Primary school debate club – 03. With Tony Davey

Duration: 15:06

Transcript – Primary school debate club – 03. With Tony Davey

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TONY DAVEY: Hey there, primary school debaters. I hope you guys are out there staying safe and ready for more lessons in debating. Today we're actually going to do one of the most important things we're going to cover in any of these videos, which is how to take one of your ideas about why your side is right, and turn it into a brilliant argument that goes to maybe half a minute or a minute with very little written down and with very little planning so that the other team is like, oh my gosh, I'm scared of you. And I'm running away because your explanation was so, so good.

Let's jump right into it, then. How to explain an idea and turn it into an argument. OK, so there are basically four steps we're going to go through when it comes to explaining an argument. And they start with the letters P, E, E and L.

So, sometimes you'll hear this called PEEL. I should warn you before we kick off. Each one of those steps is going to have a bunch of steps inside of it. So, it's a little bit more complicated than you might think.

All right, so you're starting your argument. The first thing you need to do is the P. And that stands for point. Don't just stand there pointing at people, though.

What we actually need you to do is say this simple sentence. "My team's, something, argument will show that." Perfect short heading. So, "my team's something for argument will show that", here's a perfect short heading.

Right, so every time you give an argument, you're going to start with that sentence. But instead of something, you'll give it a number, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth. And instead of perfect short heading, you'll put in there the perfect short heading for your argument.

And when people hear that adding, they have to say to themselves, "oh my gosh, I know exactly what this argument is going to be about". So, it can't be too short. And it can't be vague.

Let's say the topic was that we should ban school uniform. You can't just say, "my team's first argument will show that we should ban school uniform". Duh, of course, it will. All of your arguments will.

You need to be more specific and say, "my team's first argument will show that when we ban school uniform, kids will find it easier to get ready in the mornings for school". See when I say that, you can tell pretty much everything that I'm going to say. You might even be thinking in your head right now about what kinds of arguments you might add and what you would say about getting ready in the morning. Makes sense? So, it's got to be like a half sentence long heading that makes it really clear where you're going.

OK, the next step is the most important step. It starts with E. And that E stands for explain.

So, your job here is to explain everything about your argument. This step is so important that it's not just one step anymore. It's got three little steps inside of it.

Here's how it works. Every debate you're going to be in is going to be a debate about change, right? The topic will have a change in it. And it's the affirmative's job to go, "yay, I love this change. What a great idea".

And then the negatives job to go, "boo, I hate this change. It's a terrible idea. Let's not do it'.

Now because every debate is about change, every argument you have will work best if you work through that change and show us how it's going to function. That's a really technical way of saying, here are three steps to make sure you're explaining your arguments really well. Step one, we want you to say, "right now", and then give us a two or three sentence picture, a little paragraph of what things look like right now in terms of your idea.

So, you're going to say, "right now," and then tell us how it looks right now. You might say something like, "Right now, when kids get up in the morning, they have to find a school uniform to wear. If that school uniform's in the wash, as it often is, or it's messy, it can take ages to find it and make sure that they're ready to go to school. And that can be really difficult for kids when they're in a rush in the mornings." So see, you just paint that simple picture of what it looks like right now.

The next step is to say "after the change", or, "after we ban school uniform", and now what we want from you is for you to make up in your head an opposite two or three sentence picture of how different things look in the morning now. So, it's going to still be two or three sentences. And it's still going to be a little paragraph.

But it's going to show how different things will be once the topic has happened. So, you might go, "after the change when those kids get up in the morning, they're not going to have to search for the right clothes to wear. They can literally just pull on whatever t-shirt is on top of their drawer and whatever pants they find, and boom, they're ready to go to school. So, it's going to save a lot of time." See, so it's just a couple of sentences explaining what it will look like after the topic has happened. Then you've got one last job. And that is to say, "that's important because -"

And after you've said that, you've got to explain to everybody why the right now and the after the change is such a big deal. Why did that change matter? Why is that important?

So, you might say "that's important because it means that kids are going to be coming to school not rushed. They're going to be getting to school on time. And that means they're going to learn a lot more and have a lot more fun."

So, just a final two or three sentence paragraph that tells you why your argument is so important. I'll give you one advanced tip about your that's important step. Whenever we set debating topics to primary school kids, we tend to make them about those kids themselves.

So, almost every topic you're ever going to debate about is going to be about someone in primary school. And honestly, you guys have pretty simple lives. The only things we really care about with primary school kids are, are they getting a good education? And, what's their well-being like? Are they happy and healthy?

So, whatever argument you're making, you want to link your that's important to either a better education or improved kid's well-being. Does that make sense? You don't want to say "that's important because it's rude to be late", or "that's important because if you're late to school, you might miss out on having fun with your friends before the bell." You want to link it to either education or well-being.

So, you might say, "that's important because when kids turn up late to school or turn up rushed, they often miss the beginning of lessons. Even if they're technically there when the bell goes, they might not be settled yet and ready to learn. So, they'll learn a little bit less that day because they were rushed in the morning."

Or, "that's important because when kids don't get to catch up with their friends in the morning before the school bell, that damages their social lives. It means that they have a less supportive group of friends. And they feel less happy. And it likely ruins their well-being if they don't get to school on time."

See, so the link here that's important to either education or well-being. There are two more things I want to say to you about explaining your argument. The first is that it's a little bit different for the affirmative and the negative. So, if you're on the affirmative, you have to remember that right now is really bad. Two or three sentences about how bad it is.

