Championship Group Debate Assignment

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Debates stimulate critical thinking and can be a highly effective way to actively engage students in the classroom. This paper describes a small group debate format in which groups of four to six students debated preassigned topics in microbiology in front of the rest of the class. Rapid advancements in science, especially in microbiology, provide the scaffolding for students to locate and share evidence-based information from a plethora of complex and often conflicting sources. Student-generated debate presentations can be a welcome respite from the lecture format. Debates were scheduled throughout the course to coincide with topics being covered. Questionnaires distributed immediately after each debate revealed that the debates were well received by students and were effective in changing student attitudes and misconceptions. Debate preparation provided students the opportunity to gain proficiency in accessing information from electronic databases, to use resources from professional organizations, and to synthesize and analyze information. In addition, the debate process gave students experience in developing oral communication skills.


Debates are commonly used in academic fields such as history, law, and literature as a way for students to discuss different points of view on a topic, but they have been used less often in sciences (2, 11). Early debates focused on philosophical and theological topics (14). As a teaching pedagogy, the fields of law, history, and literature have traditionally offered many topics on which to debate. Recently, emerging scientific technologies such as cell and molecular biotechnology have changed the way that students think about science (1). Bringing current scientific issues into the classroom helps students relate science to everyday problems and use scientific evidence to critically assess societal challenges. Debates provide the scaffolding for evaluating relevant issues.

The use of debate provides students with an opportunity to develop critical thinking skills (3, 4, 5, 6). The thinking starts with the preparation students must do before the debate. Through reading and research the students extract pertinent information and analyze which ideas support their assigned position. The ideas are then synthesized into formidable arguments. For effectiveness during the debate, the ideas must be pertinent and succinct.

During the debate, students use verbal communication and organizational skills. To convince the audience, they must rely on a well-planned analysis of the arguments that support and refute their point of view. Carroll and colleagues (3) have documented that students developed oral communication and argumentation skills using small group debates in an undergraduate natural resources policy class. Radford University developed and implemented a multidisciplinary oral communication program using a debate format that demonstrated significant improvement in students’ oral communication skills (4).

Debate is superior to other teaching methods in helping students to develop their own viewpoints (5). Students are asked to analyze positions that may or may not be those with which they are comfortable. The students present opposing sides of an issue without teacher bias. Each side of the debate is seen as credible and legitimate (5). Students can argue a position without fear of exposing personal viewpoints in front of their peers. Debate provides a unique opportunity for students to come out of their comfort zone to try positions that they may not have otherwise entertained and to change their opinions.

A small group format for debates gives each debater an active role (2, 3). Students were randomly placed into groups of only two or three students on each team, resulting in four to six student debaters for each topic. (With only two or three members per team, there was a greater chance that all team members would be actively involved.) The remainder of the students made up the audience of listeners. Studies have found that when whole-class debates occur, more reserved students are less likely to actively participate (11). Other considerations were the tendency for males to be more comfortable than females in adversarial environments and the preference of some cultural groups for harmony over open opposition (14).

The small group debates resemble a fishbowl discussion, in which students sit in a circle within a circle or a center-stage formation. When debates are set up in this manner, students who form the audience benefit from critically evaluating the debaters on content, involvement, language, and speech (10). Fishbowl discussions used in the field of psychology have demonstrated positive learning opportunities for students (8).

The debate format has been criticized for oversimplifying complex issues into dichotomous options (14). The use of small groups debating in front of the rest of the class allows for diverse evaluation of the issues by the student listeners, who are observing the debaters. The students who are listening are less focused on winning or losing the debate and can offer critical evaluation of the arguments presented. During the classroom discussion following the debate students may assess the ambiguity and complexity of the issues, in addition to judging who won or lost the debate.

A small group debate activity is an effective teaching pedagogy with many desirable outcomes. Debates help students develop discussion and listening skills, (7, 10) promote active learning (3, 12), and improve critical thinking skills (5, 10). Small group debates are simple to implement, well received and enjoyed by students (2, 4), and are of benefit to both debating students and listeners (7, 10).

Intended audience

This activity was done with sophomore nursing students in an introductory microbiology course. It is intended to be used as a classroom activity in a biology or microbiology course. While this activity could be used with any level of undergraduate students, some freshman students may not have the necessary critical thinking and library skills to prepare meaningful arguments for debates. Debate activities in introductory courses, while requiring more teacher preparation, offer opportunities for students to critically assess both sides of scientific issues at a point in their education when they may not have already formed strong opinions on the topics prior to these debates. Upper-level students can also benefit from this activity, but may be less open to new ideas.

Prerequisite student knowledge

Students need a basic understanding of fundamental terminology to research, evaluate, and understand arguments. Allied health and science majors may already have acquired these skills through prerequisite courses such as General Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and freshman seminars. My students were familiar with using library databases to search professional literature, but assistance with references could be provided for students who are not familiar with college-level research. Students don’t need to be experts on the subject matter or to have prior debate experience to succeed with this curriculum activity (13). Students can be reminded that they engage in debate processes in all areas of their lives whenever they express their opinions or persuade others to make decisions in their favor (13). Specifically, students should be able: to explain controversies surrounding subject matter in microbiology; to analyze relevant material and defend positions on current issues in microbiology (even when the position differs from their own) based on factual arguments; to collaborate with and in opposition to peers in preparing to present an organized debate; and to orally communicate controversial ideas in a convincing manner.

Learning objectives

At the completion of this activity, each student will be able to:

  1. In collaboration with peers, design and orally present a debate position concerning a controversy in microbiology.

  2. Formulate an opinion about controversies in microbiology based on an active learning activity.

Appendix 1 lists the learning objectives with corresponding evidence and a summary of the outcomes.


Learning time and preparation

The design was intended to extend the debates over the course of one semester, with single debates taking 30 to 50 minutes of class time. No debates were scheduled during the first month of class, to allow students time to prepare arguments and rebuttals for the first debates. Class time varied depending on the length of class discussion following the debate presentation. A debate was scheduled approximately once every two to three weeks to coincide with lecture topics. The debates used parts of seven class periods over the semester and counted for ten percent of the course grade.

