Public Forum Debate is a team debate in which the competitors argue for or against a topic that comes from current issues facing the world. The significance of this forum of debate is that it emphasizes communicating to the citizen judge or "member of an American jury". This means that students must tailor their arguments to reach a non-specialist and effectively communicate ideas with clarity, organization, and eloquence.
The round begins with a coin toss in which the winning team deciding either the side they will argue (pro or con) or the speaker order (1st team or 2nd team). The other team will then decide based on the preference from the option not selected by the winning team (ex. Team A decides they will speak last, thus Team B decided they will go Pro.)
The first two speeches are dedicated to case development followed by a time of crossfire questioning to clarify the issues and point out weaknesses in an opponent's case. The next two speeches are rebuttal speeches and designed to bolster their team's case which is followed by another crossfire questioning time. The next set of speeches are summary speeches which are designed to summarize the major clashes in the debate and explain why your team has won the debate. This is followed by a final questioning period called "Grand Crossfire" in which all four debaters will participate. The final speeches of the day are called the "final focus" which is the student's last opportunity to convince the judge.
Speeches and Time Limits
Speaker 1 Constructive (Team A, 1st speaker) 4 minutes
Speaker 2 Constructive (Team B, 1st speaker) 4 minutes
Crossfire Questioning (between Speakers 1 & 2) 3 minutes
Speaker 3 Rebuttal (Team A, 2nd speaker) 4 minutes
Speaker 4 Rebuttal (Team B, 2nd speaker) 4 minutes
Crossfire Questioning (between Speakers 3 & 4) 3 minutes
Speaker 1 Summary (Team A) 2 minutes
Speaker 2 Summary (Team B) 2 minutes
Grand Crossfire (all speakers) 3 minutes
Speaker 1 Final Focus (Team A) 2 minutes
Speaker 2 Final Focus (Team A) 2 minutes