I had been invited by Za in Proti (Pro and Contra), the national debate organization of Slovenia, to come and hold a one week parliamentary debate workshop for university students over the Thanksgiving USA holiday. My earlier work at their national debate camp in June had been popular with them, I really enjoyed it, and since I had no classes then I thought it would be a good idea. It was also the beginning of a program that will hopefully be bigger in the future, a debate workshop for students from all over Europe. ZIP and the World Debate Institute agreed to host it together. ZIP did the hosting and ground arrangements, as well as recruitment and registration, and WDI did the curriculum with advice and input from ZIP.

My apologies for not having the right character set to write many names of people and places. Please realize that in Slovenian the letter "j" is pronounced like the letter "y" in English.

Here is a brief diary of my experiences...

Alfred C. Snider

Thursday, November 19, 2003

I held class in the morning and then spent the rest of the day getting ready to leave. When leaving for so long a time I always have a huge list of things to handle, and this trip was no exception. I was also determined to not take as much luggage as I have previously taken, as I always end up carrying it all over the place. I ended up with just my computer bag and one sports bag packed full of clothes and assorted items. Oh, I also had a small box full of books that ZIP had ordered from UVM Debate Publications.

My assistant Lionel took me to the airport in Burlington in my own car, and it would be left at the office while I was gone. I got in a tiny Continental express jet after having all of my things closely inspected and winged my way down to Newark, New Jersey to catch my Air France flight to Paris. In Newark I had to leave the security area and go to another terminal meaning I had to go through security again, and once again I was selected for "random inspection." It seems not so random to me.

I got to my gate and discovered that my planer would be two hours late. This meant that I would miss my connection in Paris. Air France employees were not very together as they could not print my new boarding passes even through they rebooked me. We finally all piled aboard with every seat taken. Around me I found many young children who were, to say the least, fairly traumatized about being locked in the airplane for so long. They kept up a fairly steady howl during the flight.

I like Air France better than Lufthansa, however. They have individual screens in the seat back so you can choose programming. I chose nothing and just watched the geographic display as the trip wore on. The movies were all fairly bad, and I didn't want to waste my time. I read, played Civilization III on my Apple Powerbook, and mostly listened top music on my iPod. The iPod is the ideal thing for travel -- thousands of songs and a battery that can last up to 8 hours. It helped me ignore the screaming children, but not entirely. I even tried to get some sleep.

I really dislike long flights like this. There is no room to move, the seats are uncomfortable, and I begin to get irritated by some people around me about half the time. I like that Air France hands out earplugs. The meal was fairly good (dinner) when we started, but the meal before we landed (breakfast) was very weak. The flight is 7.5 hours and you also race ahead on the clock 6 hours. I got to Paris in the early morning.

Friday, November 20, 2003

I got to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and got off the plane. I had to wander around a maze of passageways before finding myself at immigration. They told me that since I was on another flight they did not need to check my documents. This was interesting because I then went into the main terminal and could have walked right off into the French countryside. I did not, however. I found the Air France transit desk and waited in a long line, as many on my huge flight needed to change their flights as they had missed their connections. Several loud and long arguments were going on around my in French, and I enjoyed watching the non-verbals. I finally got to a ticket agent and found out that because of the wait I had missed the new flight they had booked me on. Fortunately, there was an Alitalia flight an hour later so I was booked on that.

I finally made it into one of the main departure halls at the airport and finally got top appreciate the architecture of the airport. It is light and airy with a lot of glass, steel, and plastic. I liked the way it let the sun in. I got some Euros and bought a newspaper to read. My plane was delayed for some reasons, and at least I got to recharge my iPod and Powerbook while sitting on the floor. I was glad to see that my new electrical connection kit worked for European current.

My flight to Venice finally boarded and it was my first opportunity to be on an Alitalia plane. Nice to be somewhere that isn't always blue and red like British Airways and Air France. The breakfast was weak but the coffee was amazingly strong, as I could tell without even tasting it, the smell was overpowering. I am sure i got some sort of "contact high." I love listening to boring airline announcements in Italian.

