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Our Approach

Girl Debating

Personalizing a Unique Action Plan for Every Student

At Capitol Debate, we understand that each student has a unique set of skills and challenges in public speaking and debate. We begin with a detailed assessment of each student's abilities and challenges, moving away from a one-size-fits-all methodology. Our action plans are carefully crafted to enhance existing talents while addressing and improving areas of weakness. This personalized strategy ensures that every student receives the precise support and guidance they need to develop, excel, and confidently face their challenges. Here is how we tailor our program for each student:


This initial stage involves a meticulous evaluation of each student's public speaking and debate abilities. Using a variety of assessment tools, we gauge their proficiency in critical areas such as argumentation, research skills, speech delivery, and body language. This thorough assessment not only identifies their current standing but also helps in setting clear, achievable goals, laying a solid foundation for their personalized learning journey.

Beyond assessment, we create customized action plans for every student. These plans are tailored to individual needs and learning styles, ensuring that each session, every activity, and all feedback directly contributes to their specific development goals.

Recognizing the non-linear nature of skill development, our curriculum flexibly adapts to each student's pace. We focus on incremental progress, valuing each small victory and milestone as an essential part of their growth journey.

Our teaching methods are dynamically adjusted in response to ongoing assessments of each student's progress. This ensures a continuously engaging and challenging learning environment, helping students to evolve their skills consistently.

We focus on enhancing each student's natural talents while methodically improving their weaker areas. By striking this balance, we turn every potential vulnerability into an opportunity for growth and strength.

Extensive Checklist for Success

At Capitol Debate, we ensure that every aspect of public speaking and debate is thoroughly addressed. Our comprehensive checklist is meticulously designed to track and guide each student's progress. We carefully examine each student's abilities in the following 7 categories:


  • Projection: Assessing clarity and confidence in voice projection.
  • Vocal Variety: Evaluating the use of volume, pace, and pitch to engage the audience.
  • Articulation: Checking for clear speech and precise pronunciation.
  • Pauses: Observing the strategic use of pauses in speech.
  • Emphasis: Analyzing techniques used to highlight key parts of the speech.

  • Gestures: Reviewing the effectiveness of hand gestures in complementing the verbal message.
  • Eye Contact: Gauging the ability to use eye contact for audience engagement and connection.
  • Movement: Assessing the use of body movement and posture.
  • Expressions: Examining facial expressions to convey emotions and reactions.

  • Hook: Evaluating the ability to craft compelling hooks.
  • Statement of Position: Assessing clarity in articulating the stance.
  • Credibility: Analyzing the establishment of credibility and authority on the subject.
  • Preview of Main Points: Reviewing the clarity in outlining the speech structure.

  • Clear Main Points: Checking for distinct and logical main points in speeches.
  • Evidence: Evaluating the use of solid, credible evidence.
  • Pathos: Observing the infusion of passion to emotionally connect with the audience.
  • Transitions: Assessing the seamless transition between points.

  • Preparing Questions: Reviewing the development of insightful questions.
  • Preparing Answers: Analyzing preparedness for counter-questions.
  • Composure: Gauging composure under pressure.
  • Controlling Questioning: Evaluating effectiveness in managing the questioning period.

  • Signposting: Checking for clear addressing of opponents' arguments.
  • Order: Assessing the methodical tackling of arguments.
  • Comparing Arguments: Evaluating the ability to weigh and reconcile different arguments.

  • Powerful Persuasive Closing: Observing the impact of conclusions.
  • Clearly State Why You Won: Reviewing the articulation of argument superiority.
  • Close Door on Opposing Case: Assessing techniques to counter and diminish opposing arguments.
  • Call to Action: Gauging the effectiveness of a compelling call to action.
  • Use of Passion and Emotion: Analyzing the infusion of passion and emotion in closings.
Teacher

Utilizing a Live Ballot/Evaluation Sheet: Every student benefits from our unique 'Live Ballot' system. As students engage with different members of our skilled staff, this tool provides a continuous, evolving record of their progress and areas for improvement. It allows each new instructor to precisely understand the student's current standing and challenge them appropriately, raising the bar with each interaction. This method ensures that progress is measurable, visible, and tailored to each student's evolving skills.

Teacher

Providing Top-Tier Coaches to Enhance Student Learning

Our team at Capitol Debate is composed of seasoned speech and debate educators with extensive field and teaching experience. Unlike other programs, our staff are professionals dedicated to education and continual learning. Annually, we engage in intensive training to stay abreast of the latest methodologies and resources in public speaking and debate. This commitment to excellence ensures that our staff not only teaches effectively but also inspires and innovates in the art of communication.Here is why our instructors make a difference in your child's growth"

  • All classes are staffed with Senior Instructors with many years of classroom teaching and coaching experience.
  • A history of achievements in the field, ensuring credible and informed teaching.
  • Veteran Staff return each year, demonstrating a stable and committed team.

