Introduction to Public Forum and Congressional Debate

Introduction to Public Forum and Congressional Debate

Introduction to Public Forum and Congressional Debate

Introduction to Public Forum and Congressional Debate

Synopsis

Jeff Hannan coaches debate at Evanston Township High School in Illinois. He has coached Congressional Debate at the Florida Forensics Institute for 13 years. He was the 2000 National Forensic League (NFL) National Champion in Congressional Debate and coached the 2012 NFL National Champion, in the same event.

Ben Berkman coaches debate at Walt Whitman High School in Maryland; he previously coached for Evanston (Illinois) Township High School. While at Evanston, he coached the 2012 NFL National Champion in the Senate. He has coached Congressional Debate at the Florida Forensics Institute for four years. In 2008, he won the Tournament of Champions, Yale, and National Catholic Forensic League tournaments in Congressional Debate. He is most proud of his third-place finish in the Florida Forensics League State Tournament in Original Oratory.

Chad Meadows coaches debate at Western Kentucky University. He has coached Public Forum Debate at the Florida Forensics Institute for three years. A nationally ranked parliamentary debater, he has coached multiple national champions at the college level.

Excerpt

Hundreds of thousands of students in the United States and around the world participate in academic debate. Debate offers these students many benefits: a rigorous education, the thrill of competition, and the joy of camaraderie. Debaters reap these benefits from a variety of different debate events, some of which have existed for more than a hundred years, others for less than a decade. Two of the most popular forms of debate are quite new: Congressional Debate has existed in some form for many years but has only recently gained widespread acceptance; Public Forum Debate was only developed in the last 10 years.

Because the two events are relatively young, little material is available to help new (or experienced) debaters learn the activities. Nevertheless, these two events continue to grow and attract new students. Although the two activities differ in basic structure, they have much in common: both events offer an accessible blend of argument and eloquence; both events empower students; and both events offer a fast-paced, exciting exchange of ideas. These characteristics, as well as the universal characteristics of solid argumentation and debate, make a text covering both Congressional Debate and Public Forum Debate appropriate.

But what does it mean for a text to “cover” these styles of debate? and who will benefit from that text? Well, this . . .

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