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Tour Guide: Introduction to Debate (book and DVDs)
Designed personally by Leigh Bortins for families in the Challenge programs or anyone new to formal debate, this small book teaches beginning debaters the structure of both team policy and Lincoln-Douglas debates, while the companion videos bring the forms to life.
The book relies on practicing rote presentation, asking good questions, and breaking debate into small components that are easy to practice. The videos introduce debate through familiar conflicts and characters, with pop-ups and judges commentary helping viewers interpret the action.
Only some people will love debate, but all can benefit from the practice of formal debate, which teaches valuable skills such as:
- Researching for compelling evidence
- Separating form from content
- Taking good notes
- Listening actively
- Holding judgment until an opponent has concluded
- Understanding both sides of an issue
- Constructing logical arguments
- Analyzing logical arguments
- Asking good questions
- Thinking on your feet
- Managing time well
- Speaking from notes AND from scripts
- Practicing formal etiquette
- Disagreeing graciously
- Respecting the ideas of others
Perfect for Challenge I and II directors, students, and parents who are ready to tackle this challenging and rewarding skill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this book prepare students for competitive debate?
The point of this small book on debate is to teach beginning debaters the separate forms of team policy and Lincoln-Douglas debates. It does not explain the detailed nuances required to win competitive debates, but it will help students at any level to hone their research, thinking, and speaking skills. If you are interested in competitive debate, we suggest you consult the guidelines of a national organization such as NCFCA or STOA. You will find more information about these options in the back of the book.
Why did you use silly debate topics in the videos?
We made a conscious choice to use silly examples first so that students could focus on the form rather than the content. We also chose imperfect examples so that the students could critique someone elses content before developing their own. We have done our job well when, as your student finishes watching one of the videos, says, I know how I could make that case stronger!
What forms of debate are included?
This book teaches both team policy and Lincoln-Douglas forms of debate.
Who is the target audience for the Tour Guide: Introduction to Debate?
Classical Conversations families practice team policy debate beginning in Challenge I (ninth grade) and Lincoln-Douglas debate beginning in Challenge II (tenth grade). This product will serve Classical Conversations students, parents, and directors all the way from Challenge I through Challenge IV, and it is perfect for all parents and teachers wishing to build formal debate into their curriculum.What is included when I buy this item?
Tour Guide: Introduction to Debate consists of an approximately 100-page booklet (8.5 x 11, spiral bound) and two DVDs, one focused on team policy and one on Lincoln-Douglas. The book is divided as well, to teach the two forms of debate separately.