Debate at ISM: IDLe Debate League

Article by Justin Shin

When asked to give a brief summary of debate, an art that is as old as human reason itself, Mr. Marshall, the advisor and head coach of debate club, states, “Debate is a place where you go up against other people and participate in a clash, or a battle of ideas.” In this kind of activity, your team is assigned to either proposition or opposition roles and charged with defending or attacking a certain motion, for which you must develop several grounds and principles, and support with extensive amounts of reasoning. From the beginning till the very end, the two opposing teams are locked in an intense exchange of thought, seeking to fortify their own bastion of arguments while simultaneously attempting to undermine and force the collapse of the opponents.

Now, with the formation of ISM Debate League (IDLe), all high schoolers are given the opportunity to engage in such a wonderful stimulation of critical thinking. Organized by Jason C. (10) and Abhinav B. (12), the Forensics and Debate club will host workshops every Monday and IDLe debate sessions every Wednesday until the second week of November, serving as great, if not necessary, preparation for students hoping to participate in local debate tournaments as well as the competitive IASAS tryouts in November where two teams of three people will be selected.

While some Bearcats may be intimidated by the preparation required for IDLe, co-head Jason C. reassures, “It is less stressful in the sense that most if not all the work you do in debate happens during the session. Usually, there is more than enough time to prepare and consolidate your ideas.” He remarked that this contrasts heavily with MUN, where a considerable amount of time and effort must be invested into preparing speeches and background research beforehand.

“Only prior knowledge and critical thinking is required for debate.” Jason says. “Practice enables you to fill in the gaps between each bullet point and better articulate your points.”

For those interested in joining IDLe, Mr. Marshall has a piece of advice that he would like to share. “Most people are able to identify the main points, but are unable to provide enough content and detailed explanations for the full seven minutes of speech time.” He says. He asserts that one must strive to explain more and more. To put it in other words, one must delve into deeper explanations and bloat our arguments to titanic proportions – subsequently using them to snuff out any competing arguments.

With all this said, if the opportunity to immensely hone your critical thinking skills and indulge in the savage pleasure of ruthlessly dissecting your friends’ arguments does not already prove to be sufficiently enticing, the debate club offers substantial rewards to the top speakers of IDLe – chiefly in the delectable, American-bastardized culinary manifestation of Italian pizza.

Forensics and Debate… Arguably the Best.