[eDebate] Read about the Outreach Workshop
William J Repko
Fri May 25 16:28:30 CDT 2007
Last Wednesday, MSU Debate put on a free debate workshop.
Details of the workshop are contained in the attachment.
The workshop was targeted at every program in the State of Michigan that did
*not* presently have a debate program/course.
I am posting for 4 reasons:
First ? I'm hoping to encourage more college programs to try outreach
projects of this sort.
I was inspired by Ross Smith when he once told me, ?not enough of us are
creating new debaters ? we can essentially create demand?.
Ross, I think, is right ? and his visions to create demand through Debate
Scoop and through Open Source are designed to convince the public at-large
that debaters have something to offer. Ask him about it some time ? he?s
simply on to something.
The MSU project described below may be better viewed as a way to ?create
supply?. We need to get kids to try *some* kind of debate (and enjoy it)
so that parents can begin to pressure High School Administrations.
Second ? it?s simple and inexpensive to run.
We pulled this off for under 100 total dollars (on our end).
For that expense, roughly 80 kids got to participate in their first debate.
Think about it -- If a dozen other college programs had analogous draws,
we?d expose nearly 1000 new students to the activity per year. Over time,
I could imagine significant dividends (new programs, ripple effects, media,
camp participation, etc).
A breakdown of costs is included in the attachment.
Third ? I think now is our time
We exist in what may be a unique political moment ? where many parents (I
think) are looking for something that teaches students ?to read beyond the
headlines?, ?to not accept an argument without verifying that it has
However, most parents don?t know to even consider ?debating? as an
option. Ross is right, at some level, we need to get ourselves out there. We
need to milk our moment. We need to outreach.
I view small workshops as more than a selfless gesture to the community. I
don?t pretend to know all of the obstacles that every college program
confronts, but ? in general ? ?outreach? and ?reading beyond the
headlines? doesn?t solely play with parents. As more debate programs are
seen as an asset to the local community, I suspect (and hope) our place
would grow a little more secure.
Finally ? I am willing to share the entire lesson plan with anyone that
Just backchannel me.
It is 100% fine with me if you are just curious ? but have no intention
(in the short-term) of setting-up a workshop. Undergrads -- this means you.
If you are bored enough to be reading edebate in the middle of the summer,
you are likely bored-enough to read through the lesson plan.
I welcome your thoughts.
The rest is attached.
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