JSA thrives on its debates: meaningful arguments between well informed teenagers with the goal of understanding and resolution. These discussions aren’t about just scoring points and winning like many other debate organizations, and the only judges are your peers, who will decide how to vote (“yes” or “no” on the resolution) at the end of the round. However, one can win a Best Speaker gavel by being voted on by their peers. JSA, in addition to making use of a traditional parliamentary style (two speakers, a moderator, and a volunteer, impromptu group of subsequent speakers), also features alternatives styles: Speed Chess, thought talk discussions, schizophrenia, gavel debates, historical impersonations, etc. The many styles give everyone a chance to find their debate “niche” where they feel most comfortable sharing their opinions, and, for veteran debaters, a chance to spice things up with different modes of discourse.
This is a shortened version of the debate handbook with the most vital information about debates.
The full length debate handbook goes more in depth and provides more information on debates and the debating process. It includes information on how to prepare and support an argument along with other useful material.
A moderator has the responsibility of keeping structure in the debate. These guidelines will help uphold those responsibilities.
Thought Talks are another important activity that help make your meetings more engaging, check out the handbook above.