Debate Able Logo
January 2016

In this presidential election year, it is all too easy to get caught up in the frenzy of debates and the 48 hour barrage of media and comedy show commentary that comes afterwards.

There are many technical styles of debate in educational and competitive formats. Even more when you consider that many everyday conversations can essentially constitute "debates." However as one of our fourth grade debaters observed during the 2012 election season, "They're not debating the right way, they're not even listening to each other. They're just saying quotes for the newspapers." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

What is one thing that Cruz did to hurt his position?  According to Mr. Graham, Cruz didn't have a ready answer for an argument he knew Trump was going to use.

And what would a DebateAble debater tell you he should have done? Plan ahead, of course. Know your position and your opponent's positions well enough to be able to refute nearly any argument they can come up with. In this case, one you know they will use. So while our debaters may sometimes resist arguing  both sides of a resolution (Hello - kids SHOULD have homework? We SHOULDN'T have cell phones?), there are reasons we teach this skill. The ability to see both sides of an argument prepares us to better defend our position. Plus, it helps us to separate emotions from arguments and teaches empathy.

What is one thing that Trump did to help his position? He used humor.

Winning over your audience, whether in formal debate or informal conversation, includes two components - content and conduct. Engaging your audience through humor, eye contact, and gestures goes a long way toward swaying the judge to your position and to winning debates. 

We wish everyone in DebateAble's world a Happy New Year, and we look forward to engaging with you more in 2016.

Margot & Elizabeth
Founders, DebateAble

DebateAble's 4th & 5th Grade Curriculum  is now available nationwide! Contact us to review a sample lesson plan.
Debate Skills 101

Eye Contact - engaging with your audience during your speech

Making eye contact comes naturally to some, while difficult for others. Throw in the pressure of trying to read your speech in front of an audience and it can be a tough skill to master. Try these tips...
  • Choose a Focus Point - Before you begin your speech, select three spots in the audience, one to the left, one to the center, and one to the right. They don't need to be people, any distant point in the room works. Through your speech, alternate looking at each of these spots.
  • Plan Your Pauses - When writing your final draft, note where you want to pause and look up at your audience by underlining or highlighting a word. Pick words or points you want to emphasize in your argument as "pause points."

January DEBATE THIS! topic

"The constitutional requirement for presidents to be born in the USA should be abolished."

In the spirit of the election season, can you debate the Affirmative and Negative sides of this topic? Let these arguments get you started ...

"As a country of immigrants, we limit our greatness as a nation by not allowing potentially great leaders -- who may have spent their entire lives as United States citizens-- become President."


"By requiring that a President was born in the USA, we can be sure that that person's national and family allegiances are toward the USA and not another, potentially conflicting, nation."

Every month we will throw out a topic to debate at the dinner table or in the car. Practice the skills your kids learned in debate club. Try taking the side you are least passionate about - it makes it more challenging!

Want to see debate at your school? 
We can help - contact us to find out how to make it happen!

DebateAble LLC 
© 2015