Balloon debate

A balloon debate is a debate in which a number of speakers attempt to win the approval of an audience. The audience is invited to imagine that the speakers are flying in a hot-air balloon which is sinking and that someone must be thrown out if everyone is not to die.

In a balloon debate, speakers must argue their case for not being thrown out of a hot-air balloon

Each speaker has to make the case why they should not be thrown out of the balloon to save the remainder. Typically each participant speaks on behalf of a famous person, profession, fictional character, etc.[1] Other perilous situations may take the place of the sinking balloon, for example, a shipwrecked raft, or a nuclear bunker.

Balloon debating is often used by teachers in attempts to encourage students to "...prioritize content with resulting gains in complexity when they [perform] the task."[2][clarification needed] Modern television has adopted the style, with individuals making their own cases. The first of this genre is probably the Big Brother format of reality television series.[3] It is also used in teaching GCSE English.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sather, Trevor (1999). Pros and Cons: A Debater's Handbook. Taylor & Francis. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-415-19548-5.
  2. ^[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Gray, Chris (18 August 2000). "Most hated man in Britain is found guilty - of breaking the rules of a television gameshow". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2008-12-02. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)