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.
At some time in your debating life at school, you may be asked to chair a debate. Chairing a debate is an important role - the chair announces the debaters and calls on them to deliver their speeches. The chair also times the speeches. 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
Try and find out the names of the people speaking from both teams in the debate. It can be 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.”
Call on the speakers
Introduce each speaker only when the adjudicator indicates to you that she or he is ready. You introduce them by saying ‘I call upon [the speaker] of [affirmative/negative].’ The adjudicator will often take a few moments after the speaker has stood down to go through the speech and make notes.
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. The times to signal are:
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
At the end of each speech
If there is no Timer, and the chair is timing, at the adjudicator’s request, state the length of the speech.
At the end of the third negative's speech
This speech concludes the debate. 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!