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Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Learn Foundational Skills in Style, Content, and Strategy in Lincoln Douglas Debate

This workshop will prepare students to compete in Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Level: All Levels

The workshop is designed for students with experience in Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Summer 2024 Sessions

In-Person: Session Two -- July 14 - July 26


Resident: $3,999
Commuter: $2,849

More Information Coming Soon!

About the Program


Our workshop was created to provide the best possible educational experience for all levels of students. We ask you to consider some important qualities that distinguish the Harvard Debate Council Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp from others. Our Lincoln Douglas staff this year is unlike any other in terms of experience, diversity of teaching styles, argument preferences, and other core identifiers of diversity. Members of our staff have coached championships (and/or won themselves) at all levels of forensic competition including the National Debate Tournament, the Cross Examination Debate Association, the National Speech and Debate Association Championships, the Tournament of Champions, the National Debate Coaches Association Championships, and virtually every major invitational in the United States.


The Harvard Debate Council Lincoln Douglas program seeks to balance a true understanding of complex concepts while making sure students have the practical tools needed to enjoy competitive success during the debate season. Our approach is battle-tested through many years of working with some of the most successful Lincoln Douglas debaters in the country.

We believe the best way to achieve our goal for our students is to tailor our instruction to meet the needs of our Lincoln Douglas students. We do not believe “one type of instruction fits all.” We place incredible career educators alongside the best young Lincoln Douglas debate alumni to combine the best debate trends with serious educational thought. There are many great debaters. There are far fewer great teachers of debate. We believe that students, parents, and coaches should collectively weigh all of the available information to assess which summer experience would best benefit each student, and work hard to implement this for students attending our Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp.

Learning Objectives

The Lincoln Douglas curriculum of any institute is crucial to what a student is likely to gain. In this regard, one should consider whether a debate institute offers a curriculum that addresses the diversity of conditions students are likely to confront in their debate careers. One should also consider whether the student would be taught an educationally sound set of practices or a series of tricks that happened to work at a single tournament or in front of a small number of judges.

Our senior staff members have taught at dozens of workshops around the country. The core of the staff is composed of professional educators, some with Master’s degrees in education, who are also competitive coaches in the debate game.  

Our approach to Lincoln Douglas debate is pedagogically sound and time-tested in terms of competitive success. Students will have guaranteed access to all Lincoln Douglas Debate staff members. At many institutes, a student’s exposure to staff is limited to lab leaders and large group lectures. We want all students to have one-on-one attention with the instructor of their choice at some point during their stay.

The curriculum is designed to give students a common knowledge base in Lincoln Douglas debate, yet avoids hours and hours of lectures on issues that have become tangential to contemporary Lincoln Douglas debate. Each year we have modified our program at previous workshops based on feedback from coaches and students.


Components of our Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp curriculum include the following:

  • Our pedagogy emphasizes small lab groups. Students will be given enrichment exercises to accelerate their growth.
  • The Lincoln Douglas Debate literature base many students are using is changing. While we teach about Rawls, Nozick, Kant, and JS Mill we will also teach you about Wilderson, Hartman, Hooks, and Charles Mills.
  • We focus on teaching students ethically sound best practices for Lincoln Douglas Debate in dealing with the arguments that seem to pervade many circuits.
  • We offer a balance of large group lectures and electives to allow students to focus on things they wish to learn/work on.
  • More actual debating (after sufficient time to prepare and modify cases) to allow students the opportunity to address weaknesses and emphasize areas of strength.
  • Electives -Our workshop offers a vast array of electives beginning the first week of the workshop. At Harvard Debate Council workshops, we attempt to offer electives that cater to all skill levels. Most importantly, students have to opportunity to choose electives during each elective cycle.

The Harvard Debate Council workshops will also focus on how to research, a skill that many camps seem to have put on the back burner. Attention will also be placed on effective case writing, effective speaking techniques, strategic decisions, and general tips to help students achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves in Lincoln Douglas Debate.

Sample Schedule

The following is a sample schedule for the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Program. Schedules will vary by division and day. This schedule is provided to give you an idea of what a typical day looks like at Harvard Debate Council Summer Workshops.

