Monday, December 20, 2010

WDI Holds Debate Training Sessions in Ljubljana in December

While staying in Ljubljana in preparation for heading down south to WUDC Botswana I was called on by those here in Slovenia to do some training. I was glad to do it as a representative of the World Debate Institute ( because Slovenian debaters are very serious and very anxious to learn and I love to teach debating.

On Tuesday evening 14 December 2010 I met with the debate club at the Law Faculty of the University of Ljubljana. Urska Derganc (sorry, I lack the right characters) and Gregor Janzek lead the club, and invited me to do a presentation on "Build Better Arguments." There were about 30 people there, and some of them were not debaters, but who wanted to learn more so they will write better essays as well as write better legal arguments. I reviewed the problems most often found in inductive, deductive and causal arguments. Then I talked about how to build "thicker" arguments that are deeper and more substantive, using my new models for mechanical, organic and stakeholder arguments. Then, I talked about 12 different forms of support you can use for an argument. We ended by asking volunteers to give 3 minute speeches on an assigned motion to illustrate their use of these "thicker" techniques. 17 of the 32 or so volunteered and spoke. After that we adjourned to a nearby pub for discussion and the telling of tall tales.

On Thursday afternoon 16 December 2010 I went to Gymnasia Bezigrad to meet with high school debaters. EUDC ESL champion Maja Cimerman directs this club, and once again about 30 people showed up for a session on "How to Be a Dynamic Speaker." I did my usual talk about the three laws of dynamism and how to apply them to all facets of speech delivery, and then I added some new material I had developed for IDAS about what empirical research in persuasion shows are things to do and not to do while giving a speech. There was not time for an exercise, but the reception I received seemed warm and genuine. After that I had a farewell meeting with Maja and then trundled into a taxi.

On Saturday and Sunday December 18 and 19 December 2011 I met with the Slovenia world schools team that is preparing for a tournament in Istanbul as well as the upcoming World Schools Debating Championship that will be held in 2011 in Dundee, Scotland. On Saturday morning I did a "Principle" exercise with them where I would give each pair a motion and have them immediatekly tell me what the principle would be behind prop and opp. We did about 30 or more motions in a brief time. Then, we did a speaking exercise like the one at where they get a motion and have to start talking immeditely while a panel of students evaluates their speaking on various features: language choices and crutch words, hands and body, voice and face and finally a general style rating and evaluation. This went really well and we decided to do it again the next day. Then we ended with a debate on "in some cases violence is justified to protect the environment." I was first opp speaker. It was a very spirited debate and afterwards Bojana delivered a long critique (in Slovenian). The next day we met again in the morning and I did a follow up series of speaking drills, this time capturing them on video. Each student would list the things they had done wrong the previous day, then I would give them a motion that they had to start speaking on immediately, and then a panel of students evaluiated them, all captured on video. Then we had a debate (in which I weas second opp speaker) on the motion, "China should adopt EU environmental standards." This was a difficult motion to debate, and they did a fine job. I was better than the day before. Again, Bojana delivered a long critique in Slovenian. This team is a very talented group but does have some rough spots. I know that with Bojana Skrt's relentless preparation they will make Slovenia proud.

Today, Monday, I prepare to leave for Botswana tomorrow. I hope they clear the snow in Frankfurt so flying south is possible!
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