Activity 1 (week 1 or 2 of class): Selection of debate topics, introduction to the assignment, distribution of instructions, and sample reference lists.

Activity 2 (week 4): Debate on viruses: are viruses alive?

Activity 3 (week 5 or 6): Debate on the benefits versus risks of genetic engineering.

Activity 4 (week 7 or 8): Debate on the benefits versus risks of using antibacterial compounds in household products.

Activity 5 (week 9 or 10): Debate on the advantages versus disadvantages of mandatory blood testing for pathogens for all newly admitted hospital patients to control infection rates.

Activity 6 (week 11 or 12): Debate on the benefits versus risks of mandatory early childhood immunizations.

Activity 7 (week 13 or 14): Debate on the benefits versus risks of requiring all students to be immunized against human papilloma virus (HPV) and meningococcal disease.

Instructor preparation started with identifying appropriate topics, sample references, dates for each debate, and dividing students into teams (Appendix 2). Topic assignments were random, so some students found themselves assigned debate positions that they did not necessarily agree with. Along with the students’ names, the sign-up sheets also contained suggestions for references. Although provision of suggested references reduces the student’s responsibility for conducting research, it may be necessary for students who are in introductory courses or who have little research experience. Sample articles can also help focus students on what position they should take toward a debate resolution (9). Teacher-guided topics may also help fit the debate into a shorter amount of class time (13). In addition to consulting the listed references, students were expected to identify and utilize additional evidence-based research to support their arguments on the topics under debate.

Next, a handout was distributed and discussed, containing the learning objectives and assignment instructions (Appendix 3) and a copy of the grading rubric (Appendix 4).

After the debate the instructor distributed a questionnaire (Table 1) to all students. The questionnaire was to gather students’ opinions regarding the value of the activity as a learning experience, to provide an opportunity for students to reflect on what they learned about the subject under debate, and to evaluate whether or not students changed their opinions. Debaters had the opportunity to reflect on how well their team members had worked together to complete their preparations.

Instructors who are not familiar with the debate process will find a wealth of information on web sources such as the University of Vermont’s Debate Central and the publications of the International Debate Education Association (13).


The classroom was organized so that the two teams were standing on opposite sides at the front of the room where they were visible to the rest of the class. Most teams used PowerPoint presentations to add graphics and to bullet-emphasize major points. A computer with projection capability was needed for PowerPoint presentations. No additional materials were required.

Safety issues

As a classroom activity, there were no major safety concerns with this activity.

Debate procedure

Each debate took place during 30 to 45 minutes of one class period. Instructions given to students are presented in Appendix 3. During the first round, both groups of debating students were allowed ten minutes each to present their points of view. The activity started with the affirmative position. The debating students on the affirmative side were asked to define terms, to support the main case, and to summarize major points. Next, the negative side was given ten minutes to present its opposing arguments, during which they could refute definitions, outline the opposing case, and summarize the opposing point of view. The second set of speeches followed the same order with a five minute time frame for presentation of constructive arguments. The formal debate concluded with five-minute rebuttals. Class discussion followed. The instructor used a grading rubric (Appendix 4) during the debate to score each team. Sample student PowerPoint presentations for two debates are presented in Appendix 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Following the debate, a questionnaire (Table 1) was distributed that asked each student to rate the value of the debate as a learning experience and to disclose whether the student changed his or her opinion on the topic under debate. Debaters were also asked to reflect on the contribution made by each team member. The instructor later spoke individually with each student on those teams on which some students expressed concerns that the work was not equally divided. In rare cases, where all students agreed that one or more team members did not make significant efforts to contribute, an individual’s grade was lowered by 10 to 20 percent. In most cases, however, all team members received the same grade for this activity.


Field testing

The debate activity was field-tested over four semesters by the same instructor in four introductory microbiology classes of 26 to 30 students. Debate topics varied, but all four classes did debates on viruses, genetic engineering, antibacterial compounds in household products, and the use of early childhood immunizations. Data was collected for these debates from a total of 97 students.

According to the student questionnaires (Table 1) that were completed immediately after each debate, 97% to 100% of students agreed or strongly agreed that the debate improved their understanding of the topic (Table 2). Comments on the questionnaires indicate that students enjoyed watching their classmates argue topics that were relevant to the units they were beginning to study at that time in the course. While the debates could be scheduled before or after the instructor presented the topics in class, the benefits of planning debates while the material was still new to the students appeared to allow them to form their own opinions on the topics. The brevity (five to ten minutes) of the debaters’ arguments tended to hold the listeners’ interest and to keep the class engaged in the topic. After the debate, by a show of hands, the listeners informally rated the debaters on which team was the more convincing. After some debates, the listeners thought that the side with the least popular view did the best job of defending its position. This gave students the opportunity to reflect that strong arguments can be made for unpopular positions.


Student questionnaire results.

Debate proved a useful tool for opening students’ minds to change. As educators we want students to be open to change and to formulate their own opinions. We are often encumbered by the preconceived notions that our students acquire before taking our classes and by instructor bias. A positive result of the debates was that a large percentage (25% to 79%) of students changed their mind after listening to the debates (Table 2).

There was wide variability (55% to 79%) in whether the debaters agreed with the position they were assigned (Table 2). Students arguing for positions for which they disagreed served as role models for situations when health care professions are obligated to support patients’ decisions even when they may not agree with the choices the patients have made.

Evidence of student learning

Each student was assessed for their debate using the grading rubric (Appendix 4). The correlation between the student debate grades and overall course grades was 83%, with the debate grade being the higher of the two grades. This indicates that most students took the debate assignment seriously and put in their usual effort or more. It is possible that some students who did not usually perform well in the class might have received debate grades that were higher than their normal grades because of their group’s collaborative efforts.

