Introduction to Debate Formats - Asian Parliamentary

Asian Parliamentary Format

I explain some general features of the format, namely the Teams and Speaking Order, Timing, Points of Information and Reply Speeches

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Brief Notes on this Lecture

Debates are basically structured discussions. Each debate has a format and these rules are there to ensure fairness. I will talk about the Asian format and explain teams & order of speakers, timing, Points of Information and Replie Speeches.

In the Asian Parliamentary format there are 2 teams of 3 speakers each. The team that supports the topic is called the Government and the team that opposes the topic is called the Opposition. Each speaker speaks for 7 minutes, in alternating order. First speaker from Governement, then first speaker from Opposition, then second speaker from Government, then second speaker from Opposition and so on. At the end of these 6 speeches, each team can make a shorter Reply speech, for minutes. Either the first or second speaker of each team will have the chance to make this speech. This time the Opposition will start, followed by the Government.

The final element if this format is called Points of Information. These are short interjections (questions, comments, statements etc) - usually less than 15 seconds long that the opposite team can offer the speaker who is speaking. So for example, during the first speaker on the Government's speech, any speaker on the Opposition can rise up and offer a question, by saying "Point of Information!". The Government speaker can then choose to accept or not accept the point (although he should accept at least 1 during his speech).  This adds some interactivity to the debate.

Clarification on Points of Information

  • The team that is not speaking can offer as many POIs as they want. To offer a POI, they should stand up, raise an arm and if they want, say something short like "point of information". They cannot start presenting their POI until the person speaking gives them permission to speak. They should not be rude and try to distract or interrupt the speaker. The POI must be short and if the speakers asks them to sit down and end their question, they must.
  • The person who is speaking can choose when and from whom to accept a question. If you are offered a question and you don't want to accept it, just say "no thank you", "not at this time", "sit down please" and so on. You must take 1 POI and should try to take two.
  • A POI can be a question, a comment, an argument, a rebuttal, an example - anything that you can say in 15 seconds that will help your team win the debate.
  • POIs can only be offered between the 1st and 6th minute of the first 6 speeches of the debate (not in the reply speech).