Debate Information

Here are some frequently asked questions about debate and our debate program:

Because 2-Weeks can be roughly the equivalent to a full season of debate...

Because you have time to learn skills that there is never time to learn during the school year...

Because, like anything difficult (e.g. playing an instrument or learning a language), going months without consistent and intense activity can nullify most previously earned advancements...

Because your competition is not taking the summer off…

It's ok. We have programs for students who do not plan on competing. But debate & speech training is still important.

Because it improves education through critical thinking
Because business leaders seek those who have done debate & speech
Because debate & speech is critical to the Common Core
Because evidence-based argumentation is at the center of the New SAT

Many different styles of debate are represented in our program:

Lincoln-Douglas is the only one-on-one style of high school debate.  It is focused on philosophy and public policy.

Middle School Public Debate (MSPDP) is a parliamentary style debate where three person teams compete.  Teams consist of participants in grades 5 through 8.

Policy is the oldest style of debate.  Two person teams focus solely on legislative action.

Beginning High School Debate provides an introduction to all forms of debate popular in the United States.

Session 1, Policy Debate, is intended for experienced Lincoln-Douglas Debaters looking to learn more about policy debate and its application to Lincoln-Douglas Debate.  Students should have participated on a competitive team for at least one season.

The one-week sessions (sessions 2, 3, and 4) are intended for novice Lincoln-Douglas Debaters as well as anyone who is currently participating in or would like to learn about Middle School Public Debate.

The flagship program (session 5) is intended for all levels of debaters, including those with no experience.  Students can sign up for any style of debate:  Lincoln-Douglas, Middle School Public Debate, or Beginning High School Debate.  Students from schools that already have a competitive debate team should choose the style in which the school competes.  Middle school students (grades 5 to 8) from schools that do not have a competitive debate team should choose Middle School Public Debate.  Beginning High School students (grades 9 to 12) should enroll in Beginning High School Debate.

Beginners can enroll in any of the sessions except for Session 1, Policy Debate for Experienced Lincoln-Douglas Debaters.

Students from schools with a competitive debate program should ask the school's coach.  Middle School students (grades 5 to 8) should enroll in Middle School Public Debate.  High School students interested in competitive debate should enroll in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

The Harvard-Westlake Summer Debate Program will occur on the Harvard-Westlake’s Upper School Campus located at 3700 Coldwater Canyon, Studio City, CA.  On the first day, participants will check in at Ahmanson Lecture Hall.  Park in the lot off the main driveway (the entrance with the stoplight).  Let security know you are attending debate and ask for Ahmanson Lecture Hall.

Every program will have specific scheduling differences.  Here is a schedule for a typical day within our program:

9:00am: Camp begins. Participants will be broken into skill-differentiated labs based on your answers to the information form provided.  Placements will be adjusted throughout the first two days to ensure that each participant is in the lab best suited for his/her skill level and interest.

12:00pm: Lunch. Program tuition includes lunch.  Participants have the option of a regular lunch, vegetarian lunch or gluten free lunch.  Lunch time may include other physical activities including swimming.  On the first day of class, students will be told when the pool is available.

1:00pm: Practice debates/Speaking Drills for all levels of participants.

3:00pm: Middle School Public Debate Participants can be picked up.

5:00pm:  All other day students can be picked up.

All students should bring a notebook and pen.  High School students are encouraged to bring laptops for internet research and word processing.  The most basic laptop with internet connection will more than suffice for this program.