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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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Alum visits from Afghanistan

Tonight's debate meeting had a special guest - Zia who graduated two years ago stopped by during his vacation to meet new team members and catch up with the old ones. Zia currently works for the U.S. Government in Afghanistan as a linguist, and he explained to the team how debate has helped him in his work.

The students were interested to hear about his work and the conditions in Afghanistan and how debate can help in any career. It was a great example of how debate participation sneaks up on you and helps you in your daily life in ways you might not be able to imagine.

If you are an alumn of St. John's University debate, let us know when you are in town and you can stop by the Debate Dojo and share a few words with the current team. You are always welcome!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Student Recruitment

Student Engagement Fair from Steve Llano on Vimeo.
A short look at STJ Debate's activities at the 2012 Student Engagement fair on campus.

The St. John's University Debate Society does not rely on external recruitment nor does it have access to scholarships at the college or university level.

We offer the debate team as an academic program that any student can join. One of our most important events of the year is the Student Engagement Fair, where current team members reach out to new students during an event on the Great Lawn. It's a great time to put those persuasion skills to work!

This short video shows some, but not all, of what happens there!

Novice Debater Training Begins!

This year we have decided to implement special training for novice debaters at St. John's University. This is the first of many student led sessions covering a skill that is essential for success in debating.

STJ Debate Society New Debater Training: How to Speak with Attitude and Grace from Steve Llano on Vimeo.
This is a training video for new debaters at St. John's University in New York.

Here Misbah explains how to speak effectively in debates. It lasts about 10 minutes.

This video is about public speaking. There will be more to follow in additional posts.  We expect to have at least 20 new members join us this year!
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