Novice Policy Debate
RESEARCH | ARGUMENTATION | PERSUASION
Designed by successful coaches with teaching and classroom experience, our program offers a fast-paced, yet engaging curriculum that equips students with the skills they need for success at their first policy debate tournament.
From day 1, we emphasize debate fundamentals, introducing students to argumentation theory and providing students with a carefully constructed evidence packet designed to help guide them through the topic.
Morning sessions are spent covering new debate concepts and topic information through engaging lectures and interactive lessons. In the afternoons, students engage in debates, applying skills from earlier lessons. Evenings are reserved for students to work one-on-one with the instructors, reviewing concepts, delivering practice speeches, or discussing new arguments.
We will offer a comprehensive curriculum that prepares students to debate and research the upcoming year’s topic along with perennial debate arguments. Each lab will focus on the three pillars of research, argumentation, and persuasion. Students will conduct their research using the Harvard Libraries, the largest private library in the world; will learn to construct strategic, compelling arguments; and will practice speaking with clarity, conviction, and passion.
About the Program
Benefits of an Online Experience
Although we are disappointed that we cannot host students at the beautiful Harvard campus, we are incredibly excited about the opportunities an online camp offers. We have been working around the clock to make sure students experience all of the things that helped us fall in love with debate so many summers ago. We are designing fun new material every day, but here are a few things you can expect already:
Exciting lectures delivered live via Zoom from top experts in the topic area. Each session will include a Q&A session for students and be recorded so that students can return and review materials later or catch up on something they miss.
Engaging, student-directed lessons that take advantage of fun online learning tools and give students the opportunity to breakout in groups, teach and learn from their peers, pursue their specific research interests, and make new friends.
Individualized feedback and the option to reserve specific meeting times with instructors daily.
Challenging curriculum that you can return to all year- each assignment will be posted on the class page, along with additional assignments that students can complete to learn more. We offer 2-3 different level of assignment for each concept so that students can challenge themselves during camp or return later in the year to continue learning.
Each evening we will host a viewing party to show debates or relevant topic movies. These will be educational, but it is also an opportunity for students to hang out and get to know other debaters online.
Sample Daily Schedule
You can find our daily schedule at this link. The in-person workshop (Session One) will start each day at 9am, ET and the online workshop (Session Two) will start at 10am ET. Each day is broken up into 3 parts. In general, we will spend the first part of our day learning new content and discussing readings from the night before. The second part of the day will be devoted to group research and research presentations. The final part of the day is devoted to skills practice and games. Students are encouraged to attend all parts in order to get the most from camp, however, we understand this might be difficult for everyone. If you are unable to attend part of camp, please reach out and let your instructors know.
- Strategy: Constructing strategic arguments
- Research: Advanced research practices
- Argumentation: Line-by-line argumentation
- Delivery: Persuasive and clear speaking
- Preparation: Tournament preparation techniques
What Students and Parents Say
Tripp Rebrovick, PhD, is the Director of Debate at Harvard University. He has a BA from Harvard and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Tripp has over twelve years of experience teaching at summer workshops and has worked with students of all skill levels. While a debater, he was the top speaker at the TOC, winner of NFL Nationals, and a four-time elimination-round participant at the NDT.
Margaret Strong was an assistant coach at Harvard for the 2021-2022 season and will start the Masters in Communications program at Wake Forest in the fall. Marge previously coached at Michigan State University, the University of Kentucky, and UC Berkeley. She reached the semifinals of the National Debate Tournament.
Ruby Klein is an assistant coach of debate at Harvard, now entering her second year. She graduated from Wake Forest University in 2021, when she received at First Round bid the NDT and reached the octafinals. Ruby has extensive experience coaching novice debate both online and in person.