HOW TO GIVE A REBUTTAL
by Jim Hanson
PREPARE THE REBUTTAL
First, THINK ABOUT YOUR SIDE. Compare your position to your opponent's position. For example, "We are for single-sex schools; they are opposed to them."
Second, FIND THE ARGUMENTS THAT SUPPORT YOUR SIDE. Identify three or four key arguments that support your position. For example, "We are showing single-sex schools help girls learn more; Single sex schools prevent harassment against girls."
Third, IDENTIFY ANY OPPOSING ARGUMENTS THAT MIGHT DEFEAT YOU. Look at your flow, think about what the opposing team appears to be winning. For example, "Hmm, they are showing that single-sex schools reinforce gender segregation in society." NOW, THINK HOW YOUR ARGUMENTS DEFEAT THIS ARGUMENT. For example, "We showed single-sex schools help girls and thereby break barriers in society."
PRESENT THE REBUTTAL
Begin by IDENTIFYING THE CHOICE FOR THE JUDGE. "This debate boils down to, do you give students a choice to go to single-sex schools or do you stop that choice."
Then, LIST OUT EACH OF MAIN REASONS TO SUPPORT YOUR SIDE. Present your reasons, follow it with an explanation and supporting arguments. After this, respond to any opposing arguments that might undermine your argument. Then, sum up and explain why this reason is a voting issue for you. For example, "The first reason to vote government is that single-sex schools stop harassment. Harassment is a serious problem--the opposition has conceded that girls are sexually harassed, touched inappropriately, even raped. Single-sex schools stop this harassment because the environment changes and there isn't the opportunity to harass. That is a fact. Now, the opposition wants to argue the harassment would just happen out of school. First, that concedes that we do stop the harassment in the school and that is a worthwhile achievement. Second, as we argued, women speak out and empower themselves in single-sex schools and that encourages change in our society to reduce the attitudes that contribute to harassment. In sum, our proposal puts a dent in harassment especially in schools and that justifies a government ballot."
Conclude the speech, requesting that the judge vote for your side.