Finally arriving at Marco Polo airport in Venice I went through no immigration (again) and went to get my luggage. It didn't come. I was five hours late and had no luggage. I waited and then stood in line to file a report. Some bozo decided to butt in line in front of me at the baggage counter, something I did not appreciate. he hovered around for a while before making his move. I let him know politely that I thought he needed better manners in such things, but he ignored me and began a long argument with the baggage agent. It turned out he did not have his baggage tags/receipts, making it very hard to traced his bags. I just smiled. Karma wins again. When it was my turn they seemed optimistic that my bag would arrive later that day. I could not give my hotel that night because ZIP was handling it and they were on the other side of a barrier. I was told to go through and then tell the baggage desk on the other side.

I went through the barrier and saw Bojana Skrt of ZIP there to pick me up. She had been worried because by that time I was five hours late. I apologized for her inconvenience. I left my hotel information (Hotel Reiter, Lido Island) and we went to her car. It was good to see Bojana again. She is a sturdy international debate proponent and has done some remarkable work in Slovenia and with the International Debate Education Association, where she just left office as vice president.

We drove her Ford fiesta towards Venice and she explained that we would be staying on Lido Island, as Venice itself allowed no cars and hotels were cheaper on Lido. It was just a short water-bus from Lido to Venice, and the next day we would do some sightseeing before heading towards Ljubljana, Slovenia where the workshop would be. We boarded a ferry to take us to Lido Island, and that ride was excellent. The ferry took us all along the waterfront of Venice itself as lido is on the far side.

<== View from the ferry as we approach Lido Island

We disembarked on Lido island and drove around for a little while looking for the Hotel Reiter. We found it, and unbelievably it had a parking space in front of it. When we got inside we were told that we were at a better hotel just down the street (this seemed to be the slow season on Lido) and we were assured that the parking space we were in was the best we were likely to get. I told him about the luggage coming, and he said he would take care of it. We headed down the street and found the Hotel Giardinotto. I was offered a larger room with no view or a small room with a good view. I took the view, since i like to snap photos from my hotel room windows. When I got there it was a VERY small room, with barely enough room to turn around. But, the view from the window was quite good.

View from Window at Hotel Giardinotto, Lido Island ===>

I took a quick nap and then met Bojana for dinner. We walked around Lido for quite a while and could not find a restaurant open on a Friday night. Lots of bars and snack shops were open, but no real restaurants. Well, it was a chance to get a good look at the place. We finally found a restaurant not far from the hotel we had missed before, and ordered dinner. There were three parties there, and all had American accents (one set obviously from Texas). The food was good but really overpriced. The dollar has taken a beating versus the euro, and this whole region is fairly expensive.

My lost luggage arrived. Back in my room I tried to find some news in english on the television and failed. That, at least, was comforting. Jet lag set in and I went to sleep.

Saturday, November 21, 2003

Breakfast at the hotel was free and tasty. Nothing too substantive (like an English breakfast), but good to get things started. Bojana and I would walk around Venice (or boat around Venice) for a while and then head off to Slovenia. We first had to find out how to get from Lido Island to venice itself. Fortunately the boat-bus-ferry was very near to the hotel. We got there and stared at the map for a while trying to decide which boat to get on and where to get off. We finally made our choice and when the "Black #1" boat came along we jumped on board. These bus-boats just chug up to a dock and people get off and on. The boat attendant's job seems to be to tie ropes to the dock and open the gate as people get on and off.

| Lido island landing | Venice bus-boat |

We disembarked not far from St. Marks Square (with the pigeons) and walked away from there heading along the seaside. There were a lot of tourists (even in November) and a lot of tourist trap type locations. Fortunately at one of them I spotted a Che Guevara t-shirt and bought it for my daughter, Sarah Jane. She loves that icon. I watched Japanese tourists videotaping everything in sight.

