PREPARATION – ACADEMIC

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The CDLI is the most comprehensive, sophisticated, and innovative instructional program of its type. It is the only officially sanctioned summer program instruction for the Middle School Public Debate Program and High School Public Debate Program. The middle school debate institutes use the Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP), a proprietary debate format developed by John Meany and Kate Shuster. The national high school institutes use the High School Public Debate Program (HSPDP) and California High School Speech Association (CHSSA) parliamentary debate formats. John Meany developed the HSPDP model and Meany/Shuster proposed and developed the CHSSA parliamentary debate format; he has written the topics for CHSSA’s State Championship for parliamentary debate for the past 2 years. John Meany and Kate Shuster have written textbooks supporting these 3 formats. Claremont Summer students receive a textbook for their format.

John Meany organizes the largest and most active international secondary school debate program in the US. He has coached students to success in international debate events in the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) format for a decade. He developed the World Parliamentary Debate (WPD) model for international high school debating. The MS/HSPDP programs are also used in international debating. His secondary school international debate textbook is forthcoming (Spring 2017).

John Meany has developed leadership and professional communication programs and conferences for educational institutions, non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies in the US and abroad. The leadership communication program uses these instructional and practice methods, adapted for the summer institute.

More than 800,000 students and teachers in 28 countries participate in Public Debate Program middle school and high school class critical thinking activities and contest debate events.

One of the important elements of Claremont Summer is the expectation that students PREPARE to participate. There may be exceptions (students involved in other summer academic and athletic programs, family travel, etc.) But students should make their best effort to prepare. Although a student’s inability to prepare will not interfere with success in the summer program, advanced preparation gives students the opportunity to participate in the program in a more efficient manner. They will be able to maximize their opportunities, move ahead at an advanced pace.

PUBLIC SPEAKING PREPARATION

FOR MIDDLE/HIGH STUDENTS IN ALL PROGRAMS
(Appropriate for students new to summer program events)

Students should practice public speaking, about 2-3 minutes for a practice performance, initially on issues that are personally important and well known. Select the topic and deliver an extemporaneous speech (limited preparation with up to a day for research before speech delivery) or an impromptu deliver (as much as 30 minutes of preparation to 30-60 seconds of preparation time). Challenge yourself with different topics when you feel that you might be able to deliver a more convincing, persuasive speech than the first one.

Try to use the A-R-E method for argument development. Assertion-Reasoning-Evidence. An assertion is a brief and clearly expressed clim or opinion. The reasoning is an explanation or justification of the opinion. Reasoning explains why an opinion makes sense. Evidence is the experience, observation, or researched fact that supports one’s reasoning. Evidence proves that an opinion is more right than wrong. It is based on facts, rather than speculation or a guesstimate.

During summer programming, all debate and leadership communication students will learn the comprehensive argument method created by John Meany decades ago and subsequently refined as A-R-E-S-R, Assertion-Reasoning-Evidence-Significance-Result.

Video the speech. Practice the same speech several times. After the fourth or fifth presentation, examine the first and most recent video to identify strengths and weaknesses. Communication strengths include eye contact, confidence, volume, alteration in pace (avoid a monotone), emphasis of key words, and appropriate, integrated gestures. Core weaknesses include too much reading of a text, limited or exaggerated movement (no hand/arm movement or pacing, rocking back-and-forth or side-to-side), reduced volume at the end of sentences or paragraphs, and too similar tone and pace for the entire delivery.

As practice improves, select more challenging topics, practice more impromptu than extemporaneous speeches, and reduce the amount of preparation time before delivery. In general, a student should practice public speaking about 30-90 minutes each week to ensure effective, professional, competitive performance.

It is possible to use the topics listed here or substitute your own topics.

