Introduction to Public Forum Debate

4-12 students Debate Public Speaking

Enjoy arguing? This introductory debate course will explore the fundamentals of research, refutation, and rhetoric in Public Forum, a two-on-two debate format. Students will research both sides of a resolution, participate in vocal drills, and test their skills in an optional debate tournament.

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Class Schedule(s)

Class Description

**Class end date is Thursday, August 19th**


    Public Forum is a two-on-two debate format focusing on current events and fact-based resolutions. This introductory debate course will explore the fundamentals of research, refutation, and rhetoric in Public Forum. Students will learn how to construct an argument, research both sides of a topic, and speak persuasively. Additionally, students will be actively engaged in drill-based activities, discussions, and practice rounds.


Students are encouraged to sign up for this course with a partner. If they do not have a partner available, partnerships will be assigned on the first day of class.


To earn credit for this course, students must complete the following:

  1. Work with a partner to construct a debate case and refutations for a given resolution

  2. Conduct online research and format evidence

  3. Participate in class discussions, drills and practice rounds


By the end of this course, students will be well-versed in the following:

  1. Introduction to Argument

Understand the basic structure of an argument: claim, warrant and impact.

  1. Constructing an Argument

Construct a debate case with definitions, framework and contentions.

  1. Research and Evidence

Research, format and present evidence for a claim.

  1. Rebuttals and Clash

Refute an opposing argument by identifying fallacies and inconsistencies.

  1. Delivery and Rhetoric

Use rhetorical strategies to effectively deliver an argument.

  1. Cross-Examination

               Use questions to uncover holes in opposing arguments.


Speech/Crossfire Period



Affirmative Constructive Speech

AFF First Speaker

4 minutes

Negative Constructive Speech

NEG First Speaker

4 minutes

1st Crossfire

AFF First Speaker and NEG First Speaker

3 minutes

Affirmative Rebuttal Speech

AFF Second Speaker

4 minutes

Negative Rebuttal Speech

NEG Second Speaker

4 minutes

2nd Crossfire

AFF Second Speaker and NEG Second Speaker

3 minutes

Affirmative Summary Speech

AFF First Speaker

3 minutes

Negative Summary Speech

NEG First Speaker

3 minutes

Grand Crossfire

All Speakers

3 minutes

Affirmative Final Focus

AFF Second Speaker

2 minutes

Negative Final Focus

NEG Second Speaker

2 minutes

Additional Information

Class size 4-12 students

Computer with internet access, google drive account



Questions about this course?

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About the Instructor

Ursula Neuner

Ursula is an undergraduate at Stanford University. She debated for Bonita Vista High School, specializing in Public Forum (PF) and Lincoln Douglas (LD) debate, ranking as high as 1st in California and 3rd in the country under the National Speech & Debate Association. Most notably, she is a four-year qualifier to the National tournament , where she ranked top 40 nationally two years in a row in PF. Ursula was also the President of her school’s debate team and has coached novice and varsity debaters for three years. She loves Speech and Debate because it offers students a platform to speak on important social and political issues. Through her introductory debate course, students will gain public speaking, research, listening and critical thinking skills, as well as confidence and open-mindedness. Outside of debate, Ursula loves practicing piano, watching basketball and playing video games!

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