特别鸣谢“外研社杯”全国英语辩论赛原章程撰写者史蒂文·L.约翰逊（Steven L. Johnson）教授。
1) General rules
The “FLTRP Cup” National English Debating Competition (hereafter referred to as “the Competition”) inaugurated in 1997 is the most prestigious National English Debating Event in China. The 19th “FLTRP Cup” National English Debating Competition is organized by the Youth League, All Students Union and Beijing Foreign Studies University, and jointly hosted by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.
b) Competition Format
The Competition shall be conducted in the British Parliamentary Debating Style (also known as the World Universities Debating Championships Style) as defined in Part 2.
c) Eligibility to Compete in the Competition
A debater must be a registered full-time student of Chinese nationality (including residents of Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan Province who hold Home Return Permits) studying in an educational institution on the Chinese territory. Those who have won best speaker awards or made to the Grand Final of past FLTRP Cup National English Debating Competition are excluded from participating in the FLTRP Cup.
2) The British Parliamentary format
a) The Teams
Four teams of two debaters participate in each British Parliamentary debate round. The teams supporting the motion are referred to as the "Government". The teams arguing against the motion are known as the "Opposition". Two teams represent the Government: the Opening Government and the Closing Government. Two teams represent the Opposition: the Opening Opposition and the Closing Opposition. Each of these teams competes against all other teams in the round and will be ranked 1st through 4th at the conclusion of the debate.
b) Speaker Order
Each speaker will present a single speech in the order prescribed below.
c) Speech timing
Each speech will be 7 minutes. Points of Information (POI) are allowed after the first minute and before the last minute of all speeches.
Timing of the speech begins when the speaker begins speaking; all materials—including acknowledgements, introductions, etc.—will be timed. A timekeeper will provide a series of signals during each speech as follows:
Once the double ring has sounded, speakers have a 15-second ‘grace period’, during which they should conclude their remarks. The grace period is not a time for new matter to be introduced, and any new matter offered in the grace period may be discounted by the adjudicators. Speakers continuing after this ‘grace period’ may be penalized by the adjudication panel.
d) Speaker Roles
Each speaker has a role and each speech has a specific purpose. The descriptions of speaker roles listed below are suggestive and are not intended to be exhaustive or exclusive. For reasons that vary from debate to debate, speakers may sometimes need to fulfill roles not mentioned here and speeches may be constructed to serve other purposes as long as Proposition speakers affirm the motion and Opposition speakers oppose it.
All speakers, except the final speakers for the Proposition and Opposition (Proposition and Opposition Whips), should introduce new material (but not necessarily new arguments). All debaters should refute the opposing teams’ arguments, except the Prime Minister.
e) The Motions
A single motion will be announced twenty minutes prior to the beginning of the debate and will be presented to all debaters simultaneously in a general assembly. A different motion will be used for each round.
Motions typically focus on current issues or timeless controversies and are phrased in a way that is intended to be specific and unambiguous.
f) Focus and content of debates
British Parliamentary debating is a contest of ideas in which the Government teams are responsible for providing reasons why the motion is true and the Opposition teams are responsible for providing reasons why the motion is not true or why the Government has failed to prove the motion true. All teams have a responsibility to refute, either directly or indirectly, arguments presented by the opposing side.
Motions are written in plain language. The debaters—particularly the Opening Government team—should respect the meaning and focus of the motion. While the Opening Government team may clarify the meaning of terms in the motion, they should not attempt to alter the meaning of the motion. The Leader of the Government should provide any clarification of terms at the beginning of his or her speech.
In the majority of cases, the clarification provided by the Opening Government team will serve as an adequate foundation for the rest of the debate. Should the Opening Government fail to make clear the focus of the debate, or if the interpretation offered by the Opening Government team completely inhibits meaningful debate or completely misinterprets the meaning the motion, the Opening Opposition may offer clarification of the terms of the motion. No teams beyond the Opening Government and Opening Opposition may substantially modify the terms of the motion.
All debates shall commence 20 minutes after the motion has been announced. Debaters may consult any written materials during the preparation time. Electronic media, electronic storage and retrieval devices are all prohibited after motions have been released. Printed and prepared materials may be accessed during a debate.
Debaters may confer with their debate partner during preparation time. Debaters may not confer with any other individuals (i.e.: coaches, other debaters, trainers, adjudicators, etc.) during the preparation time, with the exception of mentors assigned to teams for specific rounds (i.e. a Regional Grand Final) at the joint discretion of the Tournament Organizing Committee and the Adjudication Core.
