Speech and debate: Making a difference for students
No matter a student’s planned career field, effective communication skills are crucial. Speech and debate prepares students for college, careers and life. The South Carolina Forensic Coaches Association believes that the skills learned through forensics — speech and debate — offer lifelong benefits to students.
Today, it’s more crucial than ever that teens develop the skills to speak in front of an audience as well as learn to think critically, explore all sides of an issue and formulate evidence-based points of view. Beyond the improvements in their academic performance that prepare them to excel in college, speech and debate students change in ways that influence every aspect of their lives. It gives them the social and academic confidence they need to grow as individuals, achieve educational goals, pursue meaningful work, and improve the lives of others — and our world.
Speech and debate helps students:
- Improve reading, listening, speaking and writing skills
- Develop critical-thinking skills and intellectual curiosity
- Increase engagement with other students
- Excel academically and personally
The goal of the South Carolina Forensic Coaches Association is to provide the opportunities of speech and debate to as many students as possible. The association acts as a resource to member schools, recruits new member schools and helps coordinate and schedule state tournaments.
Consider the people who got their start as student members of the National Forensic League: Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito; media visionaries Oprah Winfrey and Ted Turner; actors Brad Pitt and Renee Zellweger; and TV personalities Stephen Colbert and Tom Lennon.
More than just debate
In South Carolina, there are basically two types of competition: individual events and debate. Students often choose to participate in one or the other, though there is no reason they cannot do both.
Individual Events is a type of speech competition characterized by individuals competing in a variety of different events. These events span the areas of public speaking, acting, reading and interpretation. Individual Events is often referred to as IE.
Debate is a type of competition in which students debate pre-defined topics. In South Carolina, Debate competition generally includes Public Forum Debate, Congressional Debate and Lincoln Douglas Debate.