Wednesday, December 24, 2008

IDEA launches online debate adjudication journal

Deliberation, an online, peer-reviewed academic journal focused on adjudication of competitive academic debates, was launched this December. Deliberation solicits and publishes the critical analysis of academic debating rounds in the format of the World Universities Debating Championships that present interesting, unusual or compelling circumstances and from which may be drawn useful insights and generalizations about the best practices of debating and adjudication. The journal intends to publish quarterly editions, depending on the quantity and quality of submissions received. Submissions are welcome from adjudicators who served as chairs or panelists, concerning debates from preliminary or elimination round competition at any tournament.

Each year, Deliberation will publish a special issue featuring the reflections of adjudicators on the panel for the Grand Final of the World Universities Debating Championships.

Read the journal.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Third IDEA-BFSU Tournament a Success!

In cooperation with the School of English and International Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, IDEA held the third annual IDEA-BFSU four-team parliamentary debate tournament from December 5th to the 7th. 250 students from provinces across China joined together to debate topics ranging from curbing Somali piracy to policies in student dormitories.

Unlike previous tournaments that IDEA has sponsored in the PRC, this tournament included a Chinese-language division as well as the English-language division. Many participants had been at BFSU just a month earlier for the IDEA Mandarin and English debate workshop. 84 teams participated in the English division and 40 teams participated in the Mandarin division. The English division broke to octafinals, with students weighing the pros and cons of abolishing veto power in the United Nations’ Security Council. The Mandarin division broke to quarterfinals, where both divisions debated the motion “This house would not allow foreigners to own a controlling interest in Chinese companies.” Semifinals saw rousing debates on if and how China should support for “DINK” (Dual-Income, No Kids) families. For the final round, both divisions debated different motions on environment policy.

First place in the Mandarin division went to Xi’an International Studies University and second place was won by Peking University. First place in the English division was captured by a team combined of one student from Beijing Foreign Studies University and another from Willamette University. Capitol Normal University won second place in the Mandarin division.

Many thanks to Jason Jarvis for donating his time to run tab, and to Karen, Effie, Yang Ge, Cecily, Jingkai and others at BFSU for their help.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dates announced for the International Tournament of Champions

IDEA and Willamette University are pleased to announce the fourth annual International Tournament of Champions for High School Parliamentary Debate. The tournament, which will use the standard American Parliamentary Debate format, will be hosted on the Campus of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon on May 21-23, 2009.

Debates will begin on May 22 and will continue through the afternoon of May 23. All teams will compete in six preliminary rounds. A number of elimination rounds appropriate to the size of the tournament will follow the preliminary rounds.

IDEA and the Willamette University Debate Union will conduct a parliamentary debate workshop on the afternoon of May 21. All debaters entered in the tournament, as well as any other debaters who wish to register can participate in the debate workshop.
For more information and to register, visit the webpage.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

IDEA Trains in Ulsan, South Korea

IDEA and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul partnered to hold a debate training in the southern coastal town of Ulsan, South Korea, on December 8. Two training sessions were held at Ulsan's Teacher Training Institute: one for high school English teachers on integrating debate curriculum into their classes, and another for elementary and middle school students on the basics of debate.

In the first session, 55 teachers and I discussed the concept of debate, the benefits of using it to teach English and ideas for debate-centered lesson plans. After viewing part of a recorded debate on using corporal punishment in schools, we talked about how to adopt a similar format to the classroom setting. We then held a sample debate “class” where each participant chose an argument, had their argument refuted by others, and crafted a speech summarizing and addressing the refutations. All teachers also received copies of Idebate Press' "Speaking Across the Curriculum" and talked about ideas for using the lesson plans in the book in Korean high school English classes.

Around 60 middle and late elementary school students participated in the second session. Together, we talked about what makes a good debate, watched part of a debate and did several activities to give everyone an opportunity to try debating. The group was an active one: after the first activity on defending arguments, nearly half of the students volunteered to give their speeches. The second activity got lots of kids excited, as each small group chose a job that they considered to be the “best” and wrote arguments in defense of their job. At the end, we had several of the groups debate each other on what occupation had the greatest benefits. The end of the session saw some lively discussions on whether being a singer or being a diplomat would be a more fulfilling career— definitely a difficult choice.

