Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More alumni visit the STJDS

Korey Pace came to visit recently, recruiting bright students to enter management positions at Macy's. Korey is a very active and very supportive debate society alumn. After spending the day recruiting for Macy's he dropped by the Rhetoric department table at the Major's Fair as well as a Public Speaking class to share his insights on how St. John's debate and his rhetoric degree have shaped his professional life. He then attended the debate practice and gave a criticism of the performances of the novice debaters. We can't wait for him to come back already!

Dr. Llano, Korey, and Department Chair Dr. Hostetler at the Major's Fair. 

You too can visit the Debate Society anytime you wish. Just let us know when you are planning to come. The students love an audience for debate practices, and your insights will help them improve their argumentation skills.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More Debate Alums visit our Tuesday Practice

George Fitzpatrick and Chris Joyce stopped by the Debate Dojo Tuesday night to meet some of the new members of the team. Chris is a graduate student here at St. John's, so he had to run off to class, while George, who works in the financial sector in Wall Street, chose to stay and offer a critique of the practice debate, which was about the recent New York City ban on large sized sodas.

If you are in the area and would like to stop by to visit the current debate team, don't hesitate! Our meetings are Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7PM in room 203 of St John Hall (we call it the Debate Dojo). If you would like more information, email the director of debate, Steve Llano.
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Monday, October 1, 2012

How Do We Prepare New Debaters?

St. John's University (New York)
St. John's University (New York) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Every semester, the St. John's University Debate Society attracts a wide variety of students from a number of different segments of the University. Preparing them all for tournaments is difficult, especially when you realize how the STJDS operates.

We have little to no requirements for meeting attendance - we find that the more flexible we are, the more students want to participate and the more frequently they come to meetings when they are able.

We also have a number of new students showing up at different points in the semester here and there. They come whenever they see one of our fliers or whenever they hear about us on campus.

So teaching everyone about debating is not something that we can just do once and be done with it. It's something we have to do over and over again -which is fine, since we love debate and love talking about debate.

The arrival of inexpensive digital video is something we are trying to take advantage of at the Debate Society. We have filmed a number of student led training sessions (although Dr. Llano does fill in on one) in order to have a collection of videos ready for those students who want a refresher, or who would rather study the concepts of debate on their own, in their dorm, or on their smartphone during their commute through Queens.

Here is a link to our collection of training videos. Please watch them! You will be very proud of what our current students are up to.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tournament Results

Binghamton, New York
Binghamton, New York (Photo credit: Dougtone)
Tournament results for St John's Debate are available online, but they might be difficult for you to read if you are unfamiliar with the Worlds or British Parliamentary format.

Here is a link to the most recent results, from Binghamton.  This should open a new web page that will give you various options to examine such as motions, team tab, speaker tab, and other statistics. You can examine these and see how STJ debate did in the competition.

If you need help understanding the tab, you can always contact the director of debate, Dr. Steve Llano for assistance in seeing how the team did.

If you would ever like to visit the team, come with us to a competition, or participate in some other way, please let us know!
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Peer Teaching at the STJ Debate Society

At the St. John's University Debate Society, we are big believers in the idea of peer teaching. Based on the work of Paulo Friere and others, the idea is that once the line between student and teacher is blurred, everyone has access to both positions. This activity was not authorized or assigned by the director of the program, but spontaneously emerged as an initiative of the students.

Why is peer education so valuable? One reason among many is that it helps students master difficult material, such as this lesson - how to select the best arguments in preparing for a debate. There is no right answer, but there are answers that are better strategically or better for the requirements of the form of competition. Here the student-teacher must work on her own ethos in order to convince the other students as to the quality of their own answers, as well as her own. This helps the teacher-students in the audience develop a paradigm of self-evaluation for their arguments in other spheres of their lives.

Another reason is that this is the only ethical teaching the University has to offer these days. In a situation like this, unique knowledge can be generated, as opposed to the transition model of education where nothing is generated, everything is spelled out and received, and all things feel dead. In teaching debate, and other subjects, a vibrant and living exchange is needed for students to gain what is most important out of any lesson - understanding that they can then apply to whatever issues come their way, according to the needs of the situation.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

STJ Debate Society Partners with NYC Urban Debate League

Graduate Student Tommye Weddington pictured on the far right facing the camera, directs the St. John's University Debate Society's partnership with the Urban Debate League in New York City. Every week, middle school and high school students from Queens come to campus, have pizza and soda, and learn a concept about debate and argumentation.  These students just finished their weekly session on counterplans, and are having a look at all the different counterplans that they invented.

St. John's University Debate Society serves as the only UDL outreach center in Queens. There is a debate outreach program in every borough, directed by the UDL. We are very excited to have these young people on our campus and in the Debate Dojo to learn about debate, how to argue, and how to be a better advocate for themselves and others.
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Binghamton Fall Opener 2012

Library tower, Fine arts, and more. This would...
Library tower, Fine arts, and more.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The STJ Debate Society competed at the SUNY Binghamton Fall Classic and Regional Opener this past weekend, bringing 17 students to the competition.

Students competed well, and our experienced teams ended on 10 points, which is too low to qualify for elimination debates.  One of our novice teams ended on 6 points, which is quite good for a first attempt.

The next debate competition for St. John's will be the University of Rochester tournament this next weekend in Rochester, NY.

Here are some photos from the competition, I hope you enjoy them!

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