| Two different Venice canals |

We headed away from the seaside down one of the many narrow "streets." I say "streets" advisedly because they do not have cars in Venice, and streets that are not canals are narrow walkways. The way venice has retained this ancient landscape even into the 21st century was very enchanting, it was very much like being on a Middle Ages street. We wandered around, looking at canals and small shops.

| Traditional Venetian masques on display | Traditional bad American food on display |

The shops were amazing, especially the baked goods and chocolate shops. I managed to avoid buying anything at any of them. The hospital was located right on the water, and the ambulance-boats were tied up there and ready for action. Because the streets were narrow and crooked, because i could not see the sky very well for direction, and also because I was not paying attention, we soon got lost. It hardly mattered, as we still came upon interesting sights, like the naval monument. We tried to go in (it was open) but a security guard chased us out.

| Building along the waterfront | Ambulance-boat ready for action |

| Reggae os everywhere! My man the Mad Professor | Naval Monument |

We wandered around semi-lost but enjoying the experience. We decided to stop for a late lunch before taking in St. Mark's Square, the Venetian icon location. Lunch was excellent but expensive at a small cafe. We found ourselves on busier streets filled with people and shops selling everything imaginable. Finally we saw some signs indicating the way to St. Mark's and got there. The Palace of the Doge was, at least on the outside, as I had always imagined it. I fed some pigeons as if required. They were very friendly.

| Doge's Palace | Interior of overpriced but excellent restaurant |

| St. Mark's Square | Tuna feeds pigeons in the square |

| Venice train station with water taxis waiting outside | Hip hop gas station in Slovenia |

After a walk around St. Mark's we took the bus-boat back to lido Island. We grabbed our luggage from storage and got in Bojana's car to begin the drive to Slovenia, a mere 2.5 hours away. First we took the ferry back to the mainland (one more set of glorious views of Venice) and then back onto the superhighways of Eurozone Italy. Before long we were crossing the border into Slovenia (they still didn't want to stamp my passport). We stopped for a beverage and gas at a service center and I had to snap a photo of "Hip Hop" gas station. Talk about the commercialization of hip hop!

We pulled into Ljubljana and i was tired. Still some jet lag to catch up on.

Sunday, November 22, 2003

Sunday was spent preparing the curriculum for the workshop. I had a detailed outline drawn up but we tried to adjust it to meet the needs of the actual students attending, the majority never having debated before.

Monday, November 23, 2003

The first day of the workshop would be a very important one. There were several reasons for this. First, we needed to get off to a good start so that people would stay and come back. There was a real risk that if things did not go well a lot of students might not come back. Second, this was especially an issue given that the workshop was taking place during the school week, so students had to miss a week of school in order to attend the workshop, meaning that if it was not that useful they would simply defect and go back to class. Third, another fear was that since so many of the students had never debated before and since the days were so long (9 until 18 hours) they might decide that this "wasn't for them."

The result is that I tried very hard to make sure that day one was a hit, that the students were excited, that it was fun, and that they were gaining real skills that they could use in their lives. It was a difficult task, but i was hopeful.

| Our Group |

Here are the notes from the first day.

9 AM Introduction, Formats
My background: personal, debate, Slovenia

Why debate?

Critical skills of 21st century digital information age are the debate skills.

q      Critical thinking

q      Message design

q      Message delivery

q      Avoiding propaganda

q      Same skills, various fora: business, personal, civic, organizational.

q      Debate skills and leadership skills. Study of leadership. West Point graduates.

What is debate?

Topic, teams, sides, speeches, decision

Features of debate:

Development of a position

Refutation of ideas

Extension of ideas

Call for decision: weighing


| Jerneja, Petra, Ina | Maja, Anja, Crt, Samo |

Formats and conventions:



Note taking   

British Parliamentary: why this format, there are many formats

q      Four teams, two persons each

q      Motion: 15 minutes before the debate, wide variety, follow basic ideas or interpret it yourself.

q      First proposition, Second proposition

q      First opposition, Second opposition

q      Alternating speeches, 5-7 minutes.

q      No preparation time

q      No quoted material

q      Second proposition team: be loyal, lead debate into new areas

q      Points of information: yield floor for 15 seconds, relevant, taken or not taken, protected first and last minute

q      Proposition: presents a case for the motion.

