By: Thomas Jones, Staff Reporter
One of the many great aspects of Regis University is its commitment to helping others and strengthening one’s community through the act of service. The Regis University British Parliamentary style Debate Team has shown their commitment to service once again as they continue to engage in community service projects. Last year the Regis Debate Team did volunteer work at Beach Court Elementary School, reading with students to help improve the school’s literacy rating so funding didn’t decrease for the school. This year the Regis team is continuing their commitment to education by starting up a debate program at Ricardo Flores Magon Academy for elementary and middle school students.
Ricardo Flores Magon Academy (RFMA) is a charter school between 53rdAvenue and 54thAvenue on Lowell Boulevard, just down the street from Regis. RFMA teaches students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. The Debate program started by Regis accepts both elementary school and middle school aged children. Communications Professor and Regis Debate team coach, Jon Denzler, put the curriculum together for the debate program at RFMA and is also the instructor of the program at RFMA, which meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM. For the first few weeks of the program the students practiced their public speaking and basic argumentation skills through several activities, such as short impromptu speeches on simple topics like Coke vs. Pepsi, public readings and group work to come up with arguments on a topic.
In the coming weeks the students will begin to learn a specific style of debate known as Lincoln-Douglas debate. This is a one v. one debate with the side agreeing with the topic known as the Affirmative side and the side disagreeing with the topic known as the Negative side; a typical round lasts about forty-five minutes with the speech order being as follows:
1) Affirmative first constructive speech – 6 minutes
2) Cross examination period where the Negative questions the Affirmative – 3 minutes
3) Negative first rebuttal – 7 minutes
4) Cross examination period where the Affirmative questions the Negative – 3 minutes
5) Affirmative first rebuttal – 4 minutes
6) Negative second rebuttal – 6 minutes
7) Affirmative second rebuttal – 3 minutes
At this point in time the students are beginning to learn speech structure as well as practicing to give a proper Lincoln-Douglas debate style speech. In the coming months I will be updating with occasional articles as to how the program is doing and how the students development in reference to debate skill is coming.