Debate

Debate is part of Speyer's core curriculum starting in Kindergarten and continuing through eighth grade. Debate seeks to draw students into a fuller understanding of controversial topics and also to be able to present this understanding in an articulate and passionate way. In order to accomplish this, Debate progresses through a wide variety of skill sets. Practice and performance are key aspects of the public speaking curriculum in both Lower and Middle school.

Outlined below are just a few of the skill areas and skill subsets taught in Speyer core Debate and public speaking classes.

VERBAL COMMUNICATION

  • Volume
  • Rate
  • Emphasis
  • Articulation
  • Organization
  • Word choice (diction)
  • Tone
  • Rhythm
  • Content/Emotional style matching

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

  • Body positioning (posture)
  • Movement and gestures
  • Eye contact
  • Anxiety manifestation (breathing, poise)

PUBLIC SPEAKING WITH TEXT

  • Reading from complete text
  • Reading from notes

IMPROMPTU SPEAKING

  • Focus
  • Articulating thoughts as they are formed
  • Confidence and comfort in creative speech
  • Collaborative speaking and active listening
  • Strategies for flow and delivery

FORMAL AND INFORMAL LOGIC

  • Informal inductive and deductive reasoning
  • Formal deductive reasoning
  • Venn diagrams and categorical reasoning
  • Categorical syllogisms
  • Symbolic logic (If-Then)
  • Logical fallacies
  • Simple game theory

AUDITORY COMPREHENSION

  • Note taking
  • Active listening

SOCIAL COMMUNICATION

  • Consensus building in small groups
  • Adversarial and non-adversarial negotiation
  • Instructional and descriptive speaking

RESEARCH

  • Evaluation of sources (primary v. secondary, bias v. objective, etc.)
  • Internet research strategies and technologies
  • Evaluation of evidence (bias, validity etc.)
  • Creating an annotated bibliography
  • Identifying research questions
     

RHETORIC AND SPEECH WRITING

  • Writing for speaking
  • Identifying and incorporating logos, pathos, and ethos
  • Writing for a given audience (external ethos)

DEBATE AND ARGUMENTATION

  • Motion/Topic analysis
  • Actor analysis
  • Argument construction - assertions, reasoning, and evidence
  • Impact analysis
  • Case construction  
  • Refutation
  • On and off case arguments
  • Definitions and limits
  • Cross examination and questioning
  • Principled arguments and identifying central conflicts
  • Organization and collaboration in a debate
  • Debating for an audience