The Opening Government shall have the right to prepare in the debating venue. All other teams must prepare in separate locations specified by the Tournament.
Teams must arrive at their chamber immediately after the commencement of debate. Teams failing to arrive in time will forfeit the debate, at the discretion of the Chair of the panel, and shall be replaced by a swing team for the completion of the round.
h) Points of Information
Debaters may offer a Point of Information (either verbally or by rising) at any time after the first minute, and before the last minute, of any speech.
The debater holding the floor may accept or refuse any Points of Information within this time. If accepted, the debater making the request has 15 seconds to make a statement or ask a question. During the Point of Information, the speaking time of the floor debater continues. Management of Points of Information—for both the debaters offering and answering Points of Information—will be considered in the adjudicators’ ranking of teams and assignment of individual speaker points.
No other parliamentary points such as points of order or points of personal privilege are allowed.
3) Competition Administration for Regional Tournaments and FLTRP Open
a) Introduction to FLTRP Open
FLTRP Open is a series of Open Tournaments which would take place in various regions across China throughout a year. FLTRP Open would serve as Preparatory Tournaments for the FLTRP Cup. Certificates and prizes will be awarded to excellent participants.
FLTRP Open aims at providing opportunities of diagnosis and high-quality judging for debaters who are preparing for the FLTRP Cup, as well as offering introductory seminars on BP Debating, Critical Thinking, and the application of Debating/Critical Thinking Skills in real life, particularly to render assistance to debaters/institutions who are relatively new in the debating community.
As suggested by its name, FLTRP Open Tournaments would ‘Open Tournaments’ by international standard. This means, the eligibility to compete in the FLTRP would not apply for FLTRP Open; any debaters, including international students studying in Chinese Institutions, debaters from overseas institutions, high school debaters, working professionals, are all welcome to register to participate in the Open as debater, judge, or observer.
FLTRP Open Tournaments are designed to be 3-day events which starts on Friday morning and Concludes on Sunday afternoon. Friday would be for training and seminars. The actual tournament would be 5 Rounds plus a Pro-Am demonstration debate, with the first 3 Rounds on Saturday and last 2 Rounds plus the demonstration debate happening on Sunday.
One hour will be reserved after each and every round for a master trainer to provide Video Comment and Analysis, Post-Debate Motion Analysis, or PM/LO Demonstration Speeches on the topic that was just debated, as well as a Q&A session.
The Pro-Am demonstration debate will involve 4 teams each consists of one chair/trainer and one volunteer among the participants. The debate shall be on a topic that was announced on Friday, and all 8 speakers in the debate should share their experience preparing and debating together with all the other participants of the Open. The introduction of Pro-Am demonstration aims at setting a good standard of BP debating for new participants, expediting deeper understanding between debaters and judges, as well as presenting and sharing the learning experience of preparing, discussing, and debating with a master debater.
A Registration Fee will be charged for all participants of the Open, including debaters, judges, and observers. One might be allowed to change his/her role at the tournament after attending the seminars on Friday (for instance, registered as observer, yet finally decide to opt to judge at the event) as long as the change is within in tournament’s capacity. The registration fee will be utilized to recruit a number of chair-level adjudicators that should suffice the tournament based on the number of debates anticipated, plus a master trainer who would be in charge of Analytical Sessions in between Rounds.
b) Structure of the competition
In the Regional Tournaments, the Competition shall be run in two main phases: Phase One, known as the ‘Preliminary rounds’ and Phase Two, known as the 'Final'. There shall be one mock round, five Preliminary Rounds and one Final.
All teams entered in the Competition shall participate in the Preliminary Rounds. All teams shall be ranked according to their total team points, total speaker points, and win-loss records. This Overall Team Ranking shall be the basis of the ‘Break’ into the National Tournament (in compliance with Regional Breaking Quota and Provincial Breaking Quota).
The Regional Final, while still serving competition purposes, should also be a demonstration debate with educational values of promoting debate and critical thinking in the Region. With regard to this principle, the teams participating in the Regional Final should be the Top 3 Teams on the Overall Team Ranking and the Team from the Hosting Institution. In the event of the Hosting Institution made it to the Top 3 Teams, the fourth ranking team on the Overall Team Ranking should be the team joining the Top 3 Teams in the Regional Final.
c) Pairing the Preliminary Rounds
If the total number of teams entered in the Competition is not divisible by four, or during the Competition the withdrawal of teams results in a total number of teams not divisible by four, the tournament administrators shall employ “swing teams” to fill vacant slots. The swing teams shall be ranked in each round relative to the teams against whom they compete (i.e.: if a swing team is the best team in a round they should be ranked 1st) but will be ineligible to advance to the Final.