q      Opposition: refutes proposition case, presents a case against the proposition.

q      Judge, judges, audience vote gives decision, judges also give scoring points


10 AM                  Break


10:10 AM             Speaking, Language Choices

Speaking: Dynamism makes all the difference

q      Three rules for being dynamic

q      Variation: change, don't stay the same

q      Emphasis: changes are designed to emphasize content

q      Naturalness: changes must not fall outside natural zone

Rules are applied to the components of public speaking:

q      Voice volume

q      Voice pitch

q      Voice tone

q      Speed of delivery

q      Gestures

q      Eye contact

q      Facial expression

q      Body movement

q      Verbal pauses and crutch words


Language choices

Challenge in a foreign language, vocabulary very important

Good language choices:

q      Use evocative and colorful language, not the simple term. Good/bad examples

q      Impact on opponents without the vocabulary, as long as the judges and the audience have the meaning

q      Develop slogans and rhetorical framing

q      Powerful words

q      Emphasis words

q      Poetic elements

q      Creation of victims (associated with your side) and villains (associated with their side)

q      Rhetorical comparisons: we do not want this, but we do want that

q      Analogies as rhetoric, but not necessarily argument

q      Alliteration using the same letter or sound

q      Cruelty to ideas, not to opponents


11:30             Exhibition Debate

Motion: Turkey should become a member of the European Union

| Anja, Maja, Brigita all listen | Anzej speaks |


13:00             Lunch - Teams should be formed


14:30             Drills: Speaking #1: inventory, redo


Students sign in as teams

Students fill out evaluation form

Break into three groups

Each student speaks (about Slovenia in NATO) for 1 minute, then gets feedback on speaking delivery

When all have gone, begin a second time

Keep going until you run out of time


15:30             Break


15:40             Drills: Speaking #2: continue with previous exercise

16:15                  Practice Debates motion posted


16:45                 Debate Begins


Proposition: Slovenia should not have entered NATO.


Emphasis on format and speaking skills

Match speaking to inventory sheet

Encourage flowing, following the flow

Be positive, but point out problems

Leave it on a positive note

Dismissed when it is over

Please come back tomorrow


18:00                  End

| Nightlife at a Ljubljana pub |

Tuesday, November 23, 2003

This was the critical morning, and it was raining. I thought things had gone well on day one, and people told me so, but would they walk through the heavy rain to come? Bojana assured me that the beginners felt very positive about it. But, I was waiting to find out for sure. Well, they did come back, in fact some new people joined us based on what they heard about yesterday. With that in mind, I went ahead with the curriculum we had designed. Today we would do points of information, one of my favorite subjects. Here are the notes from the day.

9 AM                    Review Schedule


Lecture: Points of Information (this is an incomplete listing of my remarks).

Points of information provide a direct comparison between debaters, face to face.

q      When: not during first or last minute, Slap signal

q      How to make a point: rise, hand, what to say

q      How many points to make: stay active, during each speech

q      How to answer a point

q      How many points to take

q      Purpose of points:

q      Not to simply gain information

q      Point out error

q      Make a specific argument

q      Force a long explanation

q      Rising in unison, not take, but highlight an issue

| Barbara and Laura | Practice debate |

10 AM                           Break

10:10 AM             Manner; Exercises: PoI Barrage


Manner and matter, the difference. Manner is how you act, how you present yourself. These are behaviors and conditions that you want to display during the debate. You need to be self-aware and make sure you are playing the correct part in the drama of debate. Points of information training is a good way to work on improving your manner.

q      Confident, but not arrogant.

q      Informed but not omniscient

q      Calm but not indifferent

q      Concerned with the issues, not with yourself

q      Compassionate about other human beings

q      Respectful of opponents

q      Not respectful of their arguments

q      Direct, frank, honest, but not cruel

q      Enthusiastic but not hyper-active

q      Truth seeking but respectful of different points of view.

q      Good speaking skills as noted yesterday

Exercise: Point of information barrage

Read a sample first government speech on returning stolen cultural artifacts (found in ON THAT POINT by Shuster & Meany). Students then make points against instructor (Snider) in a rapid barrage to see how to make points and how points are taken. Focus is on making short, direct responses to points that also score points for the speaker.

