Speech and Debate India – a life-changing Journey backed by Research, with fun courses and thrilling competitive events, is advancing online academic and life skills training by launching the first-of-its-kind Debate Academy, taught exclusively by U.S. instructors.
The academy aims to nurture the careers, balanced leadership development, and holistic personality growth for students in Grades 1-12 from top international and other schools across India. Moreover, it offers a real-world approach, using games and challenges in courses such as Global Leadership 2.0 to engage in debate drills and practices, while gradually imparting theory and encouraging self-reflection, discussions, and articulation of evidence-based reasoning.
The formation of the U.S. research-backed Debate Academy prepares students to advance academics, 21st-century life skills, and engage socially with rigorous training at a formative age to advance their holistic learning, supplementing the traditional educational curriculum in IB, IGCSE, CBSE, ICSE, and other boards. The interdisciplinary debate courses will dive deep into each engaging topic areas such as Current Events, Global Leadership, Climate Change, Technology & AI, Entrepreneurship, Arts, Cognitive Psychology, College Admissions, and more. Kids are challenged to evaluate evidence from multiple perspectives beyond their personal opinions to develop an appreciation for alternative viewpoints grounded in research.
Speech and Debate India recently also concluded the National Debate Tournament, on Reimagining Our Global K-12 Education System, for students across Elementary, Middle, and High School Divisions. It featured India’s top two teams, advancing by competing in an unprecedented 20 rounds of competitive debates with eliminations in each of 4 prior weekends among students from top schools nationally. Winners were honoured with Speech and Debate India’s 2020 National Championship along with awards like the Best Researcher, Most Creative, Best Cross-Examination, and Team Collaboration to celebrate Indian students from Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Dubai, Hyderabad, Indore, London, Mumbai, New York, and others.
The Debate Academy is the brainchild of noted two-year consecutive U.S. State Debate Champion in the late 1980s, Stanford University and Goldman Sachs alumnus, and the Founder of Speech and Debate India, Mr Rajiv Kacholia. Post announcing the Debate Academy launch, Mr Kacholia highlighted, “The National Debate Tournament demonstrated how we empower our students with exciting games and challenges to enhance creativity and collaboration through rigorous analysis and discussion. Courses in the Debate Academy are designed to bring together some of India’s brightest kids and inspire these gifted children to expand how they think critically about topics beyond their grade level. Students can gradually gain the confidence and tools to express their thoughts systematically, starting with smaller groups where they assimilate quickly, collaborating with teammates.”
U.S. debate is a highly rigorous and research-intensive format where students develop creative solutions for real-world political, business, and societal issues, rather than theoretical or procedural arguments. U.S. debate has been proven over the past century to attract and develop many of the sharpest minds to foster balanced leadership, and no other supplementary activity has the extent of research supporting its academic, college admissions, and life skills benefits. Alumni of U.S. speech and debate include successful entrepreneurs Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Ted Turner (CNN), Oprah Winfrey (Oprah Network); entertainment celebrities Brad Pitt, Stephen Colbert, Bruce Springsteen, Adam Sandler; and U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton.
Mr Kacholia has developed a unique pedagogy to teach students important content through interactive discussions while advancing their debate and life skills using supportive drills and debate practices. The academy includes six divisions – Grades 1-2: YE (Young Explorers), Grade 3: JES (Junior Elementary School), Grades 4-5: ES (Elementary School), Grade 6: JMS (Junior MS) or MS (Middle School), Grades 7-8: MS (Middle School) and Grades 9-12: HS (High School)
Further explaining the design of the Debate Academy and its benefits, Mr Kacholia added, “We are at an inflection point in how to deliver globally proven pedagogical advances to bring together talented children across the country for rigorous competitions online while collaborating and learning together. Our approach is very different than traditional courses in public speaking and elocution. This is not an elocution class. We don’t memorize speeches or use dramatics. Our format of debate augments the toughest and is designed to extend gifted children with skills needed for adaptability and success in our rapidly evolving 21st century.”
Research indicates that students in U.S. debate become more efficient in processing information, advancing writing and reading levels, raising standardized test scores, and traditional school work like submitting papers and taking exams becomes easier.