Welcome to the teachers section of "smoke’s no joke". We aim to arm you with all the information you need to tackle smoking issues in school.

The Smoke's No Joke Guide to running a classroom debate

  1. There are two sides to a debate – the 'proposition' put forward and support the motion and the 'opposition' argue against the motion.
  2. This involves creating a team to represent each party. Teams are usually comprised of between 2-4 pupils, although larger debates can have 6 pupils on each team.
  3. You will also need a chairperson – usually the class teacher.
  4. You may also wish to involve other pupils in a formal role other than just being 'the audience' by creating a panel of judges. This is not entirely necessary, as there are a number of ways to decide judgement (see 7) but it can add to the drama and giving pupils a formal role may encourage engagement. The judging panel can include other classroom staff too.
  5. Basically, the two sides of the debate take it in turns to deliver speeches. The first speaker for the proposition (those in favour of the motion, aka the Government team) starts the debate, followed by the first speaker for the opposition. The second speaker for the proposition follows, then the second speaker for the opposition, and so on back and forth between the teams.
  6. At the end of the debate, the chairperson can ask for any speeches from the 'floor' (aka the audience/rest of the class). These pupils then have a chance to raise their opinions and thoughts regarding the motion under debate.
  7. The 'winners' of the debate can be decided by various means. Either the chairperson can decide who wins, or the panel of judges can declare a winning side, or the chairperson can call a vote by all the pupils in the room.

    If it is put to the vote, the speakers are also usually allowed to vote.

    Pupils are encouraged to ignore their own personal opinions and vote for the team that they thought made the most convincing case, made the best arguments, was the most persuasive etc.

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