Debating: improvers

Course Dates: 26/02/25 - 02/04/25
Time: 18:00 - 19:45
Location: Keeley Street
For those who have some experience in debating or related courses, you will progress quickly in areas of content, strategy and style, while honing your articulation and enunciation. This term the course will be taught in the college.
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Debating: improvers
  • Course Code: DVM041
  • Dates: 26/02/25 - 02/04/25
  • Time: 18:00 - 19:45
  • Taught: Wed, Evening
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Gavin Illsley

Course Code: DVM041

Choose a start date  

Wed, eve, 26 Feb - 02 Apr '25

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Any questions?
or call 020 4582 0413

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Continuing from the work covered in Debating: Beginners (but also accessible to those who haven’t completed that course but who are confident speakers already), some of the topics covered on the class will include:

- Reasoning and evidence: a range of tactics and strategies to examine flaws in your opponents’ reasoning, as will the best ways to construct your own watertight case. We will also refer to some of the most common ‘logical fallacies’. In-depth discussion and analysis of appropriate and inappropriate ways to use statistics will be examined, as well as arguments from common sense and anecdotal evidence.

- Organisation and prioritisation: how to avoid repetition and duplication of points within the team, while also ensuring that your key messages are delivered clearly at various points in your argument.

- Listening and response: you will be challenged with particularly hard ‘points of information’ and arguments to rebut, and will work together to devise innovative responses.

- Expression and delivery: highly practical (and amusing!) sessions will work on all aspects of your voice (tone, pace, dynamics, different emotional states etc.) and body language.

What will we cover?

Content, strategy and style of debating as well as honing articulation and enunciation.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Communicate effectively by using a wide variety of practical and theoretical concepts relating to:
- reasoning
- evidence
- organisation
- prioritisation
- listening
- response
- expression and delivery.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Students should be reasonably confident speakers of English with some knowledge of topical issues and current affairs. Completion of the introductory course Debating: beginners is useful or you should have the relevant experience in debating or persuasive speech. In order to get the most from the course you will be able to:
• Speak English fluently
• Communicate in group situations
• Give and receive constructive feedback
• Read and respond to a range of texts
• Take course notes for your own use.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course is taught largely through participation in debates of various sizes. The primary emphasis is on practice rather than theory, and a minimum of written handouts are used.

Various games and workshop exercises are used to prepare you for the debates, which are based on the tried-and-tested model of a ‘parliamentary debate’ to ensure that there is a solid structure for all speaking activity and to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak.

You may be required to spend time outside the class undertaking some research and preparing for debates. This term the course will be taught in the college.

As part of the course content, your tutor may record your image for initial and ongoing assessment purposes. You are entitled to decline to participate in the recording of your image.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please have a notebook and pen.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

The Art of Negotiating; Use your Voice Assertively or one of our courses in Communication skills for business.

Gavin Illsley

Gavin Illsley has taught Debating, Art of Negotiation, Public Speaking and Presenting at City Lit since 2011. While at the High School of Dundee in 2003, he won the Cambridge Union Debating prize, and he was a champion debater at the Cambridge Union and European championships. Since graduation he has served as a judge of debating competitions, notably for the Oxford Union, European Debating Championships. Gavin is also Head of Programmes at the English Speaking Union.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.