Middle School Speech Topics

  • The least favorite things about school
  • My favorite thing to do on vacation
  • The voting age should be lowered to the age of 16
  • Should the US open its doors to refugees from Syria?
  • Soccer is the best sport
  • Two things I would like to learn
  • All middle schools should have school uniforms

High School Speech Topics

  • The least favorite things about school
  • My favorite thing to do on vacation
  • Should the US military stay in Afghanistan?
  • The US should elect the president by popular vote
  • Schools should have mandatory drug testing for participation in extracurricular activities
  • What is the most important issue facing the United States?
  • The Common Core does more good than harm

DEBATE PREPARATION – MIDDLE SCHOOL

To prepare for the institute, each student should research, discuss, and prepare for debates on the listed topics. Students will also research and prepare with faculty for debates. Students may bring any research files, casebooks, dictionaries, and other reference materials for use for debates. For those new to debate, students will learn how to organize research and prepare files and casebooks during institute sessions. Novice debaters should have some information on topics but are not expected to have fully prepared to debate any of the topics.

Topics – Middle School Session 1 
  • Texting does more good than harm.
  • All middle school students should wear uniforms.
  • The atomic bombing of Hiroshima was justified.
  • The US should adopt a national id card.
Topics – Middle School Session 2 
  • The Supreme Court should have term limits.
  • The government should not promote gambling.
  • Schools should allow cash rewards for academic performance.
  • Drone warfare does more good than harm.
Topics – Middle School Session 3 (SuperSession)
  • Ban tipping!
  • The US should pardon Edward Snowden.
  • Public college education should be free.
  • Sports authorities should legalize performance-enhancing drugs.
  • The US should have mandatory voting in general elections.
  • Russia is more a friend than an enemy to the United States.

 

DEBATE PREPARATION – HIGH SCHOOL

The summer program uses pre-announced and impromptu debate topics.

The CHSSA format uses impromptu debating but it is helpful for CHSSA students to have initial practices on pre-announced topics. Argumentation and refutation performance assessment is more accurate with shared and advance knowledge for participants. A debate is not skewed by disproportionate knowledge of some of the participants. Subsequent impromptu debating is helpful for tournament/format practice – there is a lot of impromptu debating in all high school formats. Other high school formats use a mix of pre-announced and impromptu topic debating but there is more impromptu than pre-announced debating.

To prepare for the institute, each student should research and organize materials for debates on the listed topics. Students will also research and prepare with faculty for debates. Students may bring any research files, casebooks, dictionaries, and other reference materials for use for debates. For those new to debate, students will learn how to organize research and prepare files and casebooks during institute sessions. Novice debaters should have some information on topics but do not need the same preparation as experienced debaters. Students should research current evens from major newspapers and other periodicals for impromptu debates.

Debate Topics – International Debate Session
  • This House believes that democracies should not give foreign aid to authoritarian regimes.
  • This House would establish a United Nations standing army.
  • This House supports reparations for countries experiencing the environmental consequences of global climate change.
Debate Topics – HSPDP/CHSSA Debate Session
  • The atomic bombing of Hiroshima was justified.
  • The US should rewire the US Constitution every 25 years.

LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATION PREPARATION

The CDLI provides training for effective communication in professional settings – leadership positions for student government, clubs, and organizations, participation in social and political activism, and success in interviews, internships, roundtable discussions, town hall meetings, academic conferences, and public debates.

The CDLI will offer the experience that students need to develop the required communication skills for educational and career success – the ability to identify problems, propose solutions, express vision, and motivate others. Through educational seminars, practice exercises, readings, roundtable discussions, case studies, negotiation games, decision groups, and a conference, students will learn the 3 I’s of highly effective leadership communication – Influencing, Implementing, and Innovating.

Students will research current events and organize for discussions and presentations on select topics.

Research & Resume

High school students should review daily newspapers and online news. In addition, they should read subject field documents, such as academic periodicals and online political reviews – a daily major newspaper (e.g., New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal); weekly national or international news periodicals (e.g., Time, The Washington Post Weekly, Economist, Newsweek); online current events reports (e.g., Google News), and additional specialized periodicals (e.g., Foreign Policy, Columbia Journalism Review, etc.)

Students should send a digital copy of their resume to the program at least one-week prior to arrival. Please send it to Lauren Phillips, lauren.phillips@cmc.edu.

Speech and Discussion Topics
  • The Electoral College should be abolished.
  • The US should have compulsory military service.

 

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