Last night I gave a 1-hour webinar on how to get involved in speech and debate. We sold out of the 120-seat session, but we have the entire presentation recorded. Here are details to view the show, plus my “show notes” for reference sake.
The webinar was hosted by my good friend Andrew Pudewa, proprieter of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. He and I have been friends for years, both deep believers in the importance of thinking skills in writing and speaking. He has a club in Oklahoma that competes in NCFCA, and I have a club here in Colorado competing in Stoa. We made a great team to promote and support those who want to get their kids involved with this wonderful activity.
You know what? Share this link with anyone you think would be interested in getting involved. This webinar makes the otherwise complex world of forensics seem understandable and possible. Point folks straight to this page.
Much of what we’re talking about today is taken from my new book, Jeub’s Guide to Speech and Debate.
It released just two months ago and its foreword is written by none other than the great Andrew Pudewa!
This is the 5th edition, and if you have previous editions, I strongly encourage you to buy this one.
I’ve been in — and helped build — the speech and debate community for the past 15 years, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about how great of a skill speech and debate is for every child. This edition is much more focused…it’s purpose is…
To help make it easy and fun to get involved in speech and debate.
The hesitancies of teaching Speech & Debate
- I’m not a good speaker. Yeah, you also stink at math, science, and English…but you still teach it. All the more reason to teach it: don’t you wish you had the ability to speak with confidence? Your kids will appreciate you for this.
- High school only requires 1 semester of speech. This is a reflection of poor educational perspective. Speaking skills are arguably the most important of skills, and modern pedagogy tends to blow it off as “extracurricular.”
- Speech & Debate takes up too much time. This is a very narrow view of forensics. Students learn more in speech and debate than any other discipline.
- My kids are shy/introverts. All the more reason to harness the skill at a young age. I have a stack of stories about shy kids who bloom in competitive speech and debate. In fact, one of my top coaches, Travis Herche, loves to talk about he being an extreme introvert. He even suffered with a lisp as a child. He’s now a public speaker and a fabulous speech and debate coach. (See http://travisherche.com)
- My kids are afraid to speak. Don’t allow your kids to cater to their fears. Make them do it, at least for a set amount of time. The skills they learn will be the most helpful they can ever learn. (The requirement I have in my club: to graduate, you must attend 2 tournaments.)
There are more, but these are the top five hesitancies that I hear most often.
Maybe this persuades you to go gang-busters and do speech and debate. I at least hope it encourages you to give speech and debate a try. That’s why I wrote my book—particularly the 5th edition—to Jeub’s Guide to Speech & Debate.
Let me explain this book a bit. The book attempts to answer the question, “What’s this whole speech and debate thing all about?” There are five answers embedded in this book…
- It’s motivational. If you must, read up through the first chapter, maybe the conclusion. The meat is in the middle, but the introduction and conclusion tell a few stories that will motivate you, will cast the vision for your speech and debate home.
- It’s simple. It’s actually surprisingly thin, only 92 pages. Now, it comes with the free curriculum, but the book itself is thin, thinner than my first editions. The reason is: I make it simple. The arts of speech and debate can be incredibly complex and confusing, and my work in the past 15 years has literally been to pear it down to the simplest form, making it easy-to-understand.
- It’s broad. This book covers a lot of area and applies to all sorts of people. Teachers, students, judges, administrators, and parents can identify with the book. It covers the differences between three leagues—NCFCA, Stoa and NFL. It also extends the help to three different forms of educators: home, private and public educators.
- It’s instructional. What’s unique to the 5th edition is uber exciting: the FREE curriculum. The book comes with a digital code that gives you access to a $20 curriculum, “7 Lessons to Teaching Speech & Debate.” It comes with teachers notes, handouts, references to other resources, some audios and videos, and plenty of reproducibles for you and your classroom. You can teach the 7 lessons in your home over the span of several weeks, in a club with a bunch of students, or in one day as a day-long practicum. I’m super excited about the potential the curriculum has for families who want to start speech and debate.
- It’s communal. I welcome people at the end of the book to subscribe to my blog and get a hold of me personally. (See http://chrisjeub.com) If I can’t help you, I have access to the best coaches in the world. I’m in the middle of this entire community, and I love this stuff! I also have links to all sorts of resources and websites, I have a Facebook page and ministry that supports families in their ambition to “train minds for action.” (I’ll get to some of these in a little bit.)
All this to say, my book is a catalyst to making speech and debate happen for you. And for 20 bucks, it’s tough to go wrong.
Now let’s get into the real MEAT of this speech and debate thing. First, I have four meat patties outlined in my book that lays the ground work for understanding the speech and debate world.
- Leagues. There are three of them:
- NCFCA (www.ncfca.org) = National Christian Forensics & Communications Association. This was founded in 2000 as a branch from the HSLDA league which lasted from 1996 to 2000. This is the league Andrew and his club participates in.
