Our Virtual Class: Debate Through Stories
Stories are everywhere. Children will learn narrative patterns which underlie much of the political, social, scientific, and even artistic discourse. They will become better readers, writers, and debaters.
Much of debate is storytelling; it is the practice of weaving together individual threads or arguments into a coherent narrative. What makes for a compelling story -- whether a bedtime story or political speech? How can we tell more compelling stories, in writing and in speech? How can we apply the principles of storytelling to understanding political, social, and even scientific issues?
Through this class, students will become better speakers, writers, and self-advocates. They will gain confidence in their ability to convey information and to break down complex concepts. Hopefully, they will become more intellectually curious
About The Coach
I will be teaching this class, with hand-picked assistant coaches. I have been teaching debate for almost five years, since I myself was a student in high school. I completed my undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon, where I first started Carnegie Debate. I will be starting at Harvard Law School next fall.
Reading Advanced Argumentative Text
Students read all sorts of materials, frequently dealing with political and social issues: articles, historical texts, short stories, political speeches, and court testimony.
Through reading and writing -- and studying storytelling in all different mediums -- students will learn to identify and formulate compelling arguments. All arguments, at their core, are a story, a version of events. Students will learn to arrange events in such a way as to convey a particular narrative.
Students practice writing texts meant for different purposes. Student write persuasive essays, speeches, articles, and stories.
Students study texts contextually. They study the difference between speeches which aim to console or project authority; they read texts which use humor to demonstrate a point, and texts that use dry appeals to logic. Students learn to assess and understand these texts, and to produce their own.
Improve Critical Thinking, Inspire Intellectual Curiosity
Students develop critical critical thinking skills. They learn to read texts, distill nuanced arguments in written and oral form, and break down complex arguments. Through this, students become more confident, and -- hopefully -- become more intellectually curious.
Children need breaks. We take a break of about a minute every ten minutes, where the children can stand up and walk around.
This class will use the virtual environment to its fullest potential, with guest speakers like fiction writers, politicians, and scientists, and online storytelling games that engage every student.
We play a variety of games that fit the digital environment. These games, such as "Among Us" and "Spyfall", are fun for students and engage their storytelling and critical thinking faculties.
Students prepare work on their own time so class time can be as engaging as possible. For instance: students read articles on political issues, and present adverse positions in class.
Small Classes, Constant Engagement
The classes are no more than six students. In class, students are constantly engaged, and are called upon at random to ensure that they are paying attention. Students critique each other's work, play games, and present arguments.