Debate Classes: Term 1

Debate Class Descriptions

This course is designed to give students a very solid and strong start to debate. Without going through the Foundation course, students easily get lost, which hinders their improvement and affects their interest in debate. We believe that no one can succeed at a high level without learning the basic, fundamental skills. This is why we ask all our students to complete a term of Foundations before moving into the Intermediate class.

This course covers the basics of debate, beginning with structure and introducing beginner-level debate concepts. The first lesson will be on argument and speech structure, with the following lessons on effective rebuttal, Canadian National Debate Format rules, note-taking, presentation style, how to make an impactful point, analysing debate topics to setup the debate, and identifying the “burden” of each side. There will also be knowledge sessions on common debate topics including criminal justice and international relations.

Students must complete one term of Foundations before advancing to the Intermediate level of Debate.

Classes are two hours long and are open to students in Grades 4-7 (Elementary) and Grades 8-12 (Middle/High School).

This course has been designed to develop intermediate debate skills through use of challenging debate topics in domestic formats of debate (Canadian National Debate Format or British Parliamentary). In class, students focus on specific debate skills to help them progress more quickly to the next level while they expanding their knowledge.

Skill lessons will cover strategic argument choice, using multiple lines of analysis and rebuttal, drills on improving quality of argumentation, use of framing and weighing devices, intermediate-level burden analysis, and drills on earlier skills (intros, presentation, note-taking) to further refine them. Knowledge sessions are at the discretion of the coach but may include debates on economics, feminism, journalism, animal rights, and more.

Students must complete at least one term of Intermediate, gain coach approval, and attend a minimum of 3 debate tournaments before moving to the Advanced level of debate.

Classes are two hours long and are open to students in Grades 4-7 (Elementary) and Grades 8-12 (Middle/High School).

This course is for strong debaters who are passionate about debate and are considering pursuing debate competitively. The lessons of this course are chosen by the coach to target specific areas of student weakness and will be decided based on the needs and goals of the debaters.

Lessons will be aimed at specifically improving student style and content, while introducing higher-level strategic tools in debate such as principled argumentation, meta-debating, and use of presentation style for framing and weighing issues. Knowledge sessions are at the discretion of the coach and will be on more challenging and nuanced debate topic areas.

Students must receive a coach’s invitation to try out and successfully complete an audition for Competitive Debate to move out of the Advanced level.

Classes are open to students in Grades 4-7 (2 hours long) and Grades 8-12 (3 hours long).

This course is for the academy’s most competitive debaters who will compete on behalf of the academy at major Canadian and American, as well as world tournaments. All sessions are at the discretion of the top coaches of the academy, with a large portion of classes focused on training for specific tournaments, including tournaments that use the most popular American format of debate – Public Forum.

Prerequisites for entry into this class include both a coach recommendation as well as a try-out session. Students at this level frequently win top awards and have excellent skills that are easily transferable to other areas of their lives. Go to our Awards page to see some of the awards won by our current Competitive Debate students.

To gain access to this class, students must be invited to try out by their current coach as well as the Debate Program Director, Connor Stewart Hunter. Classes are 3 hours long and are specially packaged. Contact VDA for more information.

Term Schedule

  • Summer Camps: 2 July 2019 – 23 Aug 2019 (4-10 day camps)
  • Term 1: 9 Sept 2019 – 15 Dec 2019 (14 weeks)

Term 1: Sep 9 – Dec 15

Click the link below to view Term 1 course options.