11:30                 Exhibition Debate

This house believes that multinational corporations are the new imperialists.

| Ready to debate! | Gregor and Stasa make comments on a practice debate |

13:00                  Lunch


14:30                  Drills: Points Back and Forth

In small groups. On either the sample topic or the topic of the morning debate, have students face their partners and ask then answer a point. After all teams have done this, switch roles and do it again. Make comments based on morning guidelines for points.

15:30                  Break

15:40                  Drills: Repeat of earlier drill

16:30                  Practice Debates

This house rejects all forms of violence.

18:00                  End

| Ina, Jaka, Maja | More nightlife |

Wednesday, November 25, 2003

Things were going well. The students seemed very excited and the debates had been enthusiastic. The beginners seemed very engaged and the drills had gone well. It was dramatic to see the improvements in the points of information made by all the debaters later in the day. My strategy of introducing a subject, doing drills on that subject, watching a debate with a focus on that subject, and then putting it into play during a practice debate seemed to be successful with these students. I was beginning to get a great feeling about this workshop, and especially about the students involved.

I contracted some sort of food poisoning later in the day and had to leave as practice debates started. I spent the night recovering and succeeded.

Here are the notes from Wednesday.

Government Case Construction, strategy, anticipation


9 AM                    Lecture: Case Construction

Types of motions:

q      Fact and value: is or should be

q      Policy: should do

q      Open: Metaphor

Important features of any case:

q      Structure: clear, division of issues, name each point

q      Offense: strong reasons, offense, score points

q      Rhetorical framing: Slogan, metaphor, analogy for case

q      Framework: definitions (if needed), decision formula. Gate keeping, argument comparison, suggested decision method for judge/audience.

Policy cases:

q      Intro: rhetorical framing and current situation

q      Framework

q      Plan: who, what, how, cost

q      Benefits/advantages

q      Conclusion

Fact/value cases:

q      Intro: rhetorical framing and situation

q      Framework

q      Major reasons to support case

q      Conclusion

Open motion cases:

Narrow it into one of the above


Time/Space case


2nd Government

q      Must be loyal to 1st government case

q      Must be new direction, an extension of the original case

q      Advantages and benefits not mentioned

q      Superior implementation: education, outreach, study, negotiations after plan

q      New plan consistent with 1st government

q      Show it adds to strength of 1st government case

q      Show it avoids or eliminates major opposition arguments



Work separately and together. Continue preparation when debate begins.

1st Government:

q      Individual consideration of proposition: 1 minute

q      Team preparation: How to interpret, framework, kind of case, major arguments, rhetorical framing 3 minutes

q      Individual work: 5 minutes

q      1st speaker prepares the first speech

q      2nd speaker analyzes case for weaknesses, possible opposition arguments, how to answer these, and begin formulating conclusion.

q      Team work: Talk to each other and inspect first speech. Suggest any changes. Then discuss work of second speaker. 3 minutes.

q      Final preparation individually 3 minutes.

2nd Government

q      Individual consideration of proposition: 1 minute.

q      Team preparation: Anticipate 1st govt potential case approaches. 3 minutes.

q      Individual work. 5 minutes.

q      1st speaker prepares four different possible extensions to 1st govt case.

q      2nd speaker prepares conclusion and anticipates major issues in the debate and how to weigh them.

q      Team work: talk to each other and inspect possible extensions, then review conclusion.

q      Final preparation individually 3 minutes.

q      Preparation during the debate by 2nd government team:

q      1st speaker: immediately after presentation of case, begin work on extension of case, consult about which extension to use.

q      2nd speaker: focus during the debate on selecting best issues from 1st government case, how to defend extension, and conclusion.