The first round of the Competition will be paired randomly.
At the conclusion of each preliminary round (except for the last round) teams shall be ranked in order of their aggregate team points accumulated by the team; from highest aggregate to lowest.
The teams should then be divided up into pools of teams with the same amount of aggregate team points, with pools being ranked from highest aggregate to lowest.
If any pool (the “Upper Pool”) consists of an amount of teams equivalent to a number that is not divisible by four, then teams from the pool ranking immediately below that pool (the “Lower Pool”) may be promoted to the Upper Pool so that the Upper Pool consists of a number of teams that is divisible by four. The team selected for promotion must be selected randomly from the Lower Pool. If promotion of a team to the Upper Pool results in a number of teams in the Lower Pool not divisible by four, each consecutive pool should be adjusted in the same fashion until all pools have a number of teams divisible by four.
Once the pools have been adjusted, the pools are paired into debates of four teams in such a way that equalizes the team positions in which each team will debate. The pairing should promote, to the greatest extent possible, equality of distribution of team positions over the Preliminary rounds.
All the Preliminary rounds shall be “open rounds,” with oral adjudications given by the adjudication panel following each debate.
d) Selection of teams for the Final and the National Competition
At the conclusion of the Preliminary rounds, the teams shall be ranked in order according to 1) their aggregate team points from the eight preliminary rounds; 2) their aggregate team scores, as determined by combining the individual speaker scores for each team member; 3) preponderance of first place rankings, followed by preponderance of second place rankings; and 4) head-to-head matches between two teams tied for a rank. If, after these tie-breakers are applied, a tie still exists, the rankings of the tied teams shall be determined by other tie-breakers determined at the discretion Adjudication Core before the Tournament.
For the Final, the adjudication panel shall select one Championship team, one Runner-up team, and two Second runner-up teams.
The Regional Breaking Quota (the number of teams from a region that shall proceed to the National Competition) shall be announced by the Tournament Organizing Committee before the Regional Competition. The Regional Breaking Quota of a Regional should be determined by the number of teams participating in the Regional Tournament this year as well as the performance of teams from this Region in the National Tournament during the last season of competition.
In the event of a team not able to make it to the National Competition based on Regional Breaking Quota yet is the highest ranking team from their province on the Overall Team Ranking, a Provincial Breaking Slot would be automatically allocated to them to allow the team to participate in the National Competition.
e) Access to debates
In preliminary rounds, observers may watch a debate round with the consent of the teams participating in the round. Similarly, those interested in photographing or recording video of the preliminary rounds must obtain the consent of the debaters participating in the round.
The Final is open to all observers subject to the restrictions of the tournament administration and the constraints of the debating venue.
f) Tabulation staff
A tabulation staff shall be appointed and shall be responsible for the pairing and scheduling of the tournament according to the provisions spelled out in the Charter.
a) The Adjudication staff
In general, the Chief Adjudicator is responsible for monitoring the quality and efficacy of adjudication at the competition. Specifically, the Chief Adjudicator will participate in the training of adjudicators, administer and mark the adjudication test, rank adjudicators, oversee the placement of adjudicators into panels, oversee on-going evaluation of the adjudicators in the pool, identify the pool of the Final Round.
The Tournament will appoint a number of Deputy Chief Adjudicators to assist with these responsibilities.
The adjudication pool may be comprised of institutional adjudicators, independent adjudicators, and others as deemed qualified by the Adjudication staff.
Each institution participating in the Competition must bring one qualified adjudicator to join the adjudication pool.
b) The role of the adjudicators
Prior to the competition, adjudicators should be ranked as either “Chairs,” “Panelists” or “Trainees.” Each debate should be adjudicated by at least one “Chair” level adjudicator. Ideally, each debate will be adjudicated by a panel comprised of one “Chair” and two “Panelist” level adjudicators.
Each Preliminary round will be judged by panel comprised of an odd number of adjudicators, ideally 3. Each panel will have a designated Chair. Panels may include Trainee adjudicators who will participate in the deliberation of the debate but will not have their decision recorded.
