At a Glance:
In this fun, high-energy, interactive, 8-Week trimester, we apply what we learned about logic, critical thinking and debate along with the preparation for our claims, and we will learn how to deliver a splendid argument.
How are these 3 debate courses structured as a whole?
This is the first of three trimester courses which can be taken together to get a robust year-long understanding of 1- logic and argumentation, 2- how to prepare a case and make a claim, and 3 – how to deliver the debate.
These 3 skills will be practiced during all three trimester courses, but each trimester will take particular focus on one of these so that strong skills will emerge. The order of the trimesters will be 1-argument logic 2- preparation 3- delivery. That way, your student has the first trimester to warm up to speaking and hearing each other and the second semester to research and build confidence in their case they have chosen. By the third trimester, your student will be confident and prepared when practicing his/her case.
Can my student take just one of these trimesters without taking the others?
Yes. your student will gain a lot on each of these. It’s encouraged to take all three, however, because they do build on each other and focus on different aspects of debate. There is a 10% discount for registering for all three up front, and the students will have a more cohesive class experience by supporting each other throughout the year.
What will this trimester focus on within the context of all three trimesters?
Trimester 1: Logic and argumentation is the focus of this trimester. The eight lessons include: What is debate?, What is an argument, What is a resolution, classification, different points of view, logos, ethos, pathos, Logic and Fallacies, and presentations. Throughout the semester will be strategies for dealing positively with opponents who use bully tactics in apologetic debates.
Trimester 2: Preparation and research is the focus of this trimester. The eight lessons will follow on these topics: How to Research, Cutting and Tagging, Affirmative Arguments , Negative Arguments, Writing Cases, Recognizing Arguments, and Quick Casing. Throughout the semester will be strategies for dealing positively with opponents who use bully tactics in apologetic debates.
Trimester 3 – Speaking, Debating, and Delivery
- We will begin with the importance and elements of good delivery. Speed, tone, volume, intonation, and clarity. Then we’ll learn two skills to manage this bully tactic: How to Untangle Knotty Arguments (how to handle the bully tactic of riddling you with so many objections at once you can’t address them all).
- Cross examination- the purpose of questions and answers. How is should and should not be used -We’ll then learn skills to manage this bully tactic: How to Spot a Misplaced Analogy (how to handle the bully tactic of sounding so confident because of a witty analogy that doesn’t hold water)
- Impromptu speaking – thinking on your feet. Fun activities will be practiced in class. We’ll then learn skills to manage this bully tactic: How to Think Through a One-Liner (how to handle the bully tactic of hitting you with a label that’s quick and hurtful)
- Flowing – the art of taking notes during a debate. Then we’ll learn skills to manage this bully tactic: How to Separate Your Faith from Fairies and Santa Claus (how to handle the bully tactic of trivializing your faith)
- Constructing and presenting a Rebuttal speech. Then we’ll learn skills to manage this bully tactic: How to Get out of the Trap of Expecting God to Prove Himself on our Terms (how to handle the bully tactic of saying if God then why not…)
- Impromptu speaking 2 – A second day to practice good delivery and quick on your feet thinking – We’ll then learn skills to manage this bully tactic: How to Defuse an Ad Hominem (how to handle the bully tactic of making fun of Christians that aren’t cool or have stumbled)
- Final debate presentations. Then we’ll learn how to identify and manage this bully tactic: How to Acknowledge and Unpack Contradictions (how to handle the bully tactic of picking a contradiction and running with it).
- Wrapping it all up – finish final debate presentations and review all bully tactics, how to handle them and How to Be kind. (A conclusion using lots of video examples of Christians doing it right – with grace, compassion and love).
What will my learner “debate”?
This debate course intentionally chooses Christian apologetics as the theme of all of our practice and examples. Each student will begin their course by selecting a debate topic to argue on the side of Gospel Truth.
Students can choose from some of the topics below:
- Evidence for the Resurrection
- The Cosmological argument
- The validity of the prophecies of Isaiah
- The validity of the prophecies of Daniel
- That a good God allows evil
- Faith is not Belief Without Evidence
- Babies are not Born Atheists
- Doubt is not a Virtue
- Atheists are not more intelligent
- Religion/faith has a net positive effect on society
Students are welcome to suggest other topics. Topics must be straightforward Christian Truths which most Christians agree on. In using the topic we will be assuming an opponent is someone struggling to believe in God or struggling to believe in the saving Grace of Christ. We will not use topics which may have differing interpretations among different denominations of Christianity. We want to stick to the core Gospel. Examples of what topics we won’t use include: what communion represents, Calvinism, the necessity of baptism for salvation, evolution, age of the earth, or social justice issues. While these are all great topics for another time, for this particular class, our target opponent is someone who is lost overall, not a Christian who disagrees with a certain doctrine. We keep these guidelines to keep the class on one unified track of learning how to help those struggling using solid, constructive, and positive skills of discourse and not get distracted with doctrinal comparisons.
How are the classes held?
The are live Zoom sessions. While I have scheduled these for 45 minutes, please be aware that I like to make sure we’ve completed our objectives before the end of class. I will often go a few minutes over, so be prepared to remain for a full 60 minutes if it’s needed.
Is there homework?
Yes, there is homework, but it won’t be overwhelming and much of the work will be in class. Because I want each learner to embrace and internalize the debate concepts learned, they will be applying everything they learn to one case of their choosing and will submit weekly homework on this. These assignments will be rewarding and fascinating from a faith walk point-of-view and should actually be fun for the student. I will encourage students to watch debates on the topic and help to steer them toward good, credible Christian sources that both understand and love their opponents and exhibit excellent debating skills.