The values on the grading rubrics indicates that the highest level of competence achieved for the learning objectives was for explaining the controversies surrounding the subject matter. The high grades on the grading rubric for this objective indicate that students had identified relevant material and were able to explain the controversies using factual information. Also high were grades related to students’ being able to formulate their own opinions. However, some groups were more persuasive and thus did a better job defending their positions than others. There were several reasons for this. While some students gathered adequate amounts of information, they failed to analyze the importance of one argument over another, thereby not devoting adequate time to the most important arguments. Groups that had not spent enough time collaborating also gave presentations that were less convincing. The evidence they presented tended to be formatted as separate facts and not synthesized around one or two central themes. A few groups used arguments that lacked credible scientific evidence. By far the most challenging of the learning objectives was oral communication. Most students had difficulty delivering the debate, often reading from prepared note cards and not making eye contact with the audience.

Students in the audience were active in post-debate discussions. They were anxious to express their opinions after hearing both sides of the issue. Although not every student spoke during the discussions, all appeared anxious to express their opinion with a show of hands. The high percentage (97%–100%) of students who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “This debate improved my understanding of the topic,” indicates a high level of student participation in preparing, presenting, and listening to small group debates.

Possible modifications

Debates could be used to introduce students to new units of study, with debaters responsible for defining and explaining new terms relating to their debate. This method engages students right away with the relevance of the new topic to current issues, but would not be practical in classes where students have do not have strong science backgrounds.

If students need more assistance with research methods, the instructor could provide a sample article along with the list of suggested references that is provided on the sign-up sheets.

Creativity levels among debate teams varied and could create bias in the listeners. Some teams created surveys or activities for the listeners who were the audience. For example, when arguing the need for antibacterial compounds in household products, one team asked the class to rank a list of places in the home where the highest levels of bacteria are commonly found. This activity biased the audience to the degree that 100% of them agreed that there is a need for antimicrobial compounds in household products. It appeared that the more engaging the debate presentation was, the more likely students were to accept those arguments, rather than basing their opinions on the scientific evidence that was presented. In this case, the instructor highlighted some of the opposing team’s arguments so there could be a class discussion based on scientific evidence. However, the instructor supported all students in their opinions. Recognition and understanding of both sides of an argument are skills that are necessary in dealing with patients in the medical field.

The size of the debate teams could be varied to accommodate larger or smaller classes. Also, topics could be changed to relate to relevant course material, as well as to current issues in the subject. Thus, debates are a flexible pedagogy that can be modified to suit the individual instructor and course content.


This research was partially funded by Endicott College research funds and a Davis Foundation Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant, also from Endicott College. The author also wishes to acknowledge the Biology Scholars Program (formerly the Scholars in Residence Program) of the American Society for Microbiology for guidance and inspiration in developing the study, and Endicott College biology/biotechnology student Kelsey Panakio for assistance with data collection.

The author declares that there are no conflicts of interest.


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2. Armstrong MK, Weber K. Genetic engineering: a lesson on bioethics for the classroom. Am Biol. Teacher. 1991;53:294–297. doi: 10.2307/4449297.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

3. Carroll MS, Alt FJ, Brandenburg AM, Schlosser WE, Daniels SE. Tournament-style debate as a natural resources education technique. J Nat Resour Life Sci Educ. 1993;22:158–162.

4. Cronin M. Debating to learn across the curriculum: implementation and assessment. Paper presented at the Southern States Communication Association Convention; April 1990; Birmingham, AL. 1990.

5. Garrett M, Schoener L, Hood L. Debate: a teaching strategy to improve verbal communication and critical-thinking skills. Nurse Educ. 1996;21:37–40. doi: 10.1097/00006223-199607000-00015.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

6. Joung S, Keller JM. The effects of high-structure cooperative versus low-structure collaborative design of decision change, critical thinking, and interaction pattern during online debates. Presentation at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology; October 19–23, 2004; Chicago, IL. 2004.

7. Moeller TG. Using classroom debates in teaching developmental psychology. Teach Psychol. 1985;12:207–209. doi: 10.1207/s15328023top1204_5.[Cross Ref]

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  • Debating Topics of The 3rd Elementary School Championship 2017
CategoryRoundType of TopicTopic
Preliminary Round
(General / EFL)
1RoundImpromptu debateTopic for Education
2RoundImpromptu debateTopic for Ethics
3RoundImpromptu debateTopic for Media
(General / EFL)
1RoundImpromptu debateTopic for Culture
2RoundImpromptu debateTopic for History
3RoundImpromptu debateTopic for Society
4RoundImpromptu debateTopic for Science

*This Topics are subject to change.

  • Debating Topics of The 7th Middle School Championship 2016
CategoryRoundType of TopicTopic
Round 1Impromptu debate-
Round 2Impromptu debate-
Round 3Prepared debateEconomy
THW not tax the poor
Round 4Impromptu debate-
Round 5Impromptu debate-
RoundRound 16 /
EFL Round 8
Impromptu debate-
Round 8 /
EFL Round 4
Impromptu debate-
Round 4Impromptu debate-
EFL Grand FinalsPrepared debateDevelopment
TH prefers a global tax system to aid
Grand FinalsPrepared debateBioethics
Assuming feasibility, THBT the military
should aggressively engage in the genetic
and bionic enhancement of consenting

*This Topics are subject to change.

  • Debating Topics of The 8th High School Championship 2016
CategoryRoundType of TopicTopic
Round 1Impromptu debate-
Round 2Impromptu debate-
Round 3Prepared debateInternational Relations
THBT regional integration
is imperative for sustainable development
Round 4Impromptu debate-
Round 5Impromptu debate-
RoundRound 16 /
EFL Round 8
Impromptu debate-
Round 8 /
EFL Round 4
Impromptu debate-
Round 4Impromptu debate-
EFL Grand FinalsPrepared debateDemocracy
THBT democracy has failed the poor
Grand FinalsPrepared debateBioethics
Assuming feasibility, THW permit the cloning of extraordinary individuals for the good of society

*This Topics are subject to change.

