Lincoln Douglas Traditional Lab (2020)
Dates: June 28 - July 11
Why a traditional lab?
Over the last several years, national circuit Lincoln-Douglas debate has become increasingly specialized; an activity that was once fairly accessible to a wide audience is now virtually incomprehensible to the general public.
While we believe there may be value to some of the current practices in debate, we also feel that debate needs to remain open to students with different approaches.
For instance, judges in many states across the country want to hear a debate about the topic, and not about a side issue. Debaters may wish to engage one another at a conversational pace, and to focus less on argument quantity and more on argument quality. Coaches may want to emphasize life-long skills related to presentation and persuasion, which are not always valued in national circuit debate.
Our focus in this lab group is to fill a need with instructors who are classroom teachers, who value traditional approaches to Lincoln-Douglas debate, and who understand and embrace the need for students to engage topical argumentation, as opposed to evading it.
What will the traditional lab entail?
Students will still get access to the superior instruction offered at the Global Debate Symposium, but they will be surrounded by peers who would also like to focus on traditional debate.
Who will be leading this group?
The traditional lab will be led by two full time classroom instructors, both coaches of National Champions. Courtney Coffman, Director of Debate at Northland Christian School in Houston, Texas and Chetan Hertzig, Head Coach of Debate at Harrison High School in Harrison, NY.
Lab time will focus on:
- Developing fundamental skills of debate
- Conducting topic-specific research
- Practicing drills that will be effective on traditional circuits
- Learning winning strategies from Aaron Timmons, Director of Debate at Greenhill School, and coach of more NFL/NSDA Lincoln-Douglas Champions than any other coach in history
- Learning how to prepare for NSDA Nationals and similar tournaments from past NSDA National Champions Bennett Eckert and Ishan Bhatt
- Dealing with debaters who have “progressive” styles
- Developing skills to adapt to a wide variety of judges
- Using traditional debate skills to respond to “circuit”-style argumentation
- Having practice rounds against traditional debaters