June 18, 2024
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RTMA Middle Schoolers Put Art of Debate Into Practice

They dressed up in suits and ties and paced the hallways during recess just prior to their scheduled debates, practicing their arguments. These RTMA middle school students had just culminated studying a month-long unit on “The Art of Public Speaking and Debate,” instructed by their engaging and innovative teacher, Miles Ehrenkranz, and were preparing to take the stage.

Students had learned tactics for effective, persuasive debate and were asked to choose topics about which to give an individual, expository public speech in front of their respective classes.

After the individual speeches were presented—graded on pitch, tone, inflection, projection and information—students had to select opposing views from popular debate topics, including, but not limited to, gun control, the effects of violence in video games, illegal immigration, healthcare, whether golf is a sport and, of course, are the Yankees or Mets the better team?

The winners of the debates were those students who most closely practiced what they had learned regarding public speaking, and adhered to the studied Ten Commandments of Rational Debate.

After the debates, students, both outgoing and more shy alike, expressed a sense of empowerment and invigoration and said that they look forward to more opportunities like this.

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