Debate: Past and Present

(Fill-in-the-blanks on a piece of paper)


Debate dates back to around the fifth century B.C. when the 1)_________ philosopher Protagoras proposed that for every idea, there must be a corresponding opposite or contrary idea.


Around the same time, other Greek philosophers pioneered the ¨sophistic¨ movement, which focussed on the power of rhetorical 2)_________ mainly in the political arena.


Then along came 3)__________.  He blaimed the Sophists for tricking people into believing them via their ¨gift of gab¨ or for being ¨wordsmiths¨.

So rather than simply persuading people with effective speech or writing, his objective was to seek truths through effective questioning.  And although  Socrates´ questioning strategy and ability to make speakers look bad by proving them wrong was sometimes compared to that of a ¨4)_________ charmer¨, his focus was primarily on logical reasoning and rational thought.  Thus, although effective speech is very important, so is being right!



Just like the Ancient Greeks predicted, public speaking and debate would prove to become one of the most important parts of the democratic process in Western Society.


Here: British Prime Minister 5)______________ during the parliamentary debate on whether to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, December 2, 2015.

In fact, in more than a few occasions during US presidential elections, whether it was what they said or how they said it, the vote was directly influenced by candidates performances in the debate.




The 2012 Presidential Debates between President Obama and 6)____________ Romney show us the effectiveness of strong voice, 7)___________ language and clear developed arguments based on factual examples.  (Watch: 0:55 – 2:00, Romney challenges Obama on the economy, Obama rebuts).


Whereas, the debates for the Republican Primary for the 2016 presidential election more closely resemble a 8)________________.  (Watch: 2:55 – End).



Answers to Fill-in-the-Blanks:

  1. Greek
  2. speech
  3. Socrates
  4. snake
  5. David Cameron
  6. Governor
  7. body
  8. *Answers may vary: ex. game, party, shouting match, really annoying reality show, horrible Hair Club for men Commercial, popularity contest on the Lifestyles of the Rich and “Shameless”, Saturday Night Live skit, WWE Monday Night Raw, Animal Planet special on primates or bunch of drunks.



Antonio Banderas and Pitbull (6:40-fin) respond:

Islamic Extremists by numbers

Watch: start – 1:40 only!


What does it mean to be diplomatic?


DIPLOMACY is the ability to deal with others without causing bad feelings (Merriam-Webster simple definition of Diplomacy, 2015).

So, if you can solve problems without causing bad feelings, you are diplomatic!

Diplomáticos de Relaciones-dos-personas-negotiation-blanco-39557925





Gang Of Youths Fighting


a) What do you think happened?

b) What can they do?  What can you do as a By-Stander?

c) How can you be more diplomatic to resolve conflicts?

Click on the link to see some tips on how to be a  more diplomatic person!






Welcome Back!


Welcome back everyone!  5th graders new to debate, 6th graders who learned a lot last year, 7th and 8th graders who are going to have an extra hour to really have some good, fun debates, and finally all you high schoolers, you know how this works, and you know that I know that you know how to have a good debate!


Well, at the end of last year, you spoke and I listened!  This year will be better than ever! The biggest change will be that there will be more oral discussions and debates, and less reading and written work.  But the audience will be expected to work, recording and reflecting on what the speakers say.  This way nobody will be interrupting!  And everything we do will be “con nota”  !!!


Anyway, do what you have to, and do it your best.  That’s how you will improve your speaking and debating, get a good grade and have fun too!