Understanding Debate: Functions, Objectives, Characteristics and Elements

In everyday life, we are familiar with debate activities. From school competitions, formal events, television, and social media on our devices. The debate event that most grabs the attention of Indonesians is of course the debate ahead of the general election.

Many things need to be prepared before arguing. Debate is not just talking about it. Debate activity is a combination of speaking skills and complete knowledge of the topic to be debated. Without proper preparation, it may be difficult to win the debate.

A. Definition of Debate

According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), the definition of debate is the exchange and discussion of opinions regarding a matter by conveying arguments or reasons to each other with the aim of defending opinions and even winning opinions.

In general, debate can be understood as a strategy in an argument or argument with the aim that we can break the opponent’s opinion, and vice versa, our opinion is not broken by the opponent. There is also a mention, debate is the activity of submitting proposals and defending the proposal.

There are actually many definitions of debate, there are many perspectives regarding the definition of debate. According to Wusu Hendrikus, debate is an argument between individuals or groups with the aim of achieving a victory for one party. In essence, debate aims to defend one’s opinion and reasons so that the debater’s opponents, followers, and other people follow.

Meanwhile, according to JS Kamdhi (1995), the definition of debate is a discussion or exchange of opinions by each participant on a subject matter, where each participant may provide reasons or arguments to defend his opinion.

Furthermore, Henry Guntur Tarigan (1984) reveals that debate is an activity of mutual opinion between individuals or groups to determine whether or not a particular proposal is good by bringing together supporters and deniers.

In conclusion, debate is an exchange and discussion of proposals or opinions by giving each other reasons or arguments with the aim of defending the opinion of one party.

B. Debate Function

Debate has several functions that will be very useful for everyday life, debates that need to be underlined. Here are the points.

Cultivate speaking skills in expressing opinions well on pro and con conflicts.
Building analytical power, related to the skill to listen and understand the opponent’s debate.
Cultivate the ability to convey arguments logically with polite language and gestures.
Stimulate skills in critical thinking
Stimulate research on controversial issues or topics
Understand and find out the positive and negative sides of a particular issue
Learn to think analytically and systematically
Learn to express thoughts to others
Increase self-confidence
Improve skills in seeing things from another perspective
Cultivate the skills of assessing and clarifying the opinions of others
Practice speaking coherently and fluently

The debate function is very beneficial, speaking skills in debate can support communication with other people in the real world. However, not everyone can have debating skills. Debate depends on the mentality of each person, and it should also be noted, not everyone likes to talk, let alone argue.

C. Purpose of the Debate

In simple terms, pounding is a debate to defend each other’s opinion to win or can’t be broken by the opponent. Here are the goals of the debate broadly:

Build a case that is accompanied by arguments in support. The tips for successfully designing a case in a debate, namely referring to basic questions which include 4W + 1H
Understanding the cases that are happening in the community
Practice finding arguments based on strong and accurate data
Influence the attitudes and opinions of others so that they agree and agree with the proposed arguments.
As a way to display, enhance, and develop verbal communication
Trying to convince others that the arguments they have are the most appropriate arguments to agree and agree on

D. Characteristics of Debate

Talking about debate, many special terms are only used in debate activities. Specific terms contained in the debate such as the topic of debate or motion, there is also the term affirmative team which means groups of pro and con teams. In addition, when debating, the two debate teams often said interruptions. Interrupting is the same as expressing an opinion.

The form of the debate is actually almost the same when we watch the debate on television, there are two debate teams that are ready to argue plus a moderator and/or jury at the same time. The following are the characteristics of a debate that you need to know.

The debate has two points of view, namely the point of view of the affirmative party and the point of view of the negative party. It can be said that the party is affirmative when the person agrees on the topic being debated. While the negative parties are those who do not agree with the topic of the debate itself.

There are arguments and arguments to defend the arguments and get the win
There was a question and answer session that dropped or broke the opponent’s argument
Every debate prioritizes the pros and cons
Each other defending each other’s opinions or arguments
How to determine the winner, can be done based on the decision of a jury or it could be by voting from the jury
Every time there is a debate, a mediator is needed or commonly called a moderator. The moderator has a role to lead the debate.
Obeying the debate procedures and rules, which procedures aim to protect and defend the arguments of both parties.

From the characteristics of the debate that have been presented above, it can be concluded that the characteristics of a debate are that it consists of two debaters, there is a moderator as well as a jury, or the appointment of a special jury in a debate competition.

E. Elements of Debate

Not only the meaning, function, purpose, and characteristics of the debate. The debate has several important elements, as follows:

1. There is a topic or problem being discussed

Debates without topics or issues that are discussed, just like food without spices, will taste bland. Debates can be held if there are topics or issues raised and discussed. The term proposed topic is also known as a motion.
2. Affirmative Team

Affirmative team or pro team can be defined as a team that supports the topic. The task of the affirmative team or pro team is to provide opinions or arguments that support the proposal. The role of the affirmative team is mandatory because it will be against the counter team.

3. Negative Team or Counter Team

There is an affirmative team or a pro team, there is a negative team or a counter team, those are the elements that must be met in debating activities. The task of the negative team or the counter team itself is to convey disagreements or opinions that reject the proposal by breaking the arguments presented by the pro team.

4. Neutral party

Neutral parties are needed in a debate to provide support and encouragement to both parties, both pro and contra. As the name suggests, neutral parties are not allowed to support either party.

5. Moderators

Moderator is an element that is no less important. The moderator has the function to lead a debate so that it is in accordance with the debate procedure and guide the discussion of the topic so that it does not leave the discussion.

6. Writer or Minutes.

A debate activity requires someone who is in charge of recording all opinions expressed by the pros, cons, moderators, even the neutral team, namely the minutes. Basically, the note taker is tasked with writing the conclusions of the debate. However, the minutes also record the statements, final conclusions, debate motions and submissions of the debating parties.

Several elements of the debate above must be met in a debate activity. Each element has its own duties and roles that are equally important. The elements of the debate will be very necessary if the debate activity wants to produce something.

The elements above do not include additional technical elements. for example media controllers such as presentation screens, computers or laptops, microphones and many more technical elements.

F. Debate Structures

In addition to having elements, debate also has a structure that needs to be considered.

1. Issue introduction

Introduction to issues or commonly known as topic introduction. The introduction of interesting topics to discuss are topics or issues that are still controversial in society. If the topic does not start from something that is still controversial in society, the debate will not be interesting and the audience will also be less enthusiastic to watch.

2. Series of arguments

The series of arguments is the time for both teams to present useful evidence and facts to support the arguments of the debater. The characteristics of the argument itself are, it must be relevant, systematic, clear, logical and accompanied by evidence

3. Reaffirmation (conclusion)

Reaffirmation or what we usually call a conclusion . Reaffirmation has a function that is at the end, with the aim of making a final statement that confirms that the objection or opinion is for or against.