Students are taken through our core curriculum where they are separated in small groups with coaches to practice various skills. In our Public Forum sessions, students rotate among various workshops and skill-building activities led by experienced coaches. We focus on speech structure, flowing/note taking, case construction, research, evidence analysis, cross-fire strategies, weighing arguments, delivery, and public speaking.
Our champion debaters will tell you that one of the most challenging tasks is learning to adapt to different judges. They hope to be assigned to an experienced debater who tracks all the arguments. The real challenge is when the metrics aren't as clear; when the outcome of the round is decided by someone with limited to no debate experience.
As Brandon explains it, "Of course, judges all have their specific preferences, but adapting to your judge can be key to winning a debate. For example, a lay judge might say that they vote off arguments, but if you speak well, you can really turn them over to your side."
Brandon, Public Forum
Megan on the affirmative side debating the resolve: The European Union should join the Belt and Road Initiative.
As she explains, “It was a grueling day of competition. I did my best to help my opponents understand the geopolitical problems from my perspective while still being open to the points they made that added value to the conversation. Debate is a tough balancing act, and sometimes you have to make concessions to help move the conversation forward.”
Megan, 6th grade
An added value of debate is the analytical skills that students develop along the way. It’s a life skill that transcends to every aspect of their lives. When we asked Adrian what he was thinking as this picture was taken, his response “My opponent was completely contradicting himself.”
Adrian, 6th grade