Teaching Debate and Public Speaking
August 27, 2017 6:25 PM   Subscribe

I have been asked to teach Debate and Public Speaking at an American Style International School in China. I have never done that before, though my background is in Humanities and I have some theatrical experience and have done a little drama teaching. I am mainly looking for sources of good advice and/or inspiration. I would welcome suggestions of the very best and most useful books to read, websites to look at, videos to watch. Perhaps even online forums where like-minded teachers of a similar ilk may share ideas and kind of mentor each other. Any help will be very welcome and most appreciated.
posted by Atom Collection to Education (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was a speech and debate coach at a couple of schools in Seattle, and participated in HS as well. It is a great activity and a total blast. The key is to get the kids excited and self-teaching by getting them to compete with other schools. Will that be a possibility at your place, or is your program just within one school?

If there isn't a league for them to participate in, then you have a whole different (and more challenging) task: you'll have to choose topics, explain how to participate in each event, etc. If it's a league, the league should have some resources for you and you should reach out to one of the more seasoned coaches in the area to answer these questions.

If there is a league, then show up to the first tournament with some basic preparation completed and learn "trial by fire" style. Emphasize with the kids that this tournament is to learn, and future tournaments are for trophies. At the first tournament, the novices are all very scared and unprepared.

What I found worked most effectively was to get a couple kids really into it by encouragement and 1:1 coaching, and then have them teach the others. Trying to have 1:1 coaching for all the students is near impossible, as they all may be doing different (but similar) events, etc. You need to figure out how to scale. Picking a few kids early on to be "captains" is a good approach for this. You just need to emphasize what their responsibility is to the rest of the time. Depending on resources, finding a local class or camp for these kids would be a worthwhile investment.

Feel free to private message me and we can hop on the phone if you want to get into more detail. If you happen to be located in Seattle right now, happy to grab a drink.
posted by bigplugin at 6:44 PM on August 27, 2017

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