Summer Debate Institute

The Summer Middle School Debate Institute is geared toward teaching students the fundamentals of debate. The camp will teach students how to structure an argument, write a case, research evidence, write rebuttal briefs, deliver a speech, and refute the other team. Students will gain the confidence they need to succeed in any school debate and compete on their middle school debate team.

For complete details on the Summer Read Camp, click here >

Please review the important tips below for new students to Debate!

  1. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED – If it’s your first workshop, you may worry that everyone there will be smarter or more experienced than you are. Rest easy. DUDL will provide you with more background and better coaching than many students will have, regardless of where they come from.
  2. ROOMMATE OR PARTNER TROUBLE – Try to make it work. Don’t decide too quickly that you can’t get along with the other person. Do your best to be kind, friendly, accommodating, and patient. If none of that works, and the problem is really serious, speak to a lab leader or dorm director.
  3. Work. No, really. WORK! – It’s summer, and you get to meet new friends, and the college environment is exciting, and it’s sometimes easy to forget what you’re there for. You need to stay focused! Your workshop time is special. Workshop gives you access to great debate minds, a first-rate library, and much else that’s harder to come by when you’re back home. Your summer experience can make you a much, much better debater, but only if you use the time well.
  4. PLAN YOUR TIME – This includes social time. Frequently early evening time, or the time just after lunch, is free time at workshop – use that for exercise, or hanging with friends, and resolve that the rest of your time will be spent on assignments. If you develop regular work habits each day, you won’t be forced into frantic all-nighters late in the workshop. When possible, work alone or with your partner, and find a place where you won’t be distracted.
  5. SHOW YOUR INSTRUCTORS THAT YOU CARE – Here’s the brutal truth: summer instructors expect their students to be motivated. If you don’t seem to care, they may decide that they don’t care about you. This does not mean that they only want to work with star debaters. It does mean that you need to be engaged in lab meetings, with positive participation. If you’re having trouble with an assignment, ask for help. If you finish an assignment early, ask for more.
  6. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS – This is critical to success. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t understand a term, a concept, or an argument: ASK. If you don’t feel comfortable asking in front of your peers, go talk to your instructor privately.
  7. STAY HEALTHY – Every year there are debaters who are too sick to attend Summer Camp or to compete in the workshop tournaments. Usually these are students who don’t sleep much – when you get exhausted, you’re more likely to get sick. Again, planning is key; if your work habits are regular, you’ll avoid last-minute, sleepless crunches. If the weather is hot, drink lots of water (not soda or coffee); dehydration can sneak up on you. And if you really do get sick, tell the Coach or Director immediately – a quick visit to the doctor might prevent you from getting sicker.
  8. THE WORKSHOP TOURNAMENT IS A MEANS, NOT AN END – You should regard the Summer Camp as a practice round. This is a good time to experiment, to try out new cases or arguments.

    (excerpt from the Jersey Urban Debate League)

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