Substitute Professor Laughton
Advanced Class - do the ayes have it?
Fri Jun 27, 2014 05:28

“Good morning,” Professor Laughton smiled at the sixth and seventh years. In some senses, they were the class she felt most comfortable with; they were mature, had chosen the subject rather than being forced to take it, and were more like the university students she was used to tutoring. The only thing that worried her slightly was whether they respected her authority. They were still school children, and school children could be rebellious and immature. Their pre-conceived idea of a professor was probably someone wrinkled and old, and to have a young woman, at least a head shorter than some of them and looking not much older than most (for all that she had nearly a decade on them) could lead to them not respecting her. Her main tactics to counter this were to be damn good at her subject and to not treat them like idiots. Hopefully giving them a little respect and responsibility would encourage them to show both of those traits in return.

“Today, we're going to be having a debate. It's important for you to get used to putting your views across in discussions with each other. Not only will this help you prepare suitable arguments if you receive a written question on the subject in your theory paper, but at university, you will be expected to actively join in academic discussions.” She didn't like to spoon-feed ideas to any of her students, but it was a necessary evil for getting some of the basics into the little ones. Still, she planned to get them talking and thinking for themselves as soon as possible, and the advanced class most definitely needed to be engaging in that kind of activity.

“The subject of today's debate is Is it possible for Magical Science to benefit Muggles, and is it a good idea? Before we begin, let's unpack that statement a bit... whether you're arguing for or against this idea, what are the elements you think you need to address?” She took answers until she felt they'd explored the question and that both sides would be looking to address the same issues. The question itself had two parts, and there were several different angles that needed exploring in addressing them.

“Right, I'm going to go around and mark you as an a or b. 'A's you'll be pro, 'B's you'll be anti. Now, you might have a strong feeling on this statement and you might end up on the wrong side for that. I'm sure it'll do your arguing skills a power of good if that's the case, so stick with what you're given. A, b, a, b...” she went around, pointing at each student.

“Now, you're to form sides and prepare an opening statement. The pro side will have ten minutes to put forward their views, after which the anti side will have five minutes to ask questions and cross-examine the pro side. The roles will then be reversed. Each side will then have a further five minute speech to close out the debate and provide a summary. You should use your preparation time to prepare your opening statements, to consider the questions you might be asked and how you plan to address them, and to come up with a rough concluding statement, though you may have to amend this as the debate progresses in order to reflect the main points the opposition has raised against you. You have thirty minutes to prepare.”

OOC – I am starting two threads below this, one for in group preparation and one for the debate itself. It's up to you where you post. The chances are we won't work through all the prep and get to the debate, so if you want to post your character giving a passionate opening speech (or section of it), then go for it. This class is a bit of an experiment, so it will be interesting to see how it works in terms of posting, and I also welcome your feedback either via the OOC page, or sent to the site email.

The format Mona has set is loosely based on the Lincoln-Douglas format, without the final 'affirmative rejoinder.' From what I can gather from reading about college debating, many focus on memorising a lot of facts, figures and evidence and then spouting it at your opposition. As your characters only have 30 minutes, this is not a very realistic option. This debate is about forming an opinion, and coming up with good, persuasive arguments; from the article I read 'Evidence [is] considered important, but it [is] not the be-all-and-end-all that it is in team policy debate.  The emphasis [is] on speaking clearly, logically, and fluently.'

As usual, posts are marked on the quality of the writing and must be at least 200 words.

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