CategoryType of TopicTopic
Preliminary round 1Impromptu debateRound 1: Children’s Rights
· THBT child labor is justified
· THBT sparing the rod spoils the child
THB hagwons (private academies) are another form of child exploitation
Preliminary round 2Prepared debateRound 2:
THW go vegetarian
Preliminary round 3Impromptu debateRound 3: Law and Order
· THW ban electronic devices while driving
· THW raise the legal drinking age
THW legalize the sale of marijuana
Preliminary round 4Prepared debateRound 4:
THBT unions do more harm than good
Preliminary round 5Impromptu debateRound 5: Culinary Controversies
· THBT Japan has a right to fish whales
· THW legalize the sale of dog meat
THW breed exotic animals for consumption
Round 16Impromptu debateOctos: Terrorism
· THS the use of force against opposition movements
· THW ban broadcasting of recordings from terrorists
· THW torture terrorists
EFL Grand FinalsEFL Semis: Sports
· THBT money is ruining sport
· THW allow performance enhancing drugs in sports
· THW equalize prize money for male and female athletes
Round 8Prepared debateQuarters:
THS the use of opium licenses in Afghanistan
EFL Quarter-finalsEFL Finals:
THW sell organs for profit
Round 4Impromptu debateSemis: International Relations
· TH prefers sanctions to war
· THW exploit Antarctica for natural resources
· THW grant immunity from prosecution to dictators who step down
Grand FinalsPrepared debateFinals: THS an aid invasion
CategoryType of TopicTopic
Preliminary round 1Impromptu debateRound 1: Television & Entertainment
1. THW ban beauty pageants from national television.
2. THS exclusive broadcasting rights of sporting events.
3. THBT celebrities are positive role models for teenagers.
Preliminary round 2Prepared debateRound 2 (Prepared):
THBT science is a threat to humanity.
Preliminary round 3Impromptu debateRound 3: Education
1. THW use the library over Wikipedia for homework.
2. THS a teacher evaluation system.
3. THBT publishing university rankings does more harm than good.
Preliminary round 4Prepared debateRound 4 (Prepared):
THS water privatization.
Preliminary round 5Impromptu debateRound 5: Gender Equality
1. THW set a quota for male elementary school teachers.
2. THS paying wages to housewives.
3. THW mandate corporations to grant paternity leave.
Round 16Impromptu debateOcto Finals Crime & Punishment
1. THW disclose information of sex offenders to all citizens.
2. THW prosecute teenagers as adults for heinous felonies.
3. THW allow prisoners to donate their organs in exchange for lighter sentences.
EFL Grand FinalsEFL Semi Finals: Environment
1. THW stop investing in bio-fuel.
2. THW ban cars in city centers.
3. THBT environmental protection should be prioritized over economic development.
Round 8Prepared debateQuarter Finals (Prepared):
THBT colonialism was good for Africa.
EFL Quarter-finalsEFL Grand Finals (Prepared):
THW ban all requirements on looks for employment.
Round 4전 Impromptu debateSemi Finals: Democracy
1. THW abolish presidential term limits.
2. THBT civil disobedience is essential to democracy.
3. THW prefers strong dictatorships to weak democracies in developing nations.
Grand FinalsPrepared debateGrand Finals (Prepared):
THBT higher education is a prerequisite for happiness.
CategoryType of TopicTopic
Preliminary round 1Impromptu debateRound 1(Impromptu)
1. THW prosecute parents who impose extra curricular activities upon their children against their will as equivelent to child abuse.
2. THBT national health insurance system should charge differently depending on lifestyle choices.
3. THW make counseling mandatory for all substance abusers and their family.
Preliminary round 2Prepared debateRound 2(Prepared)
This House Believes That public figures should be allowed the right to withhold press materials concerning their private Conduct.
Preliminary round 3Impromptu debateRound 3(Impromptu)
1. THW disallow minors from participating in political protests.
2. THBT ministers should be voted in through general elections.
3. THW subsidize broadcasting time for minority parties.
Preliminary round 4Prepared debateRound 4(Prepared)
This House Believes That the West should prioritize giving development aid to nations who suffer from the exploitation of their MNCs(Multi-National Corporations)
Preliminary round 5Impromptu debateRound 5(Impromptu)
1. Developed nations should stop exporting energy sources that are particularly harmful to the environment.
2. THW NOT pay pension to executives who leave their companies troubled.
3. THW set a quota for employment of senior citizens.
Round 16Impromptu debateOcto-Finals(Impromptu)
1. THBT Palestine should cease all attempts to gain recognition as an independent state.
2. THBT heads of states should not hold official meetings with religious figures.
3. THW dissolve the NATO.
EFL Grand FinalsEFL Semis(Impromptu)
1. THBT public figures should not make comments correlating women's attire to sexual crimes.
2. THW introduce LGBT in compulsory sex education in public schools
3. THBT women who bear more children than average should receive pension from state.
Round 8Prepared debateQuarter Finals (Prepared):
This House Would impose an affirmative action for ‘mix-race’ children of Korea in university entrance.
EFL Quarter-finalsEFL Grand Finals (Prepared):
This House Believes That the state should selectively support arts and culture that portray national identity.
Round 4전 Impromptu debateSemi-Finals(Impromptu)
1. THBT water should never be commercialized in Sub-Saharan Africa.
2. THW force relocation of the homeless to rural areas
3. TH Rejects trade agreements with states who perpetrate cross-border pollution in favor of economic development.
Grand FinalsPrepared debateGrand Finals (Prepared):
This House Believes that national security should not be accepted as an excuse for damahing the environment.
Round 1Impromptu Democracy
1.THW lift all term limits on politicians
2.THW remove the president’s authority to grant pardon on convicted criminals
3.THBT political parties should hold Elementary elections to select their presidential candidates
Round 2Prepared Minority
This House Supports the Anti-discrimination Act on racism
Round 3ImpromptuEnvironment
1.THW stop seeking for international cooperation in the fight against global warming
2.THBT the punishment for killing endangered animals should be equal to that of homicide
3.THW disallow oi companies from running advertisements depicting themselves as environmentally friendly
Round 4PreparedInternational Relations
This House believes that the Korean government should sue Japan on behalf of the victims of Imperial Japan
Round 5ImpromptuMedia
1.THBT the govt should not hold ownership stake in media companies
2.THBT the media should not specify the ethnicity of convicted criminals
3.THW offer subsidies for the production of movies and TV shows featuring LGBT celebrities
Octos ImpromptuTaxes And Econ
1.THW lift all tax benefits based on charitable donations
2.THBT Germany should leaver the Euro Zone
3.THBT taxpayers' money should not be used to subsideize corporations
EFL QuartersImpromptuEconomy
Quarters Prepared Law & Order
This House believes that private companies should be able to invest in civil law suits
EFL SemisImpromptuEducation
1.THBT ethics classes should be removed from public school curricula
2.THW introduce mandatory vocational programs in all high schools
3.THW remove all restrictions on hagwons
SemisImpromptu National Security
THBT torture is a legitimate method of interrogation in fighting terrorism
THBT military officials should not be forbidden from criticizing the government
THW recognize North Korea as an independent country
EFL Finals Prepared The Middles East
This house believes that the Arab league should not comment on the pursuit of democracy in the Middle East
Grand Finals Prepared Science
This house would prioritize funding scientific research over social welfare programs
PreliminaryRound 1ImpromptuEducation and children
Round 2PreparedTHW end energy subsidies in Korea
Round 3ImpromptuInternational relations
Round 4PreparedTHBT falsehood should be a required condition for defamation of character charges to stand in Korea
Round 5ImpromptuRights
EFLRound 8PreparedTHBT governments should not mandate that citizens have health insurance
Round 4ImpromptuEnvironment
Quarter-finalsPreparedTHBT tax evasion should not have a statute of limitations
EFLRound 16PreparedTHS state mandated childhood vaccinations
Round 8ImpromptuEconomics
Round 4ImpromptuLaw
Quarter-finalsPreparedTHBT fossil fuel-based energy companies should pay higher taxes in order to subsidize clean energy technology