| Iris | Jerneja |

10 AM                           Break


10:10 AM             Exercises: Sample Cases Constructed

q      The war on terrorism has failed

q      The USA should withdraw from NATO

q      Individual freedom is an illusion

q      Let it be


11:30                          Exhibition Debate


This house would buy every child a computer.

| Jerneja and Petra prepare | Kubo takes a point |

13:00                           Lunch


14:30                           Drills: Case Exercise #1 (in small groups)

q      Give each a team a topic. Send them off to build a 1st government case. Give them 15 minutes. Take 5 minutes and review each case in front of the group.

q      Look for: Framework, type of case, major arguments for first speech, anticipated opposition arguments.

q      You should be able to do 5 teams.


15:30                           Break


15:40                           Drills: Case Exercise #2

q      Replay earlier drill with new topics, or else have them do new topics as 2nd government.

q      Look for: anticipation of 1st government case, four possible extensions, anticipation of major issues by the opposition, conclusion.

| Jernej and Urshka | Jernej and Jaka |

16:30                           Practice Debates


Convicted rapists should be treated like murderers.


18:00                           End

Thursday, November 26, 2003 (Thanksgiving Day in the USA)

I never was very interested in the USA holiday of Thanksgiving. I always believed that everyday is a good day to give thanks for the things in our lives. I had a lot to be thankful for this day -- the workshop was going well, the students were excited, motivated, and attentive, and the debates were getting better. Today was the day to focus on opposition strategy.

Here are the notes from the day. The schedule was a little different because I was lecturing that morning at the Faculty of Social Sciences about persuasion theory.

9 AM           Exhibition Debate

This house believes that the media has too much power

| Laura and Barbara | Maja and Andrej |

11:30                 Lecture: Opposition, Preparation


  1. Disable their traps in definitions and framework
  2. Show clash - defense
  3. Outweigh - offense
  4. Prepare for the end of the debate


  1. Minimize
  2. Turn/capture
  3. Eliminate


  1.  Mass attack
  2.  Major point attack
  3.  Do it in order always


  1. If too self-serving, attack their definition
  2. If attack, offer counter definition
  3. Accept their definition if you can


  1. What it should be
    1. Preserve your ground
    2. Establish obligations of teams, yours need to be acceptable
    3. Provide a weighing mechanism and/or decision procedure
  2. Reject it and offer a new one. Utilitarianism - most good for the greatest number.
  3. Accept it if it works for you. If it helps you more than them, make sure to say so.


A.      Their framework/definition is X

B.      Unreasonable

1.      Too self-serving - means govt wins

2.      No good opposition ground - state what it would be

3.      Definition is grammatically incorrect - use another sentence

4.      Prevents discussion of important issues - govt is afraid to do so

C.      Our definition is more reasonable - give it

D.      Voting issue: they lose

1.    Social contract

2.    Preserve educational benefit of the debate

3.    Jurisdiction: you can't vote for a team that doesn't support the motion given, they are not the government


  1. Make them specify a scenario in which this happens
  2.  Make them explain it - their burden

Number of instances - how many

Extent of harm to each - why is it bad

Time frame - they get over it

Comparisons in time and space - never been so good

It is actually a good thing (turn)

Trade off with other values (turn)

Culture based (turn)


  1. Amount they can prove solved for. Percentage. Their burden. Wishful thinking not allowed. Must be based on proof.
  2. Alternate causes not dealt with
  3. Implementation failures - government programs never meet goals
  4. Circumvention. Use motives, find a mechanism, impact it
  5. Models or examples
    1. Too small
    2. Rigged to succeed
    3. Not similar example, differences are shown to be important.
  6. Will make things worse (turn)

| Markus, Spela, Anzej, Stasa | Masa and Peter |


Can have more than one.

May want to present it in the second opposition speech.

