It was clear that students had taken our comments to heart. Once the debates where over we had the students do speech re-dos. The re-do allows the students to incorporate instructor feedback and make more strategic decisions. The hope is in the future the re-do speeches will be the speeches in debates. After all this, we took a break for lunch.

After lunch, we started our afternoon with a discussion of complex ethical dilemmas using the moral frameworks we’ve talked about before. Some topics we discussed were; animal rights, human rights, just and unjust wars, and capital punishment. We hoped to leave the students with a framework and basis to approach difficult topics and questions in their future endeavors. After the conversation about ethics, we did flowing and speaking drills. The goal was to continue to improve our students’ skills at the margins. Better flowing and clearer speaking can often be the difference between winning and losing debates. We finished our day with another chance for students to do research. The focus was on making changes to cases and updates to blocks after their debates in the morning.

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