Introducing Debate to New Students

Today I've reserved for working on assignments, excercises and activities for brand new debaters.  I define these students as people who have done nothing in the way of public speaking all the way up to those who might have forensics or mock trial experience.  Debate is something different from all other forms of forensics, and so I think it deserves a different pedagogical approach.

Here are the questions I've been thinking about:

1. Is it better to list for the students some principles of debate, or to let them experiment and then form the principles they follow inductively?

2. Who or What should be conceptualized as "audience" for beginning debaters? At first, the teacher seems appropriate, but as time passes, this becomes very inappropriate.  The Zen koan of the "finger pointing at the moon" comes into play - the student can't just see the moon.

3. How does one bridge the knowledge gap among beginning debaters without making them feel ignorant, stupid or worse? The "worse" here, in my thinking, is that they are unable to debate - that they could never know all the things that the older students on the team know, and are naturally "not smart."

Most of the ideas I've come up with so far today involve the fallacies, and also involve constructing and refuting arguments with Aristotle's topics and concepts of proof. I think that three-part system is a good one for starting people off with some tools that work in most any occassion.  There's plenty of time to deconstruct the fallacies of reasoning later in their debate life.