  • Career dedication: Our staff are mentors with a passion for lifelong teaching and learning.
  • Focus on transformation: Dedicated to molding students into confident communicators and thinkers.
  • Years of service: Many instructors have over 15 years of commitment to Capitol Debate, returning each summer.

  • Regular professional development: Annual trainings to continually enhance teaching skills.
  • Adaptation to educational trends: Keeping pace with the latest educational trends and methodologies.
  • Continuing education in public speaking and debate: Ensuring instructors remain at the forefront of the field.

  • Technological integration: Utilizing the latest tools for an enhanced learning experience.
  • Innovative teaching methods: Employing modern exercises and strategies for effective learning.
  • Video technology for feedback: Leveraging video tools for detailed student feedback.
  • Custom software for feedback: Using proprietary software for comprehensive student evaluations.

  • Motivational teaching: Inspiring a lasting passion for public speaking and debate in students.
  • Personal and academic growth: Focusing on both the intellectual and personal development of each student.
  • Engaging and fun learning: Creating a learning environment that is both enjoyable and educational.

Employing Technology to Facilitate Learning

At Capitol Debate, we harness the power of cutting-edge technology to enhance our public speaking and debate programs. From AI-driven feedback tools to comprehensive digital speech libraries, our approach integrates the latest technological advancements to provide a robust and interactive learning experience. These tools not only refine the students' skills but also foster a deeper understanding and passion for effective communication. Some uses include:

  • Personalized Feedback: Record speeches to provide students with specific, actionable feedback on their performance.
  • Self-Review and Progress Tracking: Enable students to watch their recordings, aiding in self-identification of improvement areas and tracking their own progress.
  • Enhancing Presentation Skills: Use visual self-assessment to focus on improving body language, stage presence, and overall delivery.

  • Automated Initial Feedback: AI technology provides immediate feedback on issues like filler words, weak words, pacing, and clarity.
  • Focused Staff Attention: Staff can concentrate on more in-depth, personalized coaching, while AI manages the initial analysis of speeches.
  • Independent Practice: Students can independently practice speeches and receive AI feedback at any time, encouraging self-improvement.

  • Access to Inspirational Speeches: Provide a digital library of famous speeches for students to study and draw inspiration.
  • Learning from the Best: Techniques and styles of accomplished speakers are analyzed to understand effective public speaking strategies.
  • Diverse Range of Examples: Speeches from various contexts and styles are included to expose students to a broad spectrum of public speaking.

  • adTranscription for Analysis: Convert speeches to text for a detailed review of content, structure, and language usage.
  • Enhancing Content Clarity and Structure: Students are encouraged to refine their arguments and improve the coherence of their speeches.
  • Language Development: Emphasis is placed on vocabulary enhancement and effective language usage through text-based analysis.

  • Interactive Learning Environment: Google Classroom and Google Docs are used for dynamic, collaborative learning experiences.
  • Community Building: Google Chat fosters a community where students can discuss ideas, share insights, and receive peer feedback.
  • Continuous Access and Engagement: Ongoing engagement outside formal training sessions is ensured, enabling continuous learning and interaction.
AI Coach
Boy Debating

Practice, Practice, Practice

From day one, practice is at the heart of our program at Capitol Debate. We emphasize 'learning by doing,' ensuring students are actively engaged in various speaking exercises every day. Our approach fosters continual skill development in real-world scenarios, building both confidence and competence.

Students start with fun impromptu speeches, picking proverbs or sayings from a hat and delivering short speeches with minimal preparation. This exercise enhances quick thinking and public speaking comfort from the very first day.

Regular mini-debates on light, engaging topics help students get comfortable with speaking and debating in a fun, relaxed environment, encouraging interaction and argument development skills.

Students practice their speeches for instructors, peers, and through videotaping, receiving comprehensive feedback. This iterative process prepares them for more polished and confident public presentations.

On day 6, students present persuasive speeches on the debate topic. This activity is designed to refine their persuasive speaking skills, allowing them to articulate positions compellingly and convincingly.

During the second week, students get numerous opportunities to engage in practice debates with peers. This real-time debating experience allows them to apply their skills and strategies effectively.

All students participate in a three-round debate tournament on the last full day of the program. This tournament serves as a capstone experience, allowing students to apply everything they've learned and showcase their developed skills in a competitive and supportive environment.


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Capitol Debate is proud to host transformative camps in more than 16 cities, positively impacting the lives of thousands this year. With nearly two decades of experience, trust us to make a significant and lasting difference in your child's life.

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