  1.  Say, "Government case causes serious new problems."
  2. THEORY: The web of life
  3. Types:
    1. Cost, and what gets cut
    2. Backlash
    3. Political effects internally
    4. International effects
    5. Distortion of markets and economies
    6. Harm to specific individuals
    7. Evil uses of the plan
    8. Bad precedent
  4. Components:
    1. Name
    2. Thesis
    3. Link: their plan sets it in motion
    4. Brink/uniqueness: they alone cause it
    5. Internal link: other logical step
    6. Impact: why it is bad
  1. Answering a disadvantage - what to look out for
    1.  Plan does not cause it
    2.  No impact - what it causes is not very harmful
    3.  Turn on causality - plan solves it, not cause it
    4.  Turn on effects - impact is really good, not bad
    5.  Disprove internal link - breaking the chain of reasoning
    6.  No brink - link not enough to cause it
    7.  Will happen anyway, or should have already happened
    8.  Case outweighs case advantage bigger than disadvantage


q      Individual consideration of proposition: 1 minute

q      Team preparation: Predict govt case, major offensive arguments, rhetorical framing 3 minutes

q      Individual work: 5 minutes

q      1st speaker prepares defensive arguments

q      2nd speaker prepares offensive arguments, disadvantages.

q      Team work: Talk to each other and inspect ideas. Suggest any changes. Then discuss work of second speaker. 3 minutes.

q      Final preparation individually, first speaker prepares offensive arguments 3 minutes.


  1. Examine definitions - debatable case if acceptable
  2. Examine framework - debatable case if acceptable
  3. Defense: on case, especially their solution
  4. Offense: turns and disadvantages

12:10                  Break

12:20 AM    Exercises: 2 Cases Anticipated

13:00                  Lunch

| Miha, Iris, Rok, Simona | Miha and Laura |

14:30                  Drills: Opposition #1

Take a resolution:

1.    Anticipate possible interpretations. Open motions can be a problem, need to have very general approach.

2.    Anticipate possible problems, craft basic answers to them.

3.    Anticipate possible solutions, craft basic answers to them.

4.    Plan for offense turns and disadvantages.

5.    Keep a record of every time you prep a strategy

15:40                  Drills: Opposition #2

Take a specific government case.

1.    Examine interpretation & framework, accept or indict and offer a new one.

2.    Arguments against the problem(s).

3.    Arguments against the solution.

4.    Two disadvantages.

| Nusa | Rok |

16:30                  Practice Debates


Use of animals for entertainment purposes (zoo, circus, etc.) should be illegal.


18:00                  End


Friday, November 28, 2003

The last day. Things had gone so well and I was very pleased. This day would be a bit lighter and somewhat abbreviated. I knew that many students would be going home for the weekend and se I wanted to finish early. I also wanted to have a closing session and evaluations needed to be filled out. The night before had been the "farewell" night for everyone. Everyone had met at a local pub and had a few beers and told tall tales for a while. In my role as an elderly gentleman I excused myself early, but they apparently went dancing until quite late, some until 5 AM. Yet, everyone was on time the next morning.

Here are the notes for the day

9 AM           Lecture: Closing the debate, Humor, Heckling


  1. Focus more on winning issues - you must choose your battles
  2. A winning issue may be characterized by:
    1. The damage it does to the balance between the sides
    2. Poorly answered by opposing teams
    3. Ignored by opposing team
  3. Focus on your best defense
  4. Always focus on your best offense
  5. Weigh it for the judge: ours is more important than theirs. Must save time for this at the end.
    1. Bigger number
    2. Each instance more important
    3. More probable future scenario
    4. Time frame
    5. Irreversible
    6. Voluntary risk
    7.  Morally required

    | Sandi and Anja | Tilen and Brigita |


Humor has value:

q      When it works, it is magical, when it doesn't work it is an embarrassment.

q      Motivates audience to think critically

q      Keeps the audience interested

q      Wit is associated with intelligence

q      No need to be "laugh out loud" funny

q      Use humor in the first 30 seconds

q      Introductions: catalog some good quotations that are entertaining

q      Have a more serious tone in the conclusion  to your speech

q      Use humor about an argument or about yourself, do not make fun of an opponent (unless they are very good debaters or unless they deserve it)


Sorts of heckling:

q      Simple ones: patting table for approval, saying shame for disapproval

q      Taking points: Say something clever when taking their point.

q      Asking for a point: Say something clever when asking.

q      Saying something very short and pointed during speech (Someone talks about military action being good "Just like Vietnam," someone says that American policy makers make good decisions or are intelligent "You mean like George Bush") or that policy makers will enforce the law ("Like Berlusconi").

| Tina, David, Gregor | Tomas and Kubo |


Examples of humor:
Many taken from Shuster &Meany, ON THAT POINT, parliamentary textbook.