I would like to thank Ms. An Sun-Nam and Ms. Yim Soo-Bin from the U.S. Embassy for their help, as well as the Ms. Ryu Wee-Ja and Ms. Lee Kyung-Suk from the Uslan Teacher Training Institute for their support and hospitality. IDEA looks forward to collaborating with Teacher Training programs in the future and hopes to see debate become a regular part of the curriculum in schools throughout Korea.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Debating in the Neighborhood

Presentation about Belarus debate program on IDEA Excahnge 2008 held in Amsterdam, 4-6 December.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

IDEA launches new subsite for the 2009 Bosnia and Herzegovina Leadership Program

The subsite for the 2009 Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Leadership Program is now up. Here, participating BiH students and teachers can prepare for their trip overseas. The site also features information for potential host families, a community blog, and tentative schedule. More content will be added in the coming months.

During April of 2009, the program will welcome BiH youth leaders and teachers to the campus of Willamette University. Through community service projects, hands-on learning with Willamette Academy students, cultural outings, and participation in engaging debates, students will expand their understanding of democratic processes, and build appreciation of various beliefs and cultures. Students and teachers wrap up their journey with a trip to Washington, DC, where they will walk the National Mall and take in its world-class museums.

To learn more, visit the site.

The month-long program is a partnership between the US Department of State, US Embassy in Sarajevo, BiH, and Willamette University in Salem, OR.

Why the Web Works Wonders for Debating

David Crane presentation on IDEA Exchange 2008 held in Amsterdam.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Results are in for The People Speak Fall Global Debates!

Out of all of the great plans the UN Foundation received, IDEA chose these four schools to receive prizes:


Solvista Secondary School, South Africa Read their plan
Alief Kerr High School, Texas, U.S. Read their plan

Orh Avner, Ukraine

Villa Maria Academy, Chile

Congratulations to the winners!

Monday, December 01, 2008

The “Golden autumn” of Belarusian debates

Autumn in Belarus has come to its logical conclusion, and it’s high time we analysed the results. The work of Belarusian debaters really deserves the description ‘fruitful’ during these three months. Here are just a few of the activities we held.

In September, we prolonged the summer as much as possible by visiting the southern Belarus town of Svetlogorsk, which greeted us with sunny weather and a surprising interest in debate. Despite the town’s small size, the debate movement in Svetlogorsk is very active. Pupils had been studying debates for a week with the help of Slovak coaches Kubo Macak, Matej Macak and Matej Kurian. We participated in their lessons and were amazed by the children’s enthusiasm despite the challenges of language. Both children and coaches enjoyed the week and even organized a real debate tournament at the end. We watched the games, helped debaters overcome the embarrassment and difficulties of the language barrier, and were pleased with the eagerness and quality we saw. All in all, we were reluctant to leave Svetlogorsk, and delighted to have new friends and fellow debaters. Our enthusiasm had the locals in Svetlogorsk interested in organizing a real club there and the students are eager to participate in our national tournaments.

Dreary October weather didn’t deplete our energy. The small village of Byhov, which invited debate coaches to work with their pupils, is not only historically significant, but also a town where people can and want to debate. During the seminar there, we taught children and coaches the main rules and principles of debates, as well as the importance of debates in today’s society. In the village of Gluhovo, our task was to convince teachers and pupils that debating is not a privilege of big cities – they can also learn to debate and succeed as well as anyone else. The inhabitants of the village were inspired by this notion, and formed a debate club.
The culmination of the autumn events came in November, the coldest month. But inside the debate rooms it was rather hot. A traditional Autumn debate tournament was held in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. This year the tournament was a significant one – not only were there many teams from Minsk, as well as other cities and towns of Belarus, and not only we did we greet our traditional guests from St. Petersburg (Russia), but it was also the first visit to Belarus of debaters from Yakutsk, the capital of Yakutia, the autonomous republic of the Russian Federation. Seven brave children and their teacher flew 13 hours and then took a long train ride to arrive here. They were happy with the “warm” weather (5Cº above zero versus -15Cº in their homeland), Belarusian hospitality, and of course the profound and interesting debates. The tournament consisted not only of games, but a presentation of Belarusian and Yakutian culture, traditional food and drinks and a great number of songs. Not everyone was satisfied with his or her debate results, but everyone enjoyed the atmosphere of friendship and intelligence during this tournament.

Autumn has ended… but many of the debate projects still fill our minds, and we hope to keep them warm enough through winter to realize all of them.
-- Nastya Zhvalevskaya, Belarus