- Stoa (www.stoausa.org) = Not an acronym, is a word for the architectural structure that the apostle Paul used to debate in Rome. They started in 2009 as a separation from NCFCA. This is the league that my family and club participates in.
- These are the two main home-school leagues. My book goes into more detail about the differences of the leagues, and I won’t go into them now.
- New to the 5th edition is the exploration of the public school league…
- NFL (www.nationalforensicleague.org) = National Forensic League. This is the league in all junior high and high schools. Home schoolers can participate if they enroll with their local school just like any sport.
- Tournaments. All the leagues prepare for upcoming tournaments.
- Tournaments are run by schools or clubs or parents coming together.
- They’re really quite something. (How many of you have been to a tournament?) They are socially exciting 3-4 day events. Really, entire families get involved:
- Students = of course, are competing.
- Little brothers and sisters are timing rounds.
- Parents are administrating the tournament.
- Grandparents, neighbors and relatives are judging rounds.
- You will discover very quickly that speech and debate tournaments are probably the most exciting events homeschoolers can get involved in. It’s almost like a best-kept secret. The relationships the students form (and parents, for that matter) are relationships that last a lifetime.
- And can I emphasize? These are cream-of-the-crop families. They all have their kids in mind, and the kids are academically and spiritually focused. There cannot be a better group of people to get involved with (IMHO).
- My family will have attended 10 tournaments this school year, the most we’ve ever done. In fact, next week I’ll be close to you, Andrew, in Tulsa with my five competitors. Two weeks after that I’ll be in San Diego for one of the last tournaments of the year. Then it’s off to NITOC (the Stoa national tournament) in Arkansas in May. (See my website https://www.chrisjeub.com/judging/ )
- NOTE: You don’t need to do tournaments. In fact, no one but the Jeubs do 10 tournaments in a year. We’re insane power users in speech and debate. Most families will attend 2-4 tournaments in the school year. Some will even stay close to home, if the tournaments are available.
- Individual Events. There are all sorts of events, over 20 in the three leagues, and I’m not going to go into each one (the book does that). I’m going to break them down into three categories for you to help you understand the skills learned in each one.
- Platforms. This is where the student writes and delivers a 10 minute oratorical speech.
- Literary Interpretations. This is where the student takes a piece of literature and edits it to end up delivering as a speech. There are humorous, dramatic, and duo events that “act out” a piece of literature.
- Limited-Preps. These are impromptu speeches that encourage students to deliver “off the top of their heads.” Students who prepare for limited-prep events learn quickly that there is a fair amount of “preparation” to win at these events.
- Debate. Just like IEs, there are several debate formats.
- Team-Policy. This is 2-on-2 debate that is political in nature. TP rounds last 1.5 hours, approximately 20 minutes of speaking time each kid. The kind of debate topic these students debate are POLITICAL in nature (NCFCA is debating United Nations, Stoa is debating military reform). This is the kind of debate Andrew’s club does, and two of my children are debate partners.
- Lincoln-Douglas. This is 1-on-1 debate that is philosophical in nature. LD rounds last 45 minutes (same speaking time, half the number of kids). The kind of debate topic these students debate are PHILOSOPHICAL in nature. My club is primarily LD debate, two of my other children doing that.
- Parliamentary Debate and Public Forum. These are shorter forms of team-policy, but can cover value topics, too.
That was a TON of information thrown at you very quickly. I hope I didn’t overwhelm you. I wanted to whip through these four fillings of a speech and debate curriculum. There is a lot more to it than this, but at least a subtle understanding of these four — leagues, tournaments, individual events and debate — and you’ll be able to catch the rest as you get involved.
How do you get involved? That’s my final point:
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
I will cover this from the simplest, least amount of commitment to the uber-committed insane forensics junkie like me.
- Find tournaments near you. It is tournament season right now. These are worth traveling a ways to observe. Bring your kids, sign up to be a judge, go and meet the people. http://chrisjeub.com/judging
- Connect with a local club. Hopefully there is a club nearby, but I know people who will travel an hour or two every week to attend club. They may allow you to come to club once as a visitor to check it out. Clubs typically start up August-September. http://trainingminds.org/monumentum
- Buy the curriculum. My book lists the different resources that I publish for this community. I literally have about 30 writers all over the country (typically champions who have done well in the past) and they pull together material for the next season of speakers and debaters. You can browse www.monumentpublishing.com for more information.
- Go to camp! I have two major camps — one on the East Coast, one on the West Coast — that you can attend in July/August. These are awesome fun, and about 1/2 of the attendees are brand new to speech and debate, so you’ll be quite welcome. http://trainingminds.org/events
The Websites I Referenced
- Training Minds Ministry is the nonprofit I run for camps and other events: http://trainingminds.org
- Monument Publishing is the for-profit I run that publishes resources for speech and debate: http://monumentpublishing.com
- My blog is where I blog almost-daily on all sorts of things, especially my love for speech and debate: http://chrisjeub.com