How can you defend your standpoint in a discussion convincingly? How can you give an effective presentation? And how can you critically inquire the standpoints of others about, for instance, policy issues? In this course we will focus on both the theory and practice of debate and public speech. In the theoretical part of the course, we will discuss a set of systematic strategies which will increase your abilities to present your opinions in a convincing way, as well as your abilities to find relevant arguments to support and defend them. In the practical part of the course these theoretical insights will be put into practice. You will improve your own skills in debating and public speech. In addition, we will analyze several (political) debates and debating strategies used in these debates, and we will address the question to what extent an ‘effective presentation’ is cultural dependent.
Knowledge of strategies that increase your ability to present your opinions in a convincing way
Increase of your debating and presentation skills
Mode of Instruction
This course requires active involvement of students. Students are obliged to prepare (1) critical questions about the assigned literature that serve as input for plenary discussions, (2) short presentations, and (3) reflections on their own presentations and debating performances. Naturally, a considerable amount of the available time in class will be spent on the practice of actual debate and presentations. The instructor will give all students feedback with regard to their performance.
Assessment: In-class participation; critical questions about the assigned literature (web postings)
Deadline: Ongoing Weeks 1-7
Assessment: Debating and presentations (3x)
Deadline: Weeks 1, 5, and 7
Assessment: Take-home exam (1500 words)
Deadline: Week 6
Assessment: Final, written exam
Deadline: Week 8
Ericson, Jon M., James J. Murphy & Raymond Bud Zeuschner (2011): The Debater’s guide. Fourth edition. Carbondale & Edwardsdale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Freeley, A.J. & D.L.Steinberg (2014): Argumentation and Debate. Critical thinking for reasoned decision making. Thirteenth edition. Australia etc.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Haaften, Ton van (2009): ‘Parliamentary Debate and Political Culture: The Dutch Case’. In: T. van Haaften, H. Jansen, J. de Jong, W. Koetsenruijter (eds.): Bending Opinion, Essays on persuasion in the public domain. Leiden: Leiden University Press, 349-368. THIS BOOK CHAPTER WILL BE AVAILABLE VIA BLACKBOARD.
Leeuwen, Maarten van (2012): ‘Rhetorical Effects of Grammar’. In: Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines, 5(2), 88-101. THIS ARTICLE WILL BE AVAILABLE VIA BLACKBOARD.
Other course readings will be announced via Blackboard.
Drs. Maarten van Leeuwen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Week 1: General introduction & getting acquainted with the practice of debating and public speech
Week 2: Stating and analyzing a controversy; building a case
Week 3: Use of evidence; refutation
Week 4: Presentation skills (composition and delivery); judging a debate
Week 5: Practicing debate and public speech
Week 6: Obstacles to clear thinking: fallacies / An ‘effective presentation’ and cultural differences
Week 7: Practicing debate and presentation skills
Week 8: Reading week (no classroom hours)
Preparation for first session
Read chapters 2, 5, 6, 9 and the Epilogue from The Debater’s guide (Ericson et al. 2011).