Home Search Contact
Members and Schools:
Log in or sign up.

Welcome to the DAV Website
The DAV is a non-profit association which exists to promote debate. It is the peak debating body in Victoria and runs large competitions for adults and for schools across Victoria. It provides training and resources for debaters, teachers and adjudicators.

CHAIRING A DEBATE

Catherine Dunlop

At some time in your debating life at school, you will probably be asked to chair a debate. It may sound like a fairly irrelevant role, but it is actually very important. Here are a few things to remember.

State the topic
This may sound obvious, but the audience may not have heard it before. It is also necessary just in case one team has a different wording to the other;

Introduce the teams
Again this may seem really obvious, but try and find out the names of the people speaking as it is awkward when you know the names of the debaters from your school but then have to call on "the first speaker from the negative team", for example.

Call on the speakers
Introduce each speaker only when the adjudicator indicates to you that she or he is ready. The adjudicator will often take a few moments after the speaker has stood down to go through the speech and make notes;

Timing
If you are Timer or you are the Chair and you are timing, then please do so carefully - find a digital watch or a stop watch. Write down the times carefully in case anything goes wrong.

To signal the time to both teams, the adjudicator and the audience you should knock the table, clap your hands or ring a bell - just make sure it is loud enough to be heard. You signal the times with,

In A Grade one knock at six minutes two knocks at eight minutes
In B Grade one knock at six minutes two knocks at eight minutes
In C Grade one knock at five minutes two knocks at six minutes
In D Grade one knock at four minutes two knocks at five minutes

Please time carefully as you don't want to be accused of cheating, that would only sour the debate for eveyone.

At the end of each speech
If the adjudicator requests, state the length of the speech if there is no Timer;

At the end of the third negative's speech
Inform the audience that the adjudicator is considering the decision and will deliver their adjudication in a few minutes.

At the end of the debate
Thank the teams, the audience and the adjudicator. It is always nice to end on a note like this.
Thanks for chairing, it's a very important role.