Following each round, the debaters will be dismissed and the each adjudicator must confer upon and discuss the debate with the other adjudicators to determine the rankings of the teams and determine the individual speaker marks. The panel will attempt to reach consensus in their adjudication. Should the panel be unable to reach consensus, the will of the majority of adjudicators on the panel will prevail. If a panel has an even number of judges, and the result of a vote is tied, the Chair’s ‘casting’ vote breaks the tie (i.e. whichever side of the tie the Chair was on is the final result).
c) The role of the Chair
The Chair will be responsible for administering the round (calling the house to order, acknowledging the speakers, maintaining order, etc.). Following the debate, the Chair should facilitate the panel’s deliberation to promote participation and input from the other panelists and trainees.
Following the deliberation, the Chair should complete the ballot provided by the tournament administrators, noting particularly that the ballot accurately reflects the will of the panel with regard to team rankings and speaker scores. The ballot should be returned to the tournament staff prior to the oral adjudication. Once the ballot has been delivered, the Chair should invite the debaters back into the venue and provide an oral adjudication to the teams.
d) Ranking teams in Preliminary Rounds
Following each Preliminary round and as a result of the adjudication panel’s consideration, teams should be ranked from 1st place to 4th place. Ties in rank are not permitted.
Teams, under no circumstances, shall receive an automatic 4th. When teams fail to arrive at the debate more than five minutes after the scheduled time for debate, a swing team will be deployed to facilitate the debate and for the other teams to receive fair adjudication as it should be in any debate round with four teams. If a team or one member of a team has harassed another debater on the basis of religion, sex, race, color, nationality, sexual orientation or disability, such equity violations shall be reported to the Adjudication Core and the Organizing Committee for their discretion, and the judging panel should judge the debate as it is. In any case, the debate should continue to provide all teams in the round the opportunity to earn a rank.
Teams should be ranked on the basis of their matter and manner.
Matter refers to the content and substance of a team’s arguments. Matter includes arguments and reasoning, evidence, examples, case studies, facts, statistics and any other material that a team uses to further the case. Matter includes both positive (or substantive) material and refutation (arguments specifically aimed to counter the arguments of the opposing team(s)).
Matter should be relevant, logical and consistent. It should relate to the issues of the debate: positive material should support the case being presented and refutation should engage the material presented by the opposing team(s). Arguments should be developed logically in order to be clear and well reasoned and therefore plausible. The conclusion of all arguments should support the member’s case. Members should ensure that the matter they present is consistent within their speech, their team and the remainder of the members on their side of the debate. All members should present positive matter (except the final two members in the debate) and all members should engage in refutation (except the first member in the debate). The Government Whip may choose to present positive matter if it is relevant to refuting the Member of the Opposition’s extension.
Manner refers to the strategy and presentation of a team’s arguments. Manner includes elements such as argument choice, speech structure, vocal and physical delivery, use of POIs, and so forth.
Manner should enhance the team’s effort to prove or disprove the motion and should be compelling. To enhance their effort, the team should appropriately prioritize and apportion time to the dynamic issues of the debate, present their arguments in an order that is clear and logical, engage the arguments of the opposing side through direct or indirect refutation. Compelling manner is that which presents the material in a way that demonstrates a concern for vocal and physical presentation. Compelling teams deliver arguments with appropriate levels of passion, present their material in a way that attends to appropriate vocal and physical delivery, and avoid behaviors that detract from the force and effectiveness of their arguments.
This description of matter and manner is necessarily incomplete. The adjudication panel should assess the totality of each team’s efforts (including, but not limited to, matter and manner) to achieve a just and fair decision.
Participants in FLTRP Cup must be aware that they will experience many different debating styles from the different universities and experience levels represented therein. There is no single ‘correct’ or ‘right’ style to adopt in this competition.
e) Assigning speaker scores
After the adjudicators have agreed upon the ranking for each team, the panel should determine the speaker scores for each debater. Individual speaker scores should be assigned as follows, where a score of 75 would reflect an average effort at the tournament.
The aggregate of the two team members’ individual speaker scores will comprise their team’s team score. Each team must receive a team score appropriate to their rank in the debate; no “low point wins” may be assigned. For example, if the 2nd place team in the round is assigned an aggregate team score of 170 points, the 1st place team must receive at least 171 aggregate points. Ties in team scores are not permitted.
