In a virtual environment, students practice two forms of debate throughout the year in preparation for parliamentary-style competitions in teams of three, and public forum competitions are adapted to teams of four. In groups of six to eight, students practice fundamental debate skills, with emphasis on extemporaneous speaking and analytical skills. The basics of “flowing,” intonation, delivery of speech, POIs, crossfire, and how to successfully develop all parts of an argument are learned. We strive to create the fun of an in-person debating experience within the convenience – and safety – of the virtual classroom environment.
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