Strategies: Spontaneous Argumentation Structure

limited prep speech techniques Jan 01, 2021

Strategies: Spontaneous Argumentation Structure

  • At first glance, the platypus is an odd mishmash of various creatures: it has a duck’s bill, a beaver’s tail, and an otter’s feet, and a chicken’s eggs. Spontaneous Argumentation, or SPAR, is the platypus of Speech and Debate. Is it a Speech event that primarily rewards dynamic speaking, fluency, and rhetoric? It says ‘argumentation’ in its name, so how much do your logical arguments really matter? 
  • SPAR isn’t offered by the major national competitions (the National Speech and Debate Association, Tournament of Champions, and National Catholic Forensics League haven’t included it), so there aren’t many videos to learn from. However, it’s an exceptionally popular category amongst elementary, middle, and local high school competitors. It develops critical thinking, practical persuasion, and listening skills. For that reason, it’s one of the most accessible and useful categories. 
  • While the time limits vary between regions and tournaments,  SPAR generally asks students to do three things: construct a case, question an opponent, and refute an opponent’s case. Here’s a checklist of ways to structure your SPARs so you bring in the ‘best of both worlds’ and appeal to both Speech- and Debate-oriented judges.
  • #1: CONSTRUCTIVE SPEECH CHECKLIST
    • Your delivery should be crisp, clear, and professional. Speak loudly and assertively--just a barely faster than you would in an Original Oratory. There are three parts to this speech:
    • INTRODUCTION:
      • Give a small hook to earn the audience's attention.
      • State your topic/side.
      • Preview your main two-three points.
    • EACH POINT:
      • S - make a statement/claim/what you're trying to prove.
      • E - elaboration - explain the logic behind your claim.
      • E - exemplify - give an example to prove your claim is true.
      • I - illustrate - illustrate why this statement matters by using a metaphor/analogy/powerful rhetoric.
    • OUTRO:
      • Restate your main points (briefly).
      • End strong, asking your judge to find in favor of your side.
  • #2: QUESTIONING CHECKLIST
    • There are four key tenets of Cross-Examination: clarify, challenge, confirm, and control.
      • FIRST: clarify what your opponent said. For instance, “Let’s talk about your first point. You talked about how cats are more independent than dogs, correct?”
      • SECOND: challenge their logic or evidence. “Many people choose pets specifically because they want a kind, loyal, dependable companion, don’t they?”
      • THIRD: confirm their position if they're trying to avoid the answer - respectfully. “I’m sorry, but that didn’t quite answer my question. Yes or no: some people prioritize loyalty and dependability in their pets?”
      • FOURTH: control the flow of the debate by moving on to another issue. “Thank you. Do you have a question for me?”
  • #3: REBUTTAL CHECKLIST
    • Just like your constructive speech, a SPAR rebuttal should have three parts. Remember to be confident, chipper, and comprehensible.
    • INTRODUCTION: 
      • Make an attention-getting observation about the SPAR. There are two easy ways to do this: either reference something that happened during questioning  or bring back a hook from a constructive speech. 
      • Restate your side. 
      • Preview your speech (you'll address their points and then yours).
    • REBUTTALS: 
      • Mention their claims. 
      • Challenge each claim's statements (the statements may be untrue), elaborations (their logic may be faulty), examples (their examples may not support their claims), or illustrations (their metaphors may not support their sides). 
    • OUTRO:
      • Briefly restate your key points. 
      • End with powerful rhetoric for your side. “Because I stand for truth, justice, and wellbeing, I am proud to negate.”
  • SPAR isn’t purely Debate or Speech: it’s a happy, healthy, educational combination. I hope these strategies help you along. Happy SPARring! 

 

Make An Appointment For A Free Info Session