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by Training Students to Debate 
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Monday, August 11th

SDI has begun!  We have 65 students from far and wide in attendance at the 2008 Summer Debate Institute.  Our policy debate track has once again attracted students of various ages and experience levels and we have enjoyed bringing Lincoln-Douglas value debate back for the 2008 camp.  In addition to our regular full-time staff, this year’s SDI introduced an “adjunct” staff of 9 former high school debaters who will be teaching classes, critiquing debate rounds, and assisting students in their research.  For more information about this year’s staff, see the website.

Our first day began with a short talk from Jonathan encouraging the students that they should use debate as a method of finding truth and speaking the truth with delicate speech to those around them.  The students then dove right into classes catered to their unique needs and abilities.

SDI traditionally invites special guests to come and share their expertise on the debate topic(s).  Today’s guest speaker was Ms. Mona Mehta, currently a PhD student at the University of Chicago’s Political Science department where she is focusing her research on religion and violence in India.  Ms. Mehta shared with the class an excellent overview of India’s current status both as a nation and in its larger regional and international community sense.  Her presentation was excellent and provided the students with wonderful information before they began more in depth research of the resolution.

Another fun aspect of SDI is small group time.  In today’s small group time the students participated in team building exercises.  It was an “entangling” experience to say the least!  


And Heather’s small group really had a hard time:





Tuesday August 12, 2008

Day 2 of SDI began with Benjamin reminding the students that they should continue to hone the skills they are developing in order to use them to God’s glory.  Today students heard a guest lecture on the Toulmin Argument Model from College of DuPage’s former Director of Forensics, Professor Steve Schroeder.  The students really got into Steve’s drills:  

This morning we turned our gaze to Great Britain for a conversation with Chicago Tribune reporter Laurie Goering.  Ms. Goering is now the London correspondent for The Chicago Tribune, but spent two years living in and covering India.  After some technical difficulties, we were able to spend an hour discussing many questions ranging from education to culture and biggest apparent needs India faces.  This conversation really helped us hone in on some issues that cases could certainly address.

This afternoon, the staff presented an overview of the 2008 policy resolution (to compliment the policy discussions occurring in LD throughout the week) to enhance the research experience.  This evening we were privileged to host Mr. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois Deputy Treasurer for Policy and Programs.  Mr. Krishnamoorthi is an attorney who now runs some of Illinois’ largest state portfolios.  He spoke with the students about India’s nuclear energy and the relations between India and the United states with regards to the nuclear issue.  This discussion was especially helpful in understanding all the vital steps India and the United States must undertake in order to reach agreement on these nuclear issues.

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