1) PreliminaryTopic

Preliminary round 1 Impromptu debateEducation
1. THBT provincial education superintendents should be appointed, not elected.
2. TH regrets the emphasis on academic excellence in education.
3. THW integrate disabled students into regular schools.
Preliminary round 2Impromptu debateAnimals
1. THW place an additional tax on meat produced through factory farming.
2. THBT it is unethical to own pets that have been bred to become incredibly small.
3. THW ban animal fights.
Preliminary round 3Prepared debateNortheast Asia
THBT the USA should close all their bases in Northeast Asia.
Preliminary round 4Impromptu debateInternational Relations
1. THBT Israel should be held morally responsible for poverty in the Palestinian territories.
2. THBT the South Korean government has a moral obligation to pay the Filipino government for the support of Kopino children.
3. TH regrets the use of negative images of Africa by international charity organizations as a means to raise funds.
Preliminary5Round Impromptu debateMedia
1. THBT states should give online papers subsidies based on their digital reader base.
2. THS the right of Korean celebrities to appear in advertisements against their country’s policies.
3. THBT the media should not report on the private lives of politicians.

2) EFLTopic

Round 16Impromptu debateChoices
1. THW ban religious cults
2. THW ban the sale of alcohol to people under the age of 21
3. THW ban artificially flavored cigarettes
EFL Round 8Censorship
1. THW censor the publication of any form of biomedical research that could pose a threat to human health in the hands of terrorists.
2. THW end all restrictions to free speech under the National Security Act.
3. THW censor sexually provocative dancing in music videos
Round 8Impromptu debateTechnology
1. THS a right to be forgotten
2. THBT social media platforms have the to right to promote posts to influence a user's mood
3. THBT smart phones have created a society with less meaningful interaction
EFL Grand FinalsWorkers Rights
1. THW prohibit public sector employees from joining unions
2. THW ban retired government officials from taking private sector jobs in related fields
3. THW abolish all forms of mandatory retirement ages
Round 4 Impromptu debateRadical Reform
1. THS the free trade of rice
2. THS an 80% tax on the top 1% of incomes
3. THW abolish mandatory military service
EFL Quarter-finals Prepared debateTechnology
THBT all lectures in every public university should be made freely vailable online
Grand Finals Prepared debateScience
THW halt all research into identifying genes responsible for homosexuality

1) Preliminary Topic

CategoryType of TopicTopic
Round 1ImpromptuNorth and South THBT the US-South Korean alliance should threaten to invade North Korea if it does not stop violating the human rights of its citizens.
THBT South Korea should cooperate with North Korea to demand that Japan properly compensate for crimes of the colonial era.
THBT South Korea should abandon the goal of national reunification.
Round 2ImpromptuFantasy TH, as Hogwarts, would accept muggles as students.
THW register all mutants with superpowers, documenting their numbers, abilities and whereabouts.
TH, as Heungbu, would not forgive Nolbu.
Round 3Prepared THBT it was a mistake to create a common European currency.
Round 4ImpromptuInternet THW allow corporations to use hackers to retaliate against cyberattacks where the state is unwilling or unable to do so.
THW block non-educational Internet sites in schools.
THW create a new international organization to regulate the internet.
Round 5ImpromptuPolitics THBT politicians should be required to pass a civil service exam before they can compete in elections.
TH, as the US government, would give Edward Snowden amnesty.
THW ban high ranking government officials from working in corporations after their resignation.

2) EFL Topic

CategoryType of TopicTopic
EFL QuartersImpromptuUniversities THBT publicly funded universities should be required to reduce enrollment in degree programs that have statistically poor employment outcomes.
THW abolish all systems that attempt to rank universities.
THBT university students should be able to freely change their majors until their second year.
EFL SemisImpromptuLicenses THW not grant marriage licenses to people who have been repeatedly convicted of abuse of previous spouses or children.
THW change the minimum age for drivers licenses to sixteen.
THW allow Uber to operate as an alternative to taxis.
EFL FinalPreparedEconomy THBT family-owned conglomerates (Chaebol) do more harm than good for the South Korean economy.

