Our debate program enables students to critically engage with the world around them by allowing for discussion off current events in a way that is stimulating, fast-paced, and challenging.
Each age segment of our debate classes focuses on building skill sets that train students to be thoughtful, eloquent, and confident members of society.
In elementary debate education, we focus on confidence, speech delivery, and basic critical thinking skills. Reading of appropriate news sources and topics are encouraged to allow students to make connections between what they read and the debates that they participate in.
In middle school debate education, we focus on the same skills, but also add emphases on understanding how government works, important elements of history and how they affect modern politics and culture, important science and health topics, and basic economics.
High school debate classes train students to think at a very high critical level. Research is emphasized, as well as relating to audiences, articulating complex ideas, and thinking both critically and creatively. Students are encouraged to research topics deeply and develop levels of knowledge about current events that are well beyond most classroom discussions. A broad range of topics are covered, and students are equipped to be able to argue a number of different perspectives on those topics.
“…Debate is almost uniquely suited to building what's been called the "Four C's" of 21st century skills—critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. And to that list I might add a fifth "C"—for civic awareness and engagement.
To succeed in debate, you also have to be a creative thinker. You have to spot the gaps that other people don't see—and then fill in those gaps....you have to communicate your position clearly and persuasively to judges from different backgrounds and perspectives—whether they are teachers, parents, community leaders, or college students. And you have to communicate in a collaborative manner. You work with your team.
It's so important that our youth increase their global competencies and become globally-aware citizens in the 21st century—and debate is one fantastic means of doing so.”
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, 2012