Movie”The Great Debaters” Analysis

The Great Debaters

You will watch the film, The Great Debaters, in its entirety and follow the instructions below. The film can be accessed by copying and pasting the following link in your browser: The Great Debaters 2007 Full Movie (Links to an external site.)

Although you can learn several lessons from watching The Great Debaters, you are going to focus on what helps a person defend their position in a business setting.   In the movie, you observed the main characters engaged in debate.  By examining what made them effective, you can also learn how to be an effective communicator in a business setting.  The following questions center around the generic elements of an effective persuasive speech. All of these elements were present in the speeches delivered in the movie.

Please type your answers in a Word document. Each answer must be at least 100 words.

  1. Research – How did they prepare to defend their positions?  Did it appear that they had

performed research?  If so, what types of sources did they use?

  1. Voice and tone – what did you notice about the debaters tone of voice that made them


  1. Gestures – how did the debaters use gestures in their speech to make it more effective?
  2. Emotions – do you think the debaters emotions helped or hurt their ability to speak

effectively. Defend your position.

  1. Credibility – at a time when blacks where not considered credible by whites, how did

the debaters build their credibility?

  1. Positive speech – did the speakers use phrases such as “maybe” or “possibly?”  Did

they show their conviction with phrases such as “we must” or “we will?”  Which do you think is most effective?  Why?

  1. Effective persuasion – did the elements of the debaters speeches invoke people to act?
  2. Closing – what do you think made the debaters closings effective?
  3. If you were to defend your idea to open a new business in the Tri-town area, how

would the elements for effective speech demonstrated in the movie help you?


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