Debate Surge in NYC


myself, Neill Harvey-Smith, Beth Connor, and Loke Wing Fatt, all in my apartment.

After US nationals we have had a surge of debate activity here at the University - first Loke Wing Fatt joined us from Singapore and immediately got into teaching with some short suggestions to the students for how to improve their techniques as well as a full critique of a practice debate held on the handgun motion from the national final round in Vermont.

After that Neill and Beth arrived and graciously offered to conduct a workshop before they returned home after a long series of engagements in the US - CAing and DCAing the US nats, judging at the Hobart & William Smith Round Robin, and doing a few days of workshops at Colgate University upstate. They did drills and answered questions for nearly 3 hours to a group of students from St. John's, The King's College and Adelphi.

It was great having them here and I must admit this morning I've been a bit unanchored and remiss to return to my normal daily life of reading, writing, grading and teaching.

I got a lot of great advice from Loke. He has really keen insight into debate, and especially how to structure a successful program. I hope to impliment his ideas soon. Neill and Beth were great for bouncing ideas off of, and chatting about the explosive advance of WUDC style debating in the United States. I think we had some very constructive and interesting conversations and I am certain that WUDC debating in the US will continue to grow. My concern is uncontrolled random growth without much direction. Preparing for a WUDC touranment is different than other formats - and the perception is that prep in one format might be more than enough for prep in another format. This bad perception can lead to dissapoinment at the first touranment and rejection of the format. It's up to those who are familiar with the format to make sure that new programs get the support and guidance they need. And no, a morning briefing the day of the tournament will not be enough.

So I am very grateful to my new international debate coach friends. And I hope to see them again soon. Who would have thought only a few years ago that there was this international community of debate educators so willing to spend their valuable time helping out others who are just getting started?