As a student debater, I learned the important disciplines of research, critical thinking, and persuasion, and I have applied them throughout my career - Michael J. Critelli
Our Solution: create communities of debate
ALOUD is the difference maker for new debate communities between success and failure. Debate communities require local organizers to navigate event administration (tournaments, orientation), creating structures (legal & tax filings, board recruitment) and tackling the project (staffing, space). ALOUD supports the local organizers in each of those objectives if desired as well as fill gaps with marketing, public relations, funding strategies and management structures. We gather stakeholders at the table around common themes so the project can successfully navigate the government, business and nonprofit landscape in the region. By bringing the expertise of our 45-member national partner network, we provide invaulable insights and technical assistance at each phase of the operation customized to meet the local organizers' needs.
Debate is highly flexible. Students, administrators and educators can choose topics, formats and competitive structures that match their pedagogical objectives and incorporate the approaches of our other youth expression partners as well. ALOUD’s programs can be deployed incrementally, starting with one class or school and then spreading debate throughout a district or with a full-scale pilot for 100-500 students. ALOUD's programs appeal not only to those who like competition but also to young people who wish to become change agents in their communities and use their voice to make a difference. The result is an integrated debate learning system that positions ALOUD as the national model of debate services for at-risk communities.
ALOUD's robust, three-pronged research-based methodology operates throughout the network. Partners work tirelessly to ensure that disenfranchised students are given educational opportunities in three settings: competitions, classrooms, and communities. We couple the traditional competitive debate model with debates in the community and in the classroom. These competitive activities are supplemented with college access programs, leadership instruction and community debates on lofty issues ranging from Iraq to AIDS.
Not only do non-debaters from the schools participate, these debates involve experts in the field, the general public and take place in non-traditional venues like shopping malls, religious establishments and prisons. With expert guidance, participants bring those experiences back into the classroom with face-to-face as well as webcast curricular debates that marry technology with the interactive debate format to connect students in Austin, Texas to kids in Moscow, New York and Hong Kong.These proven methods help students become lifelong learners and bridge the school readiness gap.
A University of Missouri study concluded that debaters increase their literacy by up to 25% more than non-debaters in a single year.