Summer Debate Institute
Institute Learner Outcomes
Skill Development Emphasis
Students should return from a workshop with improved skills, not just increased jargon, and those skills should be meaningful. During the Institute, students will spend more time working on their own individual skills than on any other activity. To increase understanding of the skill-building process, students will be given a number of opportunities to consider and evaluate the work of their peers.
The faculty will use a variety of instructional approaches to address targeted weaknesses and develop skills. In addition to large group presentations, there will be demonstrations, skill drills, practice rounds, evaluations, and practice judging. A low student-to-faculty ratio will ensure that our primary attention us directed toward individual goals.
Library Research Skills
Informed thought is the backbone of debate. Those with little experience doing systematic research will address this year's topic through a series of exercises designed to make them skilled library researchers. Those with substantial experience in the library will do their research in a series of tutorials with a staff member who is responsible for "plugging any holes" in the student's research skills.
Specific sessions will be directed toward choosing and utilizing Internet resources applicable to this year's topic. Students who complete the research sequence will be equipped to not only be stronger debaters but also better students and more informed members of society.
A successful debater must be able to speak well. Different judges appreciate a variety of speaking styles, so debaters must learn to adapt their style to diverse audiences. Each student will participate in numerous practice rounds and an even greater number of skill-improvement drills that will make them more effective communicators. Students work with and learn how to adapt to varied critics and coaches.
Argumentation Theory/Strategy Skills
Argumentation theory is an outstanding tool for improving cognitive development. As debate theory advises, those who know the fundamentals of argument are best able to adjust. A series of presentations and exercises help students learn critical thinking skills that improve analysis and reasoning in debates, in other classes and throughout your life!
Additionally, diagnostic exercises will be used to direct Kernels to the basic skills most appropriate to needs, such as "effective cross examination" and "taking a fast flow." All students take part in affirmative and negative strategy sessions and advanced students will be encouraged to explore the developing aspects of debate theories such as performativity and ironic presentation.