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Critical Thinking & Debate

Pre-College Courses

Critical Thinking & Debate

Who should take this course?
For students who will be entering Forms 2-4/Years 9-11 (Ages 13-15)

Course characteristics 

  • Designed to help students improve critical thinking, build and defend arguments using logical reasoning and strengthen communication, public speaking and presentation skills
  • Interactive classes conducted in small groups with personalized instruction, with encouraging & constructive critique from teachers and peers in a safe environment
  • Focused on formats of debate, examining pros and cons, researching topics, language of persuasion, assertive body language & demeanor, organization and time management
  • Resulting in ability to make arguments effectively & efficiently, persuade audiences and critics and present various topics clearly, concisely & coherently

Course content 

  • Structuring & supporting arguments, researching current & trending topics, writing persuasive cases, asking the right questions and drafting rebuttal briefs
  • Organizing arguments, confident body language & eye contact, voice, tone & intonation control
  • Presenting arguments, retort to opposition, art of listening, powerful counter-arguments, cooperative group work

Program Details

Course Fee

Course Structure
18 hours with 6 lessons in total (3 hours per lesson)

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Structure and Format 
Students are introduced to the concept and importance of critical thinking and debate. They are made aware of the necessity of structure, format and procedures, and are taught the ground rules for debating. They learn how to define the objective, know the aim of the debate, and evaluation criteria. Students also learn to brainstorm and collaborate with teammates and classmates for ideas. As well as how to understand outline terms and how to develop an argument based on structure. They then engage in debate practice on a variety of topics. 

Lesson 2: Stress, Intonation and Pausing 
In this class students learn the importance of patterns of speech. Students compare and contrast the differences in expressive mannerisms and from there will understand how to affect the listener. Here students will also gain a greater appreciation of what the listener needs and how by using certain intricacies the interpretation can be manipulated. This process highlights. 

Lesson 3: The Rebuttal 
In this lesson, students learn about indirect & direct rebuttals as well as methods and principals of the direct rebuttal. Students also learn what is an interjection and when & how to offer and respond to an interjection. Students are also taught how to look for the weakness in their opponent’s argument and then how to exploit these, from there they learn how to build credibility in their own argument while exposing the opponent’s weaknesses. Part of this process is to focus on the terminology and phrasing of their opponent to seek out the spin or possible misinterpretation. Students will be required to think quick and formulate quick responses. 

Lesson 4: Using Evidence - Numbers 
In this lesson, students are introduced to the value of sound research by identifying credible sources and how to incorporate them into argument. Furthermore, they will also see the value of adding hard hitting and informative numbers/statistics that aid the listener by illustrating their argument. Students are also taught how to develop proof by using supporting issues, arguments and evidence. They further develop their knowledge of reasoning by analysing the fundamentals of argumentation before practicing research, argument building and debating in class. Additionally, students learn how to incorporate their findings into their case in a way that enhances and enriches their case. At the same time students are also taught how to look for the weak points of their opponent’s usage of numbers. 

Lesson 5: Using Evidence – Quotes and Anecdotes 
In this lesson students learn how to gather information sources that they are generally not accustomed to. Their analytical, skills are challenged as they are required to interpret, discover and utilise not only a selection of quotations but also find their own quotes that add credibility and sincerity to their case. They learn to interpret the sometime philosophical and abstract and put into concrete realism and subsequently debate the consequences; putting forward their case and defending their interpretation. 

Lesson 6: Topics 
In this lesson students learn how to approach subjects with tact and diplomacy which allows them to tackle harder hitting and potentially divisive topics. Appreciation of language requirements mean students are better equipped to not only mediate if and where necessary but also interact with notions that others may not have the capability to handle, or may even avoid. Within this lesson, students will also collaborate to come up with a debatable topic that puts to the test all their skills acquired to date.