• Peter Lawrence

First Day - Introductions, Cross-Examination and More

Hi! I hope your child(ren) enjoyed the first day of camp; we sure did!

After students checked in this morning, we brought them outside and gave brief introductions of ourselves. We played a get-to-know-you game called West Wind Blows, finding similarities between students, before bringing them inside and dividing them into their labs.

In our labs, we learned each others' names before starting our first discussion. In Debate: An Introduction, we covered the basic structure of an argument, exploring case studies of the claim/warrant/impact triad. We then segued into Flowing: An Introduction, where we taught the form we use to take notes in a debate round. We listened to different songs and tried to write down as much as possible while also understanding the broader messages behind the songs. They varied in difficulty, from Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me and Jon Bellion's iRobot to Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire. We discussed how familiarity with a song is analogous to familiarity with a debate argument from preparation and research. The speed of a song and enunciation of its singer are also factors in the ability for someone to take notes, and translate well to the realm of debate, where someone talking too fast or being unclear makes it difficult to understand them.

Next, we broke for lunch. We were able to eat lunch outside in the Quad, as it was beautiful out (if a little warm). Once students finished eating, they enjoyed a variety of games, from soccer to board games to social games such as mafia.

At 1pm, we returned inside and jumped into presentation skills with Persuasion: How to Win a Debate. Students learned about ethos, pathos, and logos, and heard good (and bad) example speeches focusing on each. We discussed different strategies to improve upon each mode of persuasion, and the benefits of blending all three. This led into our next discussion, Cross-Ex: An Introduction, where we went over a crucial component of every debate round: cross-examination, or cross-ex for short. Cross-examination is the only time in a debate where opponents can directly speak to each other, and is used to ask both clarifying and pointed questions. Students enjoyed a brief activity where everyone had the chance to participate in a cross-ex. From there, we had students start debating with mini-debates on various topics, from enforcing clothing codes in schools to a comparative values debate between arts and sports. We were glad to see the students taking such an interest to debate from day one. We are excited to see how these two weeks play out!

#introduction #flowing #persuasion #crossex #minidebates


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