8:00 am – 9:00 am – Breakfast

9:00 am-10:15 am — Electives


Intro to the K

Politics DA I: What Is It?

Debating Someone Older [or better] than you….and winning!

Queer Theory I: Judith Butler


Advanced CX

10:15am-11:30am — Lab Session

11:30 am-1:00 pm — Lunch

1:00 pm-1:45 pm — Advisory Groups

2:00 pm-3:45 pm — Lab Session

4:00 pm-5:00 pm — Electives

Topicality I: Introduction

Extensions & Weighing

Politics DA II: Midterms

Critical Pedagogy

Performance Debate In an Hour

5:00-6:30 pm — Dinner

6:30 pm-8:00 pm — Evening Activities/Office Hours

What Students and Parents Say

I am writing to thoroughly thank you and everyone else involved with the camp. … I questioned how much I could learn without being able to see my classmates, or my instructors. However, I was so wrong. …[T]his has been my best and favorite camp experience ever, even better than the camps I have attended in person. I genuinely learnt so much. Not just about Public Forum, but just how to be more confident, and how to work better with others…I really just wanted to put out my appreciation for how this camp was run. It was so organized, and I was shocked at how much I was able to learn in such a short amount of time. …I feel like I grew so much as a debater, …The staff at camp were incredible. All of the instructors were so helpful and willing to give feedback. ...Furthermore, I really enjoyed how the sessions were on a broad variety of prevalent topics and themes that are especially important today. …[I]t's the life skills that I learnt at camp that I will carry with me for a lifetime. …Thank you. Truly, thank you so much. And thank you to all the other organizers at camp, for making every day so educational, yet also incredible fun. Thank you for all of the amazing memories I now have, and the friends that will last a lifetime!
Public Forum Debater
As the summer winds down, I wanted to send a quick note of thanks for the July debate workshop -- it was definitely a highlight of a bizarre three months. The program not only motivated me to prep for the school year, but it challenged me to take on a large project during an unprecedented time. I had fun participating in the tournament and I grew more than ever as a debater and thinker. The teachers were all extremely helpful and just amazing people.
Public Forum Debater
[My son] really enjoyed the camp the last 2 weeks! Thank you so much for all of the time, planning, and effort that went into making it possible. He truly got a lot out of it.
Mother of Public Forum Debater
My daughter just finished a two-week debate camp with you. She had a great experience. Loved the lectures and teachers; really got a lot from it. … [T]hanks again for organizing such a great virtual program.
Mother of Public Forum Debater
Aaron Timmons

Aaron Timmons
Curriculum Director

Aaron W. Timmons is an internationally acclaimed educator, debate coach, and program director. Aaron’s success as a debate coach/trainer is historic and unparalleled. He is the former Co-Head Coach of the USA Debate team that WON the World Schools Debating Championships in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2023. During his thirty-year tenure as Director of Debate at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas, he has worked to build one of the most successful speech and debate teams in the United States and is one of only two coaches in the history of the United States whose students have won the NSDA National Championships in three separate debating categories (in addition to numerous finalists.   He is recognized as a Hall of Fame member by the National Speech and Debate Association, the Tournament of Champions, and the Texas Forensic Association. Mr. Timmons also serves as an assistant debate coach for Harvard College. 

In the realm of Lincoln Douglas Debate Mr. Timmons has coached students to win the multiple championships of the National Speech and Debate Association, the Tournament of Champions, the National Debate Coaches Association Championship, as well as the Texas Forensic Association. Mr. Timmons students has also won the Dukes and Bailey award for the most outstanding student of that competitive school year in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

Mr. Timmons has taught at schools, workshops, and summer programs across the world for decades across all ranges of skill levels. Thanks to the high demand for Aaron’s public speaking expertise, he has conducted debate and public speaking training in the United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, Mexico, and Qatar. As a co-coach of the USA National Debate Team, he has led students to international success in competition venues including Canada, Croatia, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Slovenia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand. Aaron’s experiences with both international students and audiences allow him to teach communications with a particular eye to cultural differences and multiple worldview  

Temitope Ogundare

Temitope Ogundare has competed for 8 years at both Newark Science and Rutgers-Newark across varying formats (policy, LD, NDT/CEDA policy, NFA-LD, Public Forum, and British Parliamentary). In high school, Temitope was invited to multiple Round Robins, in many late elimination rounds, and qualified to and competed at NSDA Nationals in both policy and LD. At Rutgers, Temitope championed multiple tournaments across the varying formats and worked to better the debate community such as engaging in competition with the Bard Prison Initiative. Temitope has been coaching alongside competing since 2019 and is continually inspired by debaters who care to learn and grow. She loves teaching critical and policy based strategies with her top 3 2NRS being the K, T, DA and believes that more debaters should be willing to engage both sides of the library. She loves the practice of research and is excited to have discussions on all the ins and out of debates in both contents and forms.

