Spent all day at our first debate tournament of the year. I hate having to work on Saturdays, but the kids had such a good time and learn so danged much from the experience that it actually makes it worth the time. We took seven teams (three students to a team) to the tournament where they debated the topics:
- California should not require an exit exam for graduation from public high school.
- The U.S. should end corn subsidies.
- College athletes should be paid.
- The U.S. should offer a health insurance public option to all citizens.
Keep in mind that our debaters are in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. They have about a month to research and prepare to debate both the proposition and opposition sides of all four resolutions. At the tournaments, the kids find out which teams they'll be debating against and whether they will be debating the proposition or opposition sides. Twenty minutes before the debate begins the league presidents announce the topic and the teams have twenty minutes to write out their notes after which they debate the topic.
They are amazing across the board!!!
Watching a bunch of 6th through 8th graders thoughtfully construct arguments and respectfully debate each other with gusto, then go outside and play on the field together does a lot to give one hope for the future …