The deliberations of the adjudication panel shall be closed; only the members of the adjudication panel and the timer may remain in the room for the panel’s deliberation.
Trainee adjudicators should also participate in the deliberation, and should be given sufficient time to express their opinions as both a learning experience and an assessment for future promotion.
All notes made of the round or the deliberation are the sole property of the adjudicators. The adjudicators may not be compelled to make available their notes of the round or the deliberation.
Adjudicators should confer in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. The panel’s deliberations should not exceed 15 minutes.
g) Oral Adjudication
Following the adjudication panel’s deliberation and after the ballot has been returned to the tournament staff, the Chair should offer the teams an oral adjudication that reveals the teams’ rankings, the reason for the panel’s decision and comments and suggestions for improvement. Team points should not be revealed during an oral adjudication. In the event of the Chair being ‘out-voted’, meaning the Chair is in the minority of the Adjudication Panel, a representative of the majority shall give the oral adjudication.
Other panelists may participate in the oral adjudication at their discretion and as time permits. The oral adjudication should not exceed 10 minutes.
Debaters must not harass the adjudicators following the verbal adjudication.
Debaters may approach an adjudicator for further clarification following the oral adjudication; these inquiries must at all times be polite and non-confrontational.
Oral adjudications shall be offered only in the Mock round and Preliminary rounds 1-3.
5) Grievance Policy
a) Constitution of the Grievance Committee
The Grievance Committee will be comprised of members from both the Adjudication core and the Organization Committee. Chief Adjudicator and the Convenor will act as an ex officio members of the Grievance Committee
The Grievance Committee will be responsible for hearing, investigating and resolving grievances brought by the participants in the FLTRP Cup.
b) Definition of a Grievance
A grievance is an allegation of a rule violation or a breach of conduct on the part of (a) participant(s), competitor(s) or judge(s) in the FTLRP Cup. Grievances concern errors in the process of administering or contesting the round.
Adjudicators’ decisions about substantive issues debated in the round are not subject to the grievance policy. With the exception of those decisions that are the product of some defect in procedure, the decision of the adjudicator(s) will not be overturned.
To be valid, a grievance must be filed in writing with the Grievance Committee.
Any matter may be discussed informally with the Chief Adjudicator or the Convenor prior to a participant filing a grievance.
c) Processing a Grievance
i) Filing a Grievance
A grievance should be filed as soon as possible after the event that gave rise to the grievance. In general, the grievance committee will not consider grievances that address events from a round immediately previous after the subsequent round has begun.
The written grievance should contain the following information
(a) Name, role (debater, coach, tutor, adjudicator, etc.) and university affiliation of the participant filing the grievance.
(b) Date, time, location and round in which the event that gave rise to the grievance occurred.
(c) Participants who observed or participated in the event that gave rise to the grievance.
(d) A brief description of the event that gave rise to the grievance.
(e) Identification of the section of the FLTRP Cup Charter that allegedly was violated.
(f) The remedy sought by the participant who filed the grievance
Upon receiving a written grievance, the Grievance Committee may interview the grievant(s).
If the Grievance Committee feels an investigation is warranted, they shall move the grievance to the investigation stage.
If the Grievance Committee feels that no further investigation is warranted, they shall declare the grievance dismissed.
ii) Investigating a Grievance
The Grievance Committee may interview any participant whom they believe will help them understand the events that gave rise to the grievance.
Interviews of participants may be conducted in private.
The Grievance Committee may review any documents they believe will help them understand the events that gave rise to the grievance.
The investigation phase of the grievance processing should be concluded as soon as possible.
iii) Resolving a Grievance
The Grievance Committee has broad discretion when deciding how a grievance will be resolved.
In general, the resolution for a grievance will be focused on preventing the circumstances that caused the grievance from arising again.
A written notice of the decision of the Grievance Committee shall be provided to the Chief Adjudicator and the Convener, with copies to the affected participants.
d) Finality of Decision: Any decision of the grievance committee is final and may not be appealed.
Compiled by June Lee & George Chen. December, 2015.
Special thanks to Prof. Steven L. Johnson, for his original work on the Charter of the ‘FLTRP Cup’ National English Debating Competition.
This Charter relies, in part, on material adapted from the following sources:
Charter of the ‘FLTRP Cup’ National English Debating Competition, 2012 Version
The Constitution of the World Universities Debating Championships
The World Universities Debating Championships Rules
The International Debate Education Association’s Four-Team Debate Rules