Everyday Debate (Fall)
Term: Fall Semester 2020–21, September 8–January 22
Target Grade Levels: Grades 9–10; 11th–12th graders welcome (see placement details below)
Schedule: 2x / week, 60–75 min.
T/Th 2:00 p.m. ET with Colleen Coleman (Section Full: Join Waiting List)
Ongoing Enrollment and Placement
- if the student falls outside of the stated age/grade range for the class.
- if the student needs to demonstrate a certain level of skill and proficiency for the course.
- if the student has completed prerequisite requirements somewhere other than Scholé Academy (e.g., at home or with another school). In this case, our instructors will need to verify that the student has adequately fulfilled the prerequisite requirements.
- if a placement assessment has been recommended by a Scholé Academy instructor.
- If a placement evaluation has not been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted a full refund, including the full $75 deposit.
- If a placement evaluation has been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted part of their $75 refund: $35 will be paid to the instructor for the placement evaluation, and the remaining $40 of the original deposit will be refunded.
“For what should a man live, if not for the pleasures of discourse?” —Plato
What would you do if you were having a conversation with a friend and realized that you completely disagreed with her point of view? What if your friend wanted to debate you about this issue? Would you welcome such a challenge as an adventure, or would you shrink from it as a threat? This Everyday Debate course gives students debating confidence and opens their eyes to the benefit of debate, disagreement, and discussion in day-to-day life or in a formal debate setting.
This course not only shows students how to conduct informal and formal debates, but also how to develop good arguments by using solid logic and the resources available in their own thinking as well as the world around them. Students employ the techniques of logic and rhetoric, such as the common topics of definition, comparison, relationship, circumstance, and testimony. Additional study of ethos, pathos, and style is also included, as well as a study of debate arrangement. For a closer look at the text used in this course, please follow this link and click “Look Inside”: Everyday Debate and Discussion.
Throughout the semester, students enjoy carrying out small semi-weekly debates while working together toward a large debate at the end of the semester. What kind of work can a student in this course expect to be assigned? There will be weekly readings from the textbook as well as opportunities to read and discuss a couple of relevant Platonic dialogs. Students will observe master debaters and speakers through video, learning from their arguments and rhetorical techniques. While the course’s focus is on oral discussion and argumentation, an occasional writing assignment is given to allow time for students to privately reflect on, analyze, or imitate the master rhetoricians they’ve been observing.
Placement: Please read about our new process above.
Everyday Debate and Discussion is designed to serve either as a bridge for students in 9th grade and above who are moving from logic to rhetoric, or as a companion to upper-level logic or rhetoric studies. While this course does not have any required prerequisites, it is designed for students who have already completed a study of the informal fallacies. Students who have a working knowledge of the core content provided in an informal logic course (such as our course featuring The Art of Argument) will be ideally prepared for this course.
High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of 1/2 high school credit in speech and debate.
At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper school students (in grades 7-12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. … Read more about our Faith & Culture.
“My daughter has been stretched to think more deeply and to consider both sides of an issue objectively. She has really appreciated the fact that, even as a young teen, she has been given the opportunity to engage in thoughtful conversations about tough issues.” —Everyday Debate Parent
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
Colleen Coleman completed her undergraduate studies in English and Latin at Hillsdale College, where she was awarded a fellowship to study the life and writing of Winston Churchill. She has taught middle school and high school students in subjects ranging from Humane Letters and Scripture to Literature and Life Science. She loves creating an atmosphere where her students can experience wonder and pursue the truth together through Socratic dialogue. She has an active interest in permaculture farming and exploring the ways ecosystems work together to enhance communities. When not teaching, she enjoys playing the violin, running, reading, and cooking. email@example.com
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
Read the Student-Parent Handbook.
Please take careful note of our teaching philosophy, our technology requirements, our school policies, the parent agreement, and the distinctions between our grade levels.
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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.
This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.