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