Debate Club: Teaching Critical Thinking, Logic, and Tolerance



Learning to debate supports and enhances brain development in young people, encouraging the natural shift from concrete to abstract processing and increasing their capabilities to problem solve, plan, and think critically. Learn logic and more with an experienced debate coach!


Meets for one hour, once per week, for 12 weeks.

The format for this course is inspired by the International Debate Education Association, which focuses on education, not competition, as the goal of debates. I emphasize the development of critical thinking skills and a tolerance for differing viewpoints, instilling an appreciation for the value of teamwork. Distilling the research is an important part of the course, as is learning to debate both sides of any topic, actively listening to the arguments of opposing teams, and realizing that there is more than one way of thinking about any single question. You can read more about the benefits of debate here.

This is a course designed for beginners that teaches learners to:
•Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning, and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
•Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact when possible given the location of the class, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
•In this unit students will not only be required to debate with a team, they will also be required to analyze their classmates’ arguments.
•Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
•Do research, take notes in an organized fashion, use logic, and more

I’ll use a combination of slideshow presentations, videos, written articles, and websites to aid in this. I’ll provide handouts that we’ll use to write down our ideas and information.

I’ve been teaching for debate for almost a decade. In school, I loved debate and very much enjoyed the experience of “an argument with rules”. I’ve successfully coached many learners ages 8-78 on how to debate and succeed, including Toastmasters (one of the resources we will use in this course has Toastmasters included!) I teach tolerance for others and much, much more! This class isn’t just debate; this course immerses learners in a world where they learn to research and share their point of view while respecting others and taking them into account, which creates a more even-keeled person in general, both as an adult, and a preteen/teen.

Anticipated Course Outline

Class 1- Introduction to Debate: learners are introduced to various terminology and information
Class 2- Refutation
Class 3- Public Speaking & Mini Impromptu Debate
Class 4- Analyzing an Argument & Gathering Information (how to research)
Class 5- Organize Team; Logos, Pathos, Ethos
Class 6- Rules of Debate & Practice
Class 7- Group Debate Research
Class 8- Group Debate
Class 9-Discussion and Beginning Research for Individual Debates (homework assigned)
Class 10-Individual Debates
Class 11-Individual Debates
Class 12-Individual Debates; Discussion over Unit


Class Dates and Times:
Wed Jul 18, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Jul 25, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Aug 1, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Aug 8, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Aug 15, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Aug 22, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Aug 29, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Sep 5, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Sep 12, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Sep 19, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Sep 26, 9pm – 10pm Eastern
Wed Oct 3, 9pm – 10pm Eastern

Parent Information

REGARDING GROUP DEBATES: Research will be completed during class, since this is a learning process that we complete as a group, and cannot be completed outside of class unless homework is noted; this is not a course where learners will be left to do research without their group. It’s imperative that group projects are completed as a group, not solo. This course requires learners to work together, not independently, unless stated otherwise, because it is very important that we are able to work together and equally toward a common goal regardless of personal beliefs.

REGARDING INDIVIDUAL DEBATES: 1-on-1 debate research and writing can be completed alone during class time.

Classes are each 60 minutes, with the exception of the final class, which may be shorter if we do not have additional debates to complete along with review.