JSA Student Debate Workshops

At JSA Summer Programs, student debates are really more than an activity, they are specifically designed to engage students and allow students --from the inexperienced debater to those who have participated in JSA year-round programs or Speech & Debate/Forensics groups and classes-- to improve their public speaking, listening, critical thinking, and reasoning abilities through active participation.

At the heart of the democratic experience is the ability of every citizen to openly share ideas, compare the merits of each position, and freely select the direction that best reflects their individual beliefs. In fact, what is the American democratic experience if not fundamentally an on-going, public debate among all citizens regarding their aspirations for freedom and their responsibilities for their own destinies, and for that of the republic?

Debating builds critical skills. It sharpens focus, it strengthens and refines analysis, it fosters communication and negotiation and public speech, it drives conviction and discipline while requiring active listening and tolerance for differing points of view, and it builds structure for effective problem solving.

Students not only have debates, they consistently work on debate skills – it’s a regular activity, an energetic, fun, and on-going workshop of sharing ideas, partnering and negotiating, accepting the points of others, and persuading others to differing points of view. Summer Program Students will be asked to lead one debate and provide a debate brief of the main opening speech. Students will also be asked to participate in a minimum of three other debates.

The JSA Debate Workshop constitutes 20% of the regular course grade, so it is a fairly significant component of the JSA Summer School. It is not necessarily a separate class; instead, it supplements and extends the information you learn in your classes and
through the Speakers Program. During the first week, we will review all of the requirements for JSA Debate Workshop and the JSA Debate Workshop staff will give an extensive series of large and small group presentations to introduce you to the JSA debate style.

Click here for the Debate Workshops Topics!

Click to View Debate Overview

Click to view JSA's Debate Handbook