3) Round Topic

CategoryType of TopicTopic
Main OctosImpromptuMedia THBT the media should depict horrific and graphic images of war.
In liberal democracies, THBT the media has a duty to avoid reporting stories that would contribute to social unrest.
THBT social media has done more harm than good for journalism.
Main QuartersImpromptuHealth THW ban homeopathy treatments. (homeopathy = 동종요법)
TH regrets Korea's efforts to attract plastic surgery tourists.
THW allow designer babies.
Main SemisImpromptuEthics THBT it is justified for politicians to lie to the public if they believe it will result in better policies.
THBT the animal rights movement should stop comparing abuse of animals to abuse of humans.
THW kill one to save many.
Main FinalPreparedScience THBT STEM education should be prioritized over the humanities.
CategoryType of TopicTopic
Preliminary round 1Impromptu debateRound 1: Television & EntertainmentM
1. THW pay teachers according to the performances of their students.
2. THW mandate students to fill certain hours of extracurricular activities.
3. THW require all Elementary schools to include debate in their curriculum.
Preliminary round 2Prepared debateRound 2 (Prepared): THW negotiate with terrorists.
Preliminary round 3Impromptu debateRound 3: Education
1.THW only allow adults to undergo plastic surgery.
2. THBT studying abroad does more harm than good to minors.
3. THW impose an online game curfew for minors.
Preliminary round 4Prepared debateRound 4 (Prepared): THW ban space exploration.
Preliminary round 5Impromptu debateRound 5: Gender Equality
1. THW ban airbrushing(digital enhancement)for advertisements.
2. THBT celebrities should be subject to harsher punishment for their crimes.
3. THW censor gangster rap.
Round 16Impromptu debateOcto Finals Crime & Punishment
1. THBT prisoners have the right to vote
2. THW use whipping for criminal punishment.
3. THBT public surveillance cameras are ineffective in combating crime.
EFL Grand FinalsEFL Semi Finals: Environment
1. THW legalize abortion.
2. THW ban teenagers from entering PC rooms.
3. TH supports the four-river restoration project.
Round 8Prepared debateQuarter Finals (Prepared):
THBT child labor is justified in developing nations.
EFL Quarter-finalsEFL Grand Finals (Prepared):
THW ban Genetic screening
Round 4전 Impromptu debateSemi Finals: Democracy
1. THBT the government should totally ban smoking.
2. TH supports gay marriage.
3. TH supports free public transportation
Grand FinalsPrepared debateGrand Finals (Prepared):
THW mandate organ donation after death
CategoryType of TopicTopic
Preliminary round 1Impromptu debateRound 1: Education
1.THW ban homeschooling
2.THW allow the use of corporal punishment in schools
3.THW institute a mandatory 8pm closing time for all ‘hagwons’
Preliminary round 2Prepared debateRound 2 (Prepared):
Taxpayers money should be used to compensate the entertainment industry for losses due to piracy.
Preliminary round 3Impromptu debateRound 3: Entertainment
1.THBT people that have had cosmetic surgery should not be allowed in pop music groups that cater to teenagers.
2.THBT we should ban professional video game playing
3.THBT social networking sites should be required to provide parents with access to the accounts of their children
Preliminary round 4Prepared debateRound 4 (Prepared):
Products of government sponsored research should be released without patents for citizens of that state.
Preliminary round 5Impromptu debateRound 5: Health
1.THW require minors to be accompanied by an adult to Purchase fast food.
2.THBT obese children should be required to attend additional physical education classes in school
3.THBT smoking cigarettes should not be shown in TV shows or in movies.
Round 16Impromptu debateOcto Finals: Rights
1. THBT students should have the right to create non-academic rules that apply in their schools
2.THBT voting in national elections should be compulsory 3.THBT it is cruel to eat animals
EFL Grand FinalsEFL Semi Finals: Technology
1.THW end all government funding for space exploration
2.THBT smartphones do more harm than good / THW allow smart ph ones in the classroom
3.THW ban digital enhancement of models in magazines
Round 8Prepared debateQuarter Finals (Prepared):
Refugees granted asylum in one state in the Eyropean Union should not be then allowed to move freely within the EU.
EFL Quarter-finalsEFL Grand Finals (Prepared):
Governments should censor music with violent lyrics.
Round 4전 Impromptu debateSemi Finals: Environment
1.This house supports using violence to protect the environment
2.THW invest in protecting the environment over reducing poverty
3.THS the use of nuclear energy
Grand FinalsPrepared debateGrand Finals (Prepared):
parents should be given proxy votes on behalf of their children.
CategoryType of TopicTopic
Preliminary round 1Impromptu debateEducation
1.THW make a computer science class mandatory for high school graduation.
2.THBT educating Korean students abroad does more harm than good.
3.THBT teachers should not be allowed to go on strike.
1.THBT Korean students should go to college in Korea.
2.THW ban single sex universities.
3.THW replace exams with continuous assessment.
Preliminary round 2Prepared debateTHW institute a minimum quota for women on corporate boards of directors
Preliminary round 3Impromptu debateLaw and Order.
1.THW ban sports betting..
2.THBT those convicted of drunk driving should always serve time in prison..
3.THBT politicians should not have immunity from criminal prosecution.
Impromptu debateLaw and Order
1.THW televise criminal trials in Korea.
2.THBT divorcing couples should split all assets equally.
3.THBT judges should be elected by the public.
Preliminary round 4Prepared debateTHW impose economic and cultural sanctions on lsrael.
Preliminary 5 RoundImpromptu debateNational Security
1.THW allow the government to monitor citizens' emails and social networking profiles.
2.THBT women should also perform two years of mandatory military service in South Korea.
3.TH supports the assassination of suspected terrorists.
Preliminary round 5Impromptu debateNational Security
1.THBT South Korea should end mandatory military service.
2.THBT the South Korean government should allow its citizens to travel freely to North Korea.
3.THW allow the government to imprison terrorism suspects indefinitely without a trial.
EFL Round 32Prepared debateTHW vote for Mitt Romney in the US Presidential.
EFL Round 16Impromptu debateHealth
1.THW ban smoking in all public places.
2.THW ban all alcohol advertising.
3.THW ban junk food in schools.
Round 16Impromptu debateEnvironment
1.THBT Japan should permanently close down all its nuclear reactors.
2.THBT people should be taxed based on the amount of trash they produce.
3.TH supports Korea's right to conduct scientific whaling expeditions.
EFL Round 8Prepared debateTHBT the government should provide complete funding for all Olympic athletes.
Round 8Prepared debateTHW require Korean companies to grant fathers three months paid paternity leave upon the birth of their child.
EFL Grand FinalsImpromptu debateInternational Relations
1.THBT the US military should leave South Korea.
2.THBT South Korea should not seek reunification with the North.
3.THBT cultural treasures should be returned to their countries of origin.
Round 4Impromptu debateSocial Issues
1.THBT entertainers convicted of serious crimes should not be eligible for professional awards.
2.THW ban the sale of clothes made from fur.
3.TH supports a person's right to die.
EFL Quarter-finalsPrepared debateTHBT the families of politicians should be required to make full financial disclosures.
Quarter-finalsPrepared debateTHBT the Korean government shold compile a comprehensive national DNA database.
CategoryType of TopicTopic
PreliminaryRound 1ImpromptuEducation
Round 2PreparedTHW ban people with a criminal record from standing for political office
Round 3ImpromptuLaw
Round 4PreparedTHBT South Korea should have its own nuclear weapons
Round 5ImpromptuRights
EFLRound 16PreparedTHW allow homosexuals to openly serve in the Korean military.
Round 8ImpromptuKorea
Round 4ImpromptuCulture and Sport
Quarter-finalsPreparedTHW remove all mandatory minimum prison sentences.
EFLRound 32PreparedTTHBT government bailouts of companies should be conditional on the firing of their top executives
Round 16ImpromptuMorality and Society
Round 8ImpromptuPolitics and Government
Round 4ImpromptuInternational Relations
Quarter-finalsPreparedAssuming the technology exists, THW allow parents to select the gender of their child

