Team Debates (ILC Third Year)
The Team Debates are the last major project that our students undertake in the International Leadership Course. This project puts together everything our students have learned about logic, communication, research, persuasion, and leadership over their three years in the International Leadership Course into one, very challenging, project.
The goals of this project are that the students research topics in the recent news (many of which are similar to those that are on their upcoming university entrance exams), become skilled at debating, and improve their analytical thinking skills. They also improve their teamwork and leadership skills.
Preparation for the the Team Debates begins
at the end of September, and the debates are usually held on second
Saturday of November.
In the Team Debates, students are put into teams of three or four. Each team has a team leader that is responsible for assigning jobs and roles, getting facts checked, creating strategy, and solving problems with help from the ILC teachers.
Each pair of teams must debate a
controversial topic, usually from the recent news. Topics are
carefully chosen by the ILC teachers from international, national,
and local news. Past examples include "Human Beings Should
Continue to Explore Space," "The Jury System Should Be Canceled,"
and "Shonan Town and Kashiwa City Should Merge."
The teams are first given their topics and told who their opposing teams are. They research both the pro and con sides of their topics. They use books, the internet, newspapers, and magazines. They use sources in English and Japanese. Then, they are given a position: either pro or con. They prepare their position and support statements, practice arguing for their rebuttals, and make strategies. To better support their position, they usually use computer aids like powerpoint, excel, and word to make simple props.
Finally, on the day of the Team Debate, the students debate in front of their classmates and guests. Their classmates must score each debate and decide which team won. Each debate is videotaped and scored from the video recording by the IC teachers on the basis of communication, persuasive ability, effective use of emotion, depth of research, reliability of sources, and the quality of logic.
Pro versus Con on the day of the Debates
Through doing the debates, the students learn several things. The teams work very closely together, so the students learn not only leadership, but also teamwork and time management. They also improve their research and English skills through reading, summarizing, and analyzing English news sources. They learn to argue politely. They learn to use emotion and logic to persuade others in a formal setting because they must convince their fellow students their position is correct in order to win the debate.
As the last large project that our students do in the the International Leadership Course, it is a team project that most students greatly enjoy. They also learn skills that will benefit them in the future, and most importantly, gain confidence in their ability to succeed.