Rebuttal Battle

Rebuttal Battle 2023-06-29

Rebuttal Battle Description
"Rebuttal Battle" classroom resource is an instructional tool designed to assist students in honing their debate and argumentation skills. This strategy complements "Argumentation Sheet" and is aimed at preparing students for a classroom debate or discussion. It helps them develop a deep understanding of the topic at hand, consider multiple perspectives, and strengthen their ability to construct compelling arguments and counterarguments.

In the first section, students prepare for the debate. They are encouraged to:
  • Articulate Arguments: Define and outline their primary arguments in favor of their position on the given topic or issue.
  • Anticipate Counterarguments: Consider and identify potential counterarguments that the opposing side might present. This step requires students to think critically about their position and anticipate areas of contention.
  • Develop Rebuttals to Counterarguments: For each counterargument identified, students are tasked with crafting persuasive rebuttals. This involves devising strong responses that address the opposing points effectively.
  • Anticipate the Opponent's Argument: Students must put themselves in the shoes of their debate opponent and think about the arguments, evidence, and reasoning the opposition is likely to present.
  • Formulate Counterarguments: Building on their understanding of the opposing side's perspective, students create counterarguments designed to challenge and weaken the opponent's position.
  • Anticipate Opponent's Rebuttal: Students should also anticipate how their opponent might respond to their counterarguments, considering potential rebuttals from the opposing side.
The battle phase of the Rebuttal Battle strategy involves students engaging in a debate simulation. This is a dynamic and interactive component of the activity, where students pair up with someone holding the opposite viewpoint. The "battle" unfolds in two rounds:
  • Round 1 - Starting Arguments: One student initiates the first round by presenting their main argument.
  • Round 1 - Counterarguments: The opponent responds with counterarguments challenging the first debater's position.
  • Round 1 - Rebuttals: The first debater then provides rebuttals to the counterarguments presented by the second debater, defending their initial position.
  • Round 2 - Switch Roles: In the second round, the roles reverse. The second debater initiates with their main argument, and the first debater counters and provides rebuttals.
After both rounds are completed, it's time for students to assess the debate and decide together who won. By engaging in this evaluation process, students not only participate actively in the debate, but also critically analyze the quality of arguments and rebuttals.

The Rebuttal Battle simulates an online comment section under a newspaper article, which is a common setting for public discourse. This structure encourages students to apply their prepared arguments, anticipate counterarguments, and engage in a back-and-forth exchange resembling real-world debates. It promotes critical thinking, effective communication, and the ability to construct persuasive arguments while also fostering empathy and understanding of opposing viewpoints.

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Based on research from Taylor, K., Lawrence, J., Connor, C. & Snow, C. (2018). Cognitive and linguistic features of adolescent argumentative writing: Do connectives signal more complex reasoning? Reading and writing. DOI:10.1007/s11145-018-9898-6. And Crowell & Kuhn (2014). Developing Dialogic Argumentation Skills: A 3-year Intervention Study. Created with support from TEXTDim, The Department of Educational Sciences, Univeristy of Olso through the Understanding Teachers as Designers Project.
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