What's up with Debate League?
Are you a bright, motivated person, aged 12*-17, who's ready to research, argue, and question any topic? Are you curious to learn the techniques of debate that will help you communicate persuasively? Do you want to be able to take apart an opponent's argument? Do you have a competitive streak? Do you want to have fun and be challenged?
* Capable younger children may join on a provisional basis.
About Debate League
In Debate League, we use games, activities, and sparring to learn the relevant skills for debate, including speaking clearly, note taking (referred to as "flowing"), thinking on your feet, organizing your thoughts, and determining what's relevant in material. Debate sparring sessions are short, fun, and easy debates on topics that don't require research, e.g., cats vs. dogs, laces vs. velcro, homeschool vs. public school, etc.
We also prepare for, and conduct, full, competitive team debates and tournaments. The specific style of debate we focus on is "Public Forum," a type of debate based on current events. We examine propositions, determine the issues at play, structure arguments and rebuttals, learn about effective cross-examination, conduct evidence research, crystallize/summarize the state of a debate, cite impacts, learn how to identify and combat logical fallacies, and understand the elements of judging. Members are usually called upon to debate BOTH sides of an argument and must prepare for both.
Debate League holds two major inter-club tournaments – the Winter Classic, held the second week of December, and the SLAM tournament, held on the second Saturday in June.
Both of my kids have benefited enormously from
being in Speakers League and Debate League.
Peggy W., Parent
Click on a club location
Debate League clubs meet for two hours, twice per month, between September and May (plus June Tournament) and it's helpful if members have a device available for research at the meetings, such as a smartphone or tablet. There's often time spent outside regular club meetings to prepare for debates. We hold two optional inter-club tournaments during the year and one intra-club tournament, as well as possible opportunities to participate in outside tournaments, field trips, etc.
As space permits, we accept new members throughout the year. A textbook on Public Forum debate is provided to all new members. There are generally two coaches at each meeting to allow us to quickly integrate newer members, and we make an effort to be available for members between meetings.
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Speech and debate has made me a better speaker,
and I connect with people better because I'm able to
communicate in a clearer way. I love speech and debate!
– Isaac K., Student
The value of learning debate
These skills, loosely categorized as elements of emotional intelligence, include the capacity to persevere through setbacks (grit), the facility to bring existing knowledge to a novel situation (creativity), comfort in working with others and knowing when to lead and when to follow (collaboration), the capability to confront the seemingly infinite volumes of information on any topic and select the relevant data (research), and sensitivity to what a target audience is thinking so that such data can be presented persuasively (empathy). The debate curriculum teaches young people much of what they'll need to know in these areas by active, engaging, and highly direct means. Click here to read the full article.