for an excellent article on the educational value of debate. This is a must-read for parents researching summer debate programs.
Policy debate is an outstanding training ground for research, critical thinking, and oral advocacy. The process of learning about a particular topic and assembling arguments on both sides of an issue will help students to understand how to craft positions, defend them with evidence, and extend them into new arenas. Politics, history, communication, philosophy, economics, and other subjects will be covered as students develop arguments in writing and through speech, including the art of asking and answering questions. Studies have concluded that participation in debate leads students to higher levels of academic achievement and this seminar aims to enhance such active learning and expertise in research and critical advocacy.
Introduction to Debate is for new debaters who have not yet attended a tournament. We will learn the basics of debate, begin research on the new policy debate topic, and engage in a number of debates and skills exercises.
The primary emphasis in the introductory session will be on research skills and debate technique. We will divide the National Speech and Debate Resolution into multiple categories and engage in specific research assignments. Research groups will be organized around central questions and each individual will contribute to the final product, utilizing a broad range of sources and discussing the qualifications for various types of evidence. In addition to specific research projects, sessions will also include mini-lectures and group discussions on the various techniques of policy debate. We will delve into cutting-edge debate theory involving how framework arguments can shift the judge’s decision calculus, how counterplans can give the negative team a strategic option beyond the status quo, how topicality can work in tandem with both disadvantages and case arguments, and how so-called “kritik” positions can challenge the underlying assumptions of the affirmative plan. We will also engage in micro-debates on very specific issues, full practice rounds, extended cross-examination sessions, and rebuttal re-dos. Different forms of engagement will be deployed so that students learn about judge adaptation and how to respond to opponents with distinct styles. Each afternoon, students will deliver speeches, analyze speeches performed by their colleagues, and discuss ways to improve both style and content. We will use two classic rubrics that have survived the test of time to analyze and compare speeches: Aristotle’s tripartite scheme of ethos, pathos, and logos and the rhetorical canon of invention, arrangement, style, delivery, and memory.
Please contact Dr. Kuswa at email@example.com with questions.
This is a full day camp for one week. A hearty lunch provided by Sage Dining Services is an add-on option for this camp.
Week 2 (incoming 6th-12th graders)
About the instructor:
Dr. Kevin Douglas Kuswa is the co-author of Argumentation and Critical Thought: An Introduction to Advocacy, Reasoning, and Rhetorical Analysis, a textbook used in debate classes at the collegiate level. Dr. Kuswa’s students have been successful at every stage, winning virtually every debate tournament in the country on the high school and collegiate levels. He has been teaching and coaching debate for 25 years at institutions such as the University of Richmond, California State University, the University of South Carolina, and Dartmouth College (where his team won the National Debate Championship). Dr. Kuswa himself won the National Championship debating for Georgetown University where he received a degree from the School of Foreign Service. Earning his PhD in Communication Studies with a specialty in Rhetoric from the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Kuswa has presented his scholarship at numerous conferences and published pieces in the top journals in the field such as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, and Argumentation and Advocacy. Teaching has long been Dr. Kuswa’s passion and he is ecstatic to be serving as the Head Debate Coach and Upper Division English faculty member at Berkeley Preparatory School.