Why Global Debate Symposium?

The simple answer: Our Staff.

The debate camp staff at Global Debate Symposium provides the perfect blend of experienced educators and talented debaters. Every debate workshop in America will tout the successes of their younger staff; indeed, the accomplishments of ours are second to none. However, we know that great debaters do not become great teachers overnight. Younger debate workshop staff members are paired with older/experienced lab leaders to ensure that the younger staff can develop as teachers; not all workshops can make that claim. All of the senior staff at GDS Debate Workshop have a demonstrated ability to teach debate at the highest level to many different types of students.

Unmatched Experience of Senior Debate Institute Staff

NO summer debate institute has a senior staff with the collective teaching experience of Jonathan Alston (26 years), Chetan Hertzig (20 years), Aaron Timmons (38 years), Cindi Timmons (39 years), and Ed Williams (23 years). The classroom and curriculum development experience, the debate institute teaching experience, and the ability to understand and teach to diverse learning styles is unparalleled. Our debate institute is led by experienced educators who are actively coaching debate champions year in and year out! The students from Greenhill School, Harrison High School, Newark Science and Pace Academy and have been permanent fixtures in late elimination rounds of major national debate events across the country. These educators have not only taught champions, but they also understand the activity and the importance of integrity, ethics, and the application of skills learned beyond the game of high school debate and speech.

Skilled Coaches and Accomplished Debaters at All Levels of Instruction

Many debate camps claim their staff is “the best” in the country. GDS Debate Workshop offers what has become a successful staffing formula for our workshop as we combine some of the most competitively successful debaters of recent years with some of the most experienced, and accomplished coaches in the activity. Many debate camps task college undergraduates with creating and implementing a curriculum for the diverse group of students that will attend their summer debate institute. GDS Debate Workshop is unique in that credentialed teachers design and administer the curriculum for our debate institute, while mentoring the younger staff — all of whom are rising stars in the realm of instruction and coaching at our debate camp.

Classroom teachers, who are also active coaches, teach practices at our debate camp that are ethically sound and will win debates. The skills we teach represent our collective best practices toward a sound educational model of debate grounded in the understanding that debate is an extension of the classroom. Our debate camp staff is an amalgamation of scholars and intellects who foster an engaging environment with discussion and application of real world issues through critical reflection on traditional philosophy while also discussing race, gender, sexuality in tough conversations led in an ethical and appropriate way. Students will know how to DO more, and be AWARE of more, as a result of attending the Global Debate Symposium Debate Workshop.


Our Approach to the Summer Debate Workshop

The Global Debate Symposium workshop was created to provide the best possible educational experience for all levels of students. Our debate institute staff is unlike that found anywhere else in experience, diversity of teaching, stylistic/argument preferences, and other core identifiers of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

The GDS debate workshop educational program seeks to balance true understanding of complex concepts while making sure students have the practical tools needed to enjoy competitive success during the debate season. Our approach is battle-tested through many years of working with the some of the most successful debaters in the country. 

Tailored Instruction

We believe the best way to achieve our goal for our students is to tailor our instruction to meet the needs of our students. The approach at our debate institute includes specific instruction opportunities to help the GDS debate camp meet the needs of all students. We teach the basics necessary to understand advanced material. We emphasize how to critically read and break down complex text as a pedagogical core of our debate institute. Step by step, we walk students through how to successfully engage dense, complex material. Not all students learn the same way. We place incredible career educators alongside the best young recent debate graduates to combine the best debate trends with serious educational thought. There are many great debaters. There are far fewer great teachers of debate. At the GDS debate workshop we believe that students, parents, and coaches should collectively weigh all of the available information to assess which summer experience would best benefit each individual student.


Our record of success — tournament championships won by our coaches and students from GDS debate camp:

Post season events:

The National Speech Debate Association, The Tournament of Champions, National Catholic Forensic League Championships, The National Debate Coaches Association Championships, Texas Forensic Association Champions, New York State Championships,  Georgia State Championships, and New Jersey State Championships

Regular Season Invitational Championships:

Apple Valley, Barkley Forum at Emory University, Bronx Science, University of California - Berkeley, Greenhill School, The Glenbrooks, Harvard University, Harvard-Westlake, St. Marks, Meadows

Round Robins:

Apple Valley Round Robin, Bronx Round Robin, Greenhill Round Robin, Harvard Westlake Round Robin, Newark Round Robin, Glenbrooks

World Schools Championships:

Greenhill School, Holy Cross, The Blake School, Harvard Westlake, International Worlds Schools Debate Tournaments in Ljutomer, Slovenia; Stuttgart, Germany; and the Winter Holiday Open held in Zagreb, Croatia. Aaron and Cindi Timmons also coach the USA Debate team for the National Speech and Debate Association and have coached the national team at the World School Debate Championship in Thailand, Singapore, Germany, and Bali, Indonesia. The United States debate team placed third in the World at the 2017 Championships under their coaching, the best finish for the United States since 1999!