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A Debatable Practice
Volume 95, Program 31
3/8/2010
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If the extent of your experience with debate is televised politics, you might be wondering—what is debate? Before you start arguing about the answer, tune in today to Home School Heartbeat with host Mike Farris, to hear a veteran debater address that question!

Mike Farris:
This week, I’m joined by Christy Shipe. Christy is my oldest daughter; she’s now a wife and homeschooling mom of three. Christy, welcome to the program.

Christy Shipe:
Thanks, Dad!

Mike:
Christy, you were an award-winning debater in college, helped found a debate league for homeschoolers; you’ve written a couple of books on argumentation and debate, including your newest book called An Introduction to Policy Debate. This week, I’d like you to introduce our listeners to the whole area of argumentation and debate. What is formal debate?

Christy:
Well, formal debate starts with a topic that’s chosen by a debate league. An example would be that “the United States should reform its healthcare system.” So then you would have two teams that are discussing that topic. One team is going to support the topic and say “yes we should reform,” and the other team is going to argue against that position.

They do that in front of a judge who’s going to decide the winner of the debate round. And it follows a specific format of speeches. They’re timed, they have strict time limits, there’s cross examination periods. And although the format of it may sound somewhat artificial, the goal is really to teach students the skills that they need to communicate well in the real world. To communicate persuasively and really speak to an audience about a truth that is important to them.

Mike:
Thanks, Christy! I’m Mike Farris.


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