Introduction — Students

We are so excited that you are joining the next generation of students who will learn about speech & debate.

Speech & debate education is a form of active learning that has been embraced by millions of students around the world to help them develop foundational skills in character development, communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, which are often referred to as the “5Cs.”  These “5Cs” are currently the most in-demand job skills and the need for graduates with the skills is only expected to grow as the capabilities of artificial intelligence expand.

It is important to emphasize that the 5Cs are skills. To develop these skills, you must be actively involved in practicing the development of these skills. Although there will certainly be content that you need to learn, instruction in speaking and debating will focus more on helping you develop as a speaker and debater rather than primarily on content.

This is one way that debate is like a sport: You need to practice honing your skills to improve your odds of winning. It is also like a sport because it is competitive, and the competitive element will help drive you to succeed.

In the process of learning these skills, you will also need to push yourself, incorporate important values, and, hopefully, celebrate many competitive successes if you enter speaking and debating competitions. And it is through these competitions that they will continue to be motivated to improve.  

In this online guide, we aim to provide you with the tools you need to help you learn the critical components of speech and debate.

The guide is meant to be adapted to the specifics of your learning schedule and the pace at which you are able to learn the material.

In any competitive activity, improving your skills will require a significant effort of both time and effort, but we think you will find that it pays-off. Today, students who were some of the nation’s most competitive debaters, including national champions and top tournament speakers, are among the nation’s most elite lawyers, for example.

We strongly believe your investment in speech and debate will be worthwhile.

Review & Discussion Questions


  1. What initially promoted you to sign-up for debate?
  2. Identify one of the people discussed in the “Why Debate?” section.   Explain how you think debate may have benefited him or her in his or her career?
  3. How do you hope to benefit from your participation in debate?
  4. Do you have any friends that are currently involved in debate?   What do they describe debate to be like?
  5. Have you ever participated in any form of debate?
  6. Have you ever watched a debate?  If so, what are some of the things about the debate that you remember?  What side do you think won the debate you saw?  Why?
  7. What are the four essential general steps involved

Next: Introduction to Debate