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…
BUT I DON'T DO COMPETITIVE DEBATE
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:
Session 1, Policy Debate is intended for policy debaters as well as 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 anyone who is currently participating in or would like to learn about Middle School Public Debate (MSPDP). All levels of MSPDP can join these sessions. Students may enroll in multiple weeks of MSPDP.
The one-week sessions (sessions 2, 3, and 4) are also intended for beginning Lincoln-Doubglas debaters. No experience is necessary to join these sessions. Any debater who has not completed a full season of Lincoln-Douglas competitions are eligible as well.
The flagship program is intended for all levels of debaters, including those with no experience. Students can sign up for Lincoln-Douglas, MSPDP, or Public Forum. 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 the Middle School Public Debate Program. High School students who do not have any debate experience or who do not know what form of debate is offered at their high school (grades 9 to 12) should enroll in Public Forum.
Beginners, including those with no experience at all, can enroll in any of the sessions except for Session 1, Policy Debate.
Students from schools with a competitive debate program should ask the school's coach. Middle School students attending a school without a competitive debate program (grades 5 to 8) should enroll in Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP). Beginning High School students who attend schools without a competitive debate program should enroll in Lincoln-Douglas Debate during session 2, 3, and 4 or Public Forum during Flagship.
In person programs are offered at Harvard-Westlake Upper School, 3700 Coldwater Canyon, Studio City, CA.
Every program will have specific scheduling differences. Here is a schedule for a typical day within our 9:00-5:00 program:
9:00-9:15: Check-in and speaking exercise
9:15-10:00: Note taking
10:00-10:15: Stretch break!
10:15-11:00: Structured independent work
11:00-12:00: Reviewing written material for debates in small groups
1:00-2:30: Practice debate and speech re-dos
2:30-2:45: Stretch break!
2:45-3:00: Goal setting/self-evaluation after practice debate
3:00-3:45: Watch demo speeches and prep for drill
3:45-4:45: Speaking drills
4:45-5:00: Final check-in and suggestions for voluntary supplemental work
The program for MSPDP will have a similar mix of activities over the 6 hour day; however, the length of each activity may be adjusted.
All students should have access to a notebook and pen. You will also need a laptop or tablet. (See the technical requirements on General Information Page.) A Chromebook, tablet, or laptop is sufficient for this program in both a virtual and in-person format.