"It occurred to me that if I was going to be a lawyer—or, who knows, a judge—I had to learn to speak persuasively and confidently in front of an audience. I couldn’t be a quivering mess of nerves."
DebateAble LLC was founded in 2012, with the goal of bringing a debate club program to elementary students in Seattle neighborhood schools... and beyond.
DebateAble's curriculum emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills and a tolerance for differing viewpoints, instilling an appreciation for the value of teamwork. Our debate program and format are inspired by the International Debate Education Association, which focuses on education -- not competition-- as the goal of debates. DebateAble students work together in teams of three to present supporting arguments and are provided with research materials regarding the session's topic, or "resolution." Distilling the research is an important part of the DebateAble program, as is learning to debate both sides of any topic, actively listening to the arguments of opposing teams, and realizing that there is more than one way of thinking about any single question.
DebateAble's curriculum and games are geared toward third through sixth graders, and can be implemented as after-school clubs or in the classroom during the school day. After five years of developing our curriculum through classroom lessons, after school clubs and camps in the greater Seattle area, we have made our Curriculum Package available nationwide so that any school, individual, or other organization throughout the country can easily provide the same DebateAble debate instruction to their students that has been so successful for students in the Seattle School District.
DebateAble Coaches are adults who have the experience and passion to work with kids in this age group. The curriculum provides step by step instructions and scripts that that make it accessible for anyone to teach debate to children, whether or not they have debate experience. Teachers, parents, caregivers, or other interested community members make great debate coaches. We've found that the coaches that are the most successful are those that enjoy working with kids, and are open to learning themselves.
Debate Club sessions each conclude with a Debate Match following the last club meeting. The purpose of the match is to provide debaters with a fun and engaging arena in which to demonstrate skills they've learned as they spar with fellow debaters for several rounds. Friends and family are invited to attend.
Each Spring, DebateAble hosts a Spring Debate Tournament for clubs in Seattle School District. Students' families and friends are invited to watch teams from their school compete against teams from the other participating schools. The focus of the tournament is for the kids to have a good time demonstrating the skills they've learned throughout their debate club session. Students present their arguments in front of various adult judges, including attorneys, teachers and other neighborhood leaders and community members, and the emphasis is to create a positive, supportive environment for the debaters on what is always an exciting day.