Elijah Smith

Elijah Smith

Eli Smith has 17 years of experience as a competitor and coach in debate. He has coached champions of the TOC and NDCA, a TOC top speaker, and multiple other top speakers and elim participants in LD debate. Eli has an extensive record of coaching First-Round teams in college policy debate and had teams place in the late elims of both CEDA and the NDT. His favorite part of debate is CX and he believes more students would benefit from focusing on mastering this speech. He believes that well-rounded students perform the best each year and is happy to work with students on almost any argument. Eli's favorite debate strategies involve the use of Kritiks, counterplans, and smart case presses.

Colton Gilbert

Colton Gilbert

Colton is a Debate Coach and Teacher at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. He has been involved in competitive speech and debate since 2004. In. undergrad, Colton focused on Communication Studies with a minor in mathematics. In grad school, Colton received a Master’s in Communication Studies from Arkansas State University and a Master’s in Secondary Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Since 2014, Colton has been Arkansas’s delegate at NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection where he served as chair of the Wording Committee in Summer of ’22. As a coach, Colton has coached debaters (both policy and LD) to out rounds at national tournaments and regularly qualifies students to the Tournament of Champions and NSDA. He has coached teams with varying argument styles from policy-oriented approaches to kritikal approaches; and everything in between. Colton prides himself on argument development and research practices. In his spare time, he enjoys video games on his Xbox and spending time with his beloved niece. Colton’s areas of emphasis include research tactics, race-centric arguments, kritikal debate as well as IR-based arguments.

Blake Ziegler

Blake Ziegler is the Associate Director of Debate and Speech at The Delores Taylor Arthur School for Young Men in New Orleans, LA. Entering his tenth year in the activity, he offers significant experience in LD. His students have consistently broken at national tournaments and received speaker awards, including qualifying to the TOC. He has also coached NSDA qualifiers every year to elimination rounds as a coach. His students also find local success, including elimination rounds at the California state championship and the 2024 Louisiana state champion. He has coached virtually every style, including stock, philosophy (especially Rawls), policy, and critical arguments. His favorite part of debate is research, especially in under covered literature, which he believes debaters often underutilize. He is excited to share the joys of research, case-writing, and on-case argumentation this summer! Outside of debate, Blake teaches social studies, writes, and hangs out with his poodles.

Jonathan Alston

Jonathan Alston is a high school English teacher and a two-diamond coach for Science Park High School (Newark Science) in New Jersey. After graduating from Yale University, Jonathan coached eight NJ State Champions in Lincoln-Douglas debate, was the coach of the 2018 NDCA Dukes/Bailey winner, and has had debaters make it to late elimination rounds and top speaker positions at Stanford, Emory, Greenhill, Wake Forest, Harvard, the Tournament of Champions, and NSDA Nationals, including the second speaker in policy debate in 2015. He has also coached two members of the USA Debate team. Because of Jonathan’s commitment to leadership and service to the speech and debate communities, he was named 2014 National Debate Coach Association Educator of the Year, the 2016 Glenn Pelham Award winner, and a member of the prestigious Barkley Forum Key Society. He was inducted into the National Speech and Debate Association Hall of Fame in 2023.

Anna Myers

Anna is an assistant debate coach at Greenhill School. She has eight years of experience with Lincoln-Douglas debate, and has worked with students with a broad array of argumentative interests. Her students have earned speaker awards and reached out-rounds at the Tournament of Champions, NDCA, TFA, in addition to consistent regular season success. Anna's favorite part of debate is research and developing argument strategy, and she loves working with competitive and curious students. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in political science and philosophy.