Snap Debate

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Contents

Objectives

Get group thinking about different sides of an issue. Helps with decision making or understanding complex problems.

Group Size

Materials

Set Up

None

Directions

Divide the group in half, and have them line up facing each other with the facilitator at the head of the line. Introduce the activity, and clarify, that they are going to take turns arguing both sides of an issue. One person speaks at a time, and the facilitator will call on people back and forth to keep the debate moving forward. Don't be shy about calling on someone who doesn't have their hand raised, and make sure to not let a few people dominate the debate. Also make sure to explain that regardless of how each person personally feels about the issue up for debate, for the next 20 minutes, they are to assume the role of one side, then they will have to switch and argue the other side with their best persuasive arguments.

Assign one group to one side of the issue (this will be the "pro" side - who will argue in favor) and asking the other group the other side of the issue (the "con" side - who will argue in opposition). After about 10 min (or just when they seem to be getting really entrenched in their sides) stop the debate and say "Switch!" and now they each have to take the opposite side of the issue and build on the arguments already made.

Examples of good snap debate questions:

  • we should have a policy at our (school/work/camp) prohibiting x
  • no one should be allowed to x
  • X is not our responsibility
  • As a team we are more like Encyclopedia Britannica than Wikipedia

Debrief

Understanding both sides of a situation makes you a valuable team member. It allows you to see other views so that you can make a more informed decision about which is the best solution.

Alternatives

Award arbitrary points like on 'Whose Line is it Anyway?' - the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter.




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