Debate League clubs meet for 2-hours, twice per month, between September and May (plus free entrance to the SLAM annual event).
Activities include quick, fun, and creative games, activities, and debate sparring to learn the relevant skills for any format of debate. Debate sparring sessions are short, fun, and easy, one-, two-, or three-person debates on topics that don’t require deep research, e.g., “School uniforms should be required,” “The rise of selfies is a troubling cultural problem,” “Whataburger vs. In-N-Out,” etc.
Lots of fun and engaging activities are used to help instill skills like speaking clearly, note-taking (referred to as flowing), thinking on your feet, organizing your thoughts, being creative and adapting, and determining what is relevant in material.
Emphasis is placed on structuring a case, referred to as the “Constructive,” developing a “Framework” (how the judge should decide the winner), understanding your opponents’ case through “Cross-Examination,” effective techniques for “Rebuttal”, and how to crystallize and convey your win to the judge.
Some light homework is assigned to help reinforce what’s been learned and prep for debates.
Debate League attracts families and children (from 10-17) who value the development of debating skills but don’t have the hours or funds available to devote to a competitive regional or national school debate program. Debate League caters to the busy student who enjoys learning, practicing, and developing the skills of debate without an overwhelming time commitment.
Yes, you are welcome to visit the group to “check us out.” Guests are seated with the members, and are sometimes given the option to participate in some of the meeting’s activities. To arrange for a visit, call or text us at 214-972-8046, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best time to join is when there is an opening in the club. Membership is limited to 16. After that, we add names to a waiting list. To find out if there is space in your desired club, call or text 214-972-8046 or email email@example.com.
We have a series of activities, videos, and take-home work for new members to get them caught up on the basics. Typically new members are able to jump right into impromptu sparring debates (at which they will improve, with experience), and of course games don’t require special experience.
Look at the first FAQ above to get a general idea of whether you already have traits considered helpful for debate. That’s a great start. What will determine if you are a good fit is if you can grasp the material and implement the techniques you are learning. Membership is monthly, so if it’s not a good fit, you can easily withdraw.
You may stay in Debate League until you graduate high school or turn 19, whichever is later.
The style of debate we primarily draw from in Debate League is called Public Forum. Public Forum involves teams of two, debating the pros and cons of a proposal, called a “resolution.” Each speaker has a chance to speak twice and is involved in two “crossfire” questioning segments.
Simply put, the skills learned in Public Forum transfer easily to other forms of debate.
In Debate League we use a modified version of the Public Forum format, that has 1-3 member teams presenting a Case, a Rebuttal, two Crossfires, and a Final Focus.
Much of a debater’s success is based on the preparation that goes in before the debate begins. In sparring that often means quick thinking and creativity. For debates prepared between meetings, success usually hinges on research, strong arguments with evidence, anticipation of the opponents’ arguments, and a compelling explanation for how the debate should be judged.
We teach members to examine the resolution, determine the issues at play, structure arguments and rebuttals, plan for 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.
While members learn key elements and techniques of debate, at Debate League it is not the all-consuming activity it can be with school programs, and the like.
Here are four reasons why Debate League “recreational” debate can be the right choice for your child:
All of our members are provided our proprietary Debate League Quick Guide.
We encourage members to bring their Quick Guide, notebook paper, and, if possible, a cellular-connected research device, e.g. laptop, smartphone, or tablet, to each meeting. Where possible, we will provide wifi access.
At Debate League, members learn and communicate in a persuasive and respectful way. We follow the H.E.R.O. code of conduct:
Many public and private school debate teams meet for 4-6 hours per week, giving them tons of time with coaches to prep for full, monthly debates and multiple outside tournaments. Debate League, on the other hand, is a recreational club, meeting only three hours per month.
The result of this reduced training and practice time is that, rather than focusing on monthly debates and outside tournaments, we focus on intra-club debate and one inter-club tournament (against other Debate League clubs) at the SLAM conference, which is held on the third Saturday in June.
Success in debate is a combination of preparation and presentation, leading to perceptual dominance by one team over the other. While the words are the most important part of debate, judges are also influenced by excellent presentation. Speakers League focuses on impromptu speaking, presentation techniques, and critical evaluation, all indispensable skills in debate.
There is a one-time, non-refundable, $50 registration/materials fee per child when you join a Debate League club. Dues, if paid annually, are $275. If you would prefer a month-to-month arrangement, you may opt to pay dues of $25 per month, year-round, until you withdraw from the club.
There are no refunds for club registration fees or dues, once paid. For camps, workshops, and short-term classes, a full refund can be made up to 30 days before the first session; a full refund less $100 can be made up to 72 hours before the first session. No refunds will be made within 72 hours of the first session.
All of our Debate League dues are essentially annual. You can either pay $275 per year all at once, or $300 per year in $25/month increments. There are three reasons for this:
Yes. As long as you are not receiving a different promotion, siblings in the same club or camp/class receive a 10% discount on both registration and dues. Use the promo code “SIBLINGS” on your online order form.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal for our monthly payment option. If you are paying annually, you may use these same methods, as well as cash or checks.
Any registration fees, tuition, or dues cover such items as room rentals, equipment and supplies, trophies, staffing, videotaping, database entry, textbooks, forms, etc.
Debate League clubs meet twice per month between September and May, plus our annual conference on the second Saturday in June. Some adjustments are made to the schedule when holidays conflict.
No. However, it is a good idea to request that someone take notes for you of what happened at the meeting.
You may withdraw your child from the club at any time by notifying the coach. Payments made up to that point are non-refundable. Future scheduled payments are immediately halted.
If you feel that you cannot participate in Debate League without financial assistance, we are able to make special arrangements for families that request it. We offer partial scholarships, and they are based solely on need, not merit. To request a scholarship, we ask that the parent submit a statement in writing, or verbally, describing the reason assistance is desired, and what amount is requested. Members/parents who receive scholarship assistance may be asked to contribute volunteer time, on occasion.
The quickest way to join is through our online enrollment portal at this link. (If you are requesting financial aid, contact us at the email or phone number at the bottom of this page, and a different ordering method will be used.)
Once you have paid and completed our online member data form, an automated, short series of emails will start to come to you to help your child get ready for the club. The Quick Guide will be provided at your first meeting.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text
As space permits, we accept new members throughout the year. Join our mailing list below to receive more details. (You can unsubscribe at any time.)
REFUND POLICY There are no refunds for club registration fees or dues, once paid.
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.