Speech introduction: I delivered this speech once in prison, my apologies to those of you who have heard it before.


For the case proper:

q      For every problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong. -HL Mencken

q      I am from the government and I am here to help you is only slightly less trustworthy than I will respect you in the morning.

q      I suppose this is their idea of progress, we go around in the same circle only faster.

q      That is an argument with few equals, only superiors.

q      On a less serious note, my opponents argued...

q      If ignorance is bliss, ladies and gentleman, meet Mr./Ms. Happy.

q      The way they treat money we should all be asking them for a long term loan.


On asking for a point:

q      Point of reality.

q      On that official propaganda

q      On your lack of concern for others

q      On your apology for fascism


On refusing a point:

q      No, you embarrassed yourself enough last night

q      No thank you, your colleagues will do better without your comments.

q      No point from you, you refused to listen last time.


Replies to hecklers who speak out during your speech:

q      I would like to help you out, which way did you come in?

q      Yes, I am sure we all remember our first beer.

q      If I have said anything to offend you, please believe me.

q      There are things that go without saying, would you mind being one of them?


10:30                 Exhibition Debate & Critique


Open motion: This house values cooperation over competition.
Government case: European defense Force is a bad idea stick with NATO.

| The last debate | Barbara |


12:00                  Lunch


13:30                  Practice Debates

Tobacco companies should pay compensation to damaged customers.

| Urshka and Primoz judging | Tomas (back) and Primoz critique a practice debate |

15:00                 Closing Ceremonies

                           Thank you, Certificates & Shirts, Closing remarks

<== Urshka with chocolate gift for me from Ina and herself


15:30                  End

After the day was over, after saying good byes (I hate that), and after some extended conversations, we walked to the ZIP office because they wanted to show it to me. It is worth a look. The Slovenians have done a great job of building an organization to promote debate and penetrating many, many schools and just about all universities. Take a look at their crib.

| The ZIP doorway | Beti works inside the office |

Saturday, November 29, 2003

After sleeping in quite late I took Bojana up on her offer to show me a bit of Ljubljana. We walked around the old town for a while and then went to the market. Then we cooked the food we bought at the market for dinner.

| Castle overlooking Ljubljana | Big church at the bottom of the castle |

| Small church at the bottom of the castle | City Hall |

| Fun faces | NATO no vote graffiti |

| Ljubljanica River | Statue of the poet Preseren |

| Two different parts of the shopping district |

| Accordion player at the marketplace | Merger between broccoli and cauliflower |

| Vegetable market | Cheese market |

| Fish market | You guessed it, fish! |

| Spice market | Flower market |

Sunday, November 30, 2003

I took the whole day off. Relaxing, reading, watching a movie. Bojana did suggest a place for dinner. I had been there before, a place called Ancja, by the airport. They apparently have the best struchli (a kind of boiled strudel that I like) and i had both buckwheat and cheese.

Bojana's son, Bine, and his partner Tina picked me up ay 2 AM and drove me to Venice for my flight home. At least they checked my passport this time on the way into a country (Italy).

Monday, December 1, 2003

My flight from Venice to Paris was right on time. My flight from Paris to Newark was also on time, and although it was crowded there were fewer screaming children. After a brief stopover in Newark I caught a Continental flight for Burlington, Vermont. I got there in time for the normal Monday 6 PM debate meeting, but I was slightly delirious.

It was great. I can't wait to do it again. If you would like me to help arrange a similar program in your country, please contact me. My personal website is at

Thanks to everyone!