And then after the change is really great. Two or three sentences about how awesome things are now. If you're on the negative, it's the opposite. You're going to be, "right now, things are working spectacularly. Look how great everything is."

And then you're going to say after the change, "what? That's terrible. You've broken it. Now everything's awful."

So, we should very quickly look at an argument for the negative to make sure that makes sense. You could probably make the same argument about kids being late in the morning. You might say, "my team's first argument will show that when we had school uniform, kids are much more likely to be ready in the morning for school."

"Right now, when kids get up in the morning, they have to ask themselves what do I have to wear? Like what's trendy today? What won't get me picked on?"

"They just grab the top and the pants that are part of their school uniform. And they're ready to go. After the change, when those kids get up in the morning, they have to worry about what to put on now."

"They have to think to themselves, will this make me look silly? Will I get picked on for wearing this? And now they might have to search for their favourite t-shirt instead of just pulling on a uniform. And all of that means they might be late for school. That's important because" - and we've already talked about why being on time for school is important.

So, it's one thing to remember. The affirmative, hate right now and love after the change, the negative love right now and hate after the change. The other thing I'm going to talk to you about is about how to make that explanation more believable.

I'll get back to that at the very end of this video because it's a super advanced tip. But for now let's move on to step three, which is called E, for example. Your job here is to say for example.

And then you have two jobs you need to do. Job one is to name a real world facty fact that makes the audience go, oh yeah, that's totally true. And then job two, explain how it works.

So, for example, name the fact and explain how it works. A lot of the time these facts are a little bit hard to find because a lot of your arguments aren't about things that are in the newspaper a lot. But you can easily base it on a number of shirts, or a number of pants that kids have. Give us an approximation and a number.

So, you might say, for example, "your average kid has only three school uniform shirts. And that means that come Thursday, those three shirts might be dirty. And they're reliant on their parents having washed one of those shirts to be ready in the morning.

If they haven't, then they're going to be late for school." So, you name a fact like, they've only got three shirts. And then you explain how it proves your case. It's a pretty simple step.

You'll get better and better at it as you get into debating. Your last job here starts with L is called link. Congratulations, welcome to the easiest step in all of debating.

You're just going to say, and that's why, and then say the topic. Congratulations, you have linked. By the way, if you're the negative, you're going to want to put a not into the topic when you're linking. So,

you'll say, "and that's why we should not ban school uniform." Great. So, every idea you have in a debate and your team is going to want to have somewhere between four and six ideas, you want to follow each of these steps so that you are carefully explaining them and turning them into arguments.

All right, now for that one last advanced tip about how to explain right now and after the change. The best way to make sure you're doing a good job there is to constantly be putting yourself inside of people's heads and saying, here's what they think and feel. Here's what motivates them. Here's why you can believe me that they'll act the way I'm saying.

So, let's think again about that argument about whether kids will be late to school or not. The affirmative is going to be like, "now there'll be more on time to school because they don't have to search for a school uniform." The negative is going to be like, "no, they're going to be more late for school because they're going to be worried about what to wear now."

Often your adjudicator is like ha, those both make really good sense. How am I going to decide which one is the truest? And the answer is, thou pick the side that's talked the most about what those kids are thinking and feeling and why that motivates them. A couple of things to think about when you're wondering about what people in debates are thinking or feeling is to think about maybe a quick checklist of the different things that motivate people in debates.

So, very quickly I can think of five of them. The first is people are often motivated by fear. So, they're afraid of something happening. And it makes them behave a certain way.

The next is that sometimes they're motivated by greed or selfishness. They really want something, and that's how they act. Another one that often motivates people, believe it or not, is generosity.

So, it's often something that parents have. They're generous towards their own kids with their time and with their money. So, it's another thing that motivates people.

Another one that often motivates people is pride. So, they want something good for themselves. And they want to improve themselves. So, they're really proud and that might change how they behave.

The last thing that I can think of is sometimes they're really lazy. Let's be honest, sometimes they're motivated by wanting to just sit there doing nothing. And that impacts how they behave.

All right, so let's think about those arguments about whether or not kids will be ready in the morning or not. Now the affirmative can talk about how they're often too lazy to plan in the morning to make sure that they're in the evening, sorry, to make sure that their school uniform is ready to go. They can talk about how proud they are.

Or they can talk about how as generous as parents are with their time, they might be too busy looking after other things and they might not have a school uniform ready. The negative on the other hand can talk about how kids are sometimes afraid. And that might make them take longer to pick out an outfit because they're worried they might get bullied.

Or they might talk about how they're proud of how they look. And they really want to look good, which might again, slow them down. So, you can improve your arguments by pointing to those ideas of what motivates people and crawling inside their head and saying, here's what they're thinking.

Here's what they're feeling. Trust me. This is how they'll behave.

Later in the week, one of our best adjudicators, Alex, is going to define for you the topic that parents should pay their kids whenever they help out around the house. It was a super popular topic in the Premier's Debating Challenge last year. So, you can already imagine you might start explaining how kids are really greedy. And they often only do things if you pay them, or, that they're generally lazy types, or, they're generally generous types so they help out anyway.

There are lots of different ways that you can talk about what they're thinking and feeling and characterise those kids as either fearful, generous I've already done scared, prideful, selfish, or lazy. And pick one of those and show how it proves that those kids are going to react the way that you said. OK, so that's everything we wanted to say to you today about how to begin to put together great arguments.

I hope that helped. Stay safe out there. And we'll be back next week with more material on how to become a great debater. See you guys.

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