1) August 05, the first day of Preliminary Topic

Preliminary round 1 Impromptu debatePolitics
1. THBT government surveillance of citizens does more harm than good in a democracy (government surveillance means the government's observation of citizen's communications and behavior)
2. THW abolish the Ministry of Unification
3. THBT celebrities should not run in elections
Preliminary round 2Impromptu debateEducation
1. THW not use multiple choice exams to evaluate middle school students in Korea
2. THW extend the Korean mandatory education system to university
3. THW assign students to different classes based on academic ability starting from elementary school
Preliminary 3RoundPrepared debate THW grant a two year work visa to anyone who completes a degree from a Korean university.
Preliminary round 4Impromptu debateGender
1. THW ban advertising based on gender stereotypes
2. THBT half of the candidates selected by Korean political parties for National Assembly elections should be female.
3. THBT mandatory military service for women is beneficial for the feminist movement
Preliminary round 5Economics
1. THW limit medium and large companies to a maximum of 15% non-regular employees (non-regular employees: 비정규직)
2. THW replace all welfare programs with a basic income (basic income: a certain amount of money paid to every citizen each year)
3. THBT developed nations should set maximum rents for apartments in cities.

2) August 06, Preliminary Second Day Topic

Preliminary round 1 Impromptu debateSeoul
1.THW force large corporations to move their headquarters outside of the Seoul metropolitan area.
2. THW move the capital of South Korea.
3. THS the construction of super skyscrapers in Seoul
Preliminary round 2Impromptu debateFamily
1. THW entitle housewives and house husbands to claim a fixed wage from their working spouses
2. THW require children's consent for parents' divorce.
3. THW punish the parents of extremely overweight children.
Preliminary 3RoundPrepared debate THW grant a two year work visa to anyone who completes a degree from a Korean university.
Preliminary round 4Impromptu debateSchools
1. THW require all specialized high schools in Korea to convert to standard high schools
2. THW create LGBTQ exclusive schools (LGBTQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, and Questioning)
3. TH supports exaggeration of positive aspects of history in public school textbooks.
Preliminary round 5Policy
1. THBT minors who pass a test on government and politics should be allowed to vote (minors are people under the voting age)
2. THBT prisoners who can afford to should be required to pay for their meals
3. THBT passing drug and alcohol tests should be a requirement to receive welfare benefits

3) EFLTopic

EFL Round 32Impromptu
1. THW close all zoos
2. Assuming the technology exists, THW allow individuals to sell years off of their lives to others
3. Assuming that technology allows robots to make ethically sound decisions on their own, THW extend legal rights to robots.
EFL Round 16 Sports
1.THW ban professional athletes from competing in the Olympics
2. THW not allow atheletes to change their citizenship to compete for another country in international events
3. THBT football patriotism does more harm than good
Round 16Impromptu
1.THBT a jury should include only people from the same background as the defendant
2. THBT religious groups should be able to practice beliefs that violate the law, so long as these beliefs do not harm non-members
3. THW give stronger punishments to government officials who have committed a crime
EFL Round 8 Technology
1. THW ban all flying robots (drones)
2. THW end all government funding of space exploration.
3. THS the development of technology to enhance the ability of human brains
Round 8Impromptu debateSayings
1. THB in nature over nurture
2. THBT the sword is mightier than the pen
3. THBT ignorance is bliss
EFL Grand FinalsHealth
1. THBT the fast food industry has been unfairly demonized
(demonized: represented as evil)
2. THW ban the sale of sugary drinks to children
3. THW allow companies to refuse to hire smokers
Round 4Impromptu debateIR
1. THBT the United Nations has failed to meaningfully contribute to solving the world's largest problems
2. THBT the rise of China is good for Asia
3. THBT developed countries should cancel all debts of developing countries
EFL Quarter-finals Prepared debate THW make coding a part of the mandatory curriculum.
EFL Quarter-finalsPrepared debate THBT scientists should not use race as a category.

1) August 05, the first day of Preliminary Topic

CategoryType of TopicTopic
Round 1ImpromptuEducation THW privatize all secondary schools.
THBT schools should actively instill a sense of patriotism.
THW ban schools from assigning homework.
Round 2ImpromptuMarkets THW allow the sale of non-vital organs and tissues.
THW allow women to sell their services as surrogate mothers. (surrogate mothers = 대리모)
THW allow men to pay women to take their place in military service.
Round 3Prepared THW grant amnesty from deportation to undocumented immigrants who report abusive employer practices.
Round 4ImpromptuSports THW require television companies to give equal time for mens and womens sports.
THW ban violent sports.
THW ban countries that violate the human rights of their athletes from participating in the Olympics.
Round 5ImpromptuPolitical Reforms THBT judges should be elected rather than appointed.
THBT presidents should be allowed to run for a second term.
THW abolish the National Intelligence Service. (NIS = 국정원)

2) August 06, Preliminary Second Day Topic

CategoryType of TopicTopic
Round 1ImpromptuPopular Culture THW ban children from becoming professional celebrities.
TH regrets the popularity of television contest shows.
THW stop government censorship of music and television.
Round 2ImpromptuRights THBT gay pride parades are good for gay rights movements.
THW allow prisoners who are sentenced to life imprisonment to choose the death penalty.
THW give children the right to vote in elections for education officials.
Round 3Prepared THW grant amnesty from deportation to undocumented immigrants who report abusive employer practices.
Round 4ImpromptuTaxes THW impose a high tax on excessively fatty foods. THW base criminal fines primarly on the income of the perpetrator rather than the severity of the crime. THW use tax money to allow free entry to all historic sites and museums.
Round 5ImpromptuCompetition THBT competition brings more benefits than harms to the Korean education system.
THBT results of academic competitions should be considered in the university admissions process.
THW ban companies from considering the schools or colleges attended by job applicants.

3) EFL Topic

CategoryType of TopicTopic
ImpromptuPopular Culture THW not allow any anonymous posting or commenting on the internet.
THW abandon nuclear energy.
THW promote the development of artificial intelligence.
ImpromptuRights THBT religions should not use fear in instilling religious beliefs.
THW ban religious groups from sending missionaries to dangerous regions.
THW offer a religious studies class in schools.
Prepared THBT humanity shouldn’t pursue immortality.
THW allow terminally ill patients to refuse treatment.
THBT nurses, not family members, should provide basic care for patients in hospitals.
ImpromptuTaxes THW adopt a "right to be forgotten" law.

4) Round Topic

CategoryType of TopicTopic
ImpromptuMedia THBT the media should refrain from reporting on suicides.
THBT the media should report as many positive stories as negative stories.
THW restrict offensive public expression regarding national tragedies.
ImpromptuJustice and Crime THW require on-duty police officers to wear body cameras.
THW not punish people who live below the poverty line for economic crimes.
THBT the criminal justice system should prioritize rehabilitation over retribution.
ImpromptuSociety In addressing low birth rates in developed countries, THW prioritize attracting immigrants over incentivizing higher rates of childbirth.
THS the choice of adults who do not have children.
THW subsidize the youth who move to rural areas.
ImpromptuInternational Relations TH welcomes the decline of the US as the only global superpower.
THW negotiate with terrorist groups that take citizens hostage.
THW abolish the veto power of permanent UN Security Council members.
FinalPrepared THBT, on scientific questions, politicians should always defer to the policies recommended by experts.

CategoryType of TopicTopic
Preliminary round 1Impromptu debate Round 1: Internet
THBT the Internet does more harm than good to children.
Preliminary round 2Impromptu debate Round 2: Health
THW make PE classes optional
Preliminary round 3Impromptu debate Round 3: Science
Motion: Scenario – It is the year 2080. A robot that looks, thinks, feels, and acts exactly like a human being has been created and released out into society. THW treat the robot as human.
Round 1Impromptu debate Round 2: Family
THBT having a sibling prepares you to be a better leader.
Round 2Impromptu debate Round 2: Family
THBT having a sibling prepares you to be a better leader.
Round 3Impromptu debate Round 3: Media
THBT movies are better than books.
Round 4Impromptu debate Round 4: World Politics (Science)
THBT developed nations should share all environmental technology with developing nations
EFL round 1Impromptu debate Round 1: Politics
THW grant parents extra votes based on the number of children they have
EFL round 2Impromptu debate Round 2: Education
THW set a quota for women in science departments at all universities
CategoryType of TopicTopic
Preliminary round 1Impromptu debate Round 1: Education
Motion: THBT vacation homework does more harm than good.
Preliminary round 2Impromptu debate Round 2: Crime and Punishment
Motion: THW not punish Jean Valjean.
Info Slide: In the novel Les Miserables, Jan Valjean is sentenced to five years of imprisonment in the galleys for stealing bread for his starving sister and her family.
Preliminary round 3Impromptu debate Round 3: Environment
Motion: THW ban ownership of cars in cities.
Round 1Impromptu debate Round 1: Health
Motion: THW ban individuals, who are not professionals, from posting about health.
(e.g. making a diagnosis, sharing information on dieting, nutrition, etc.)
Round 2Impromptu debate Round 2: Democracy
Motion: TH prefers a rotation system to class president elections.
※ Rotation system: Everyone in the class takes turns, serving as the class president for an equal amount of time.
Round 3Impromptu debate Round 3: Multiculturalism
Motion: THBT television talk shows with a foreign panel(e.g. Non-Summit, A Chat with Beauties) do more harm than good.
Round 4Impromptu debate Round 4: Science
Motion: World War 3 has happened.
Scientists have discovered a new substance that will have destructive consequences to humanity as never seen before. THBT the scientists should conceal the discovery and destroy it.
EFL round 1Impromptu debate EFL Round 1: Art and Culture
Motion: THW legalize all forms of graffiti.
EFL round 2Impromptu debate EFL Round 2: Science
Motion: Assuming it is possible, THW allow parents to choose the genetic make-up of the baby.
  • Prepared debate
  • - The topic for the prepared date will be announced on the website one month prior to the
  • Impromptu debate
  • - The topic for the impromptu debate will be released on the day of the Championship at the competition
      venue at the same time of the draw for the debate pairing.
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