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Synopsis: Discover Debate makes discussion and debate skills accessible, fun, and exciting. -- The authors break down the complex thinking, speaking, and listening skills used in debate into several clear, bite-size skills -- each skill easily digested by low-level learners within one lesson period. -- Focusing on both the skills and the language strategies beginners need for self-expression, the book moves students gradually from simply stating an opinion, to explaining, supporting, and organizing an opinion. Then, students learn how to examine, question, and refute opinions. Ultimately, students are ready to support, defend, and refute opinions in a debate setting. Each unit follows a six-step learner-friendly format: Discovery, Model, Language Focus, Controlled Practice, Debate Application, and Project. Discover debate and rediscover dialog!

From the Author: This book is an answer to a much debated question: "Is debate possible for low level learners?" We have tried to answer strongly in the affirmative. However, we feel strongly that it is necessary to take a somewhat different approach to debate for low-level learners. New concepts and methodologies are required. These are the concepts that have proven successful for us. We hope they, in turn, will be successful for you.

Stepping Stones Toward Debate First, this book recognizes that debate is a very sophisticated form of immediate, interactive communication. Debate assumes a high level of discourse skill. Thus, although the goal of the book is debate, Unit 1 begins not with debate but with exchanging opinions. We assume nothing and start from zero. From there, we have paved the way to debate with 9 small, but necessary, steps (units) that can be taken in stride by beginners. This journey is a road of discovery, hence the title of the book. Along the way, we learn how to support opinions with reasons, how to support reasons with evidence, and how to organize information into a coherent message. Continuing down the road, we learn how to refute explanations, how to challenge evidence, and how to organize refutations into a coherent message. Finally, we learn how to make rebuttal arguments, and then, at the end of the journey, we are ready to discover and enjoy debate.

Metaphorically Speaking Secondly, debate is, by its very nature, abstract. But abstractions are very difficult to teach. So, we have had to find a way of making debate concrete, a way of making the reasoning of debate visible to the students. To this end, we have found comparing debate with constructing a house, attacking a house, and rebuilding a house to be a very powerful metaphor. Thus, throughout the book, the first page of each unit cements the unit's contents to the house concept. Metaphorically speaking, the roof of the house is the topic, or resolution, of the debate. This roof is supported by pillars, or reasons, and the entire house rests on a foundation of evidence. Only careful construction allows a house to withstand the attack of storm and gale, snow and rain, wind and hail. Likewise, only strong reasons and firm evidence allow a debate case to withstand well-aimed refutations. We also learn how to turn the case around and see it from the opposite point of view. In this way, the house metaphor teaches us that debate is about attacking the building, not the builder.

User Friendly Format Third, knowing that beginners function best in a clearly structured environment, we have endeavored to make each lesson learner friendly. Learners walk through 6 steps. First, they experience the unit's debate target skill in the Discovery section. Second, learners see the target skill systematically presented in the Model section. Third, in the Language Focus section, learners practice the language needed for implementing the target skill. Next, the learners experiment with both the language and the unit's target skill in a carefully Controlled Practice. Now that learners have had adequate practice in both the language and the target skill, they are ready to place the target skill within the context of debate in the Debate Application. Each unit ends with an assignment, the Project, that asks students to dig into their lives and the mass media to uncover the target skill in action. The Project takes debate beyond the classroom and invites learners to challenge what they see and hear in the world around them.

Topics: From the Silly to the Sublime A final note about the debate topics in this book. We have included a full spectrum of topics from the silly to the sublime. But there is a method in our madness. We have used simple topics (For example: cats vs. dogs, country vs. city) to introduce the new debate skills. Our experience has shown that focusing on both the content (the issues) and the form (debate skills) overwhelms learners. Rather than discovering the debate skill, students just get lost in the issues. However, this is not to say that there are no challenging topics in this book! We have included tough issues such as capital punishment, gun control, nuclear energy, national service, and economic development in the third world. But we have carefully selected these topics and placed them to review and consolidate the target skills, not to introduce them. In the final analysis, Discover Debate is not about issues; it is about how we talk about issues. This book is not about global issues, human rights, or the environment. It is about how we think about, how we talk about, and what we want to do about global issues, human rights, or the environment. To misquote Confucius: Give your students an issue and you feed them for a day. Teach them debate skills, and you feed them for a lifetime.

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