On Thursday, two English classes engaged in a debate on whether or not voluntary euthanasia should be legal in the United States. One class (Ms. Vanat and Mr. Manni) had been selected to argue in favor of the position, the other class (Mrs. Holcombe and Mr. Mudrick) argued in opposition to the perspective.
The debate followed a strict format with opening statements from both sides, alternating comments of agreement and disagreement, and formal closing statements.
All speakers had to make a claim or rebuttal argument, provide evidence for their position, and explain their reasoning. Teams were allowed to ask clarifying questions and, for prescribed periods of time, could conference with their teammates and teachers.
Throughout, the debate was passionate but civil. In the end, students got to score who had prepared and presented the better arguments for their position.
Judging from the success of this first debate, there will be other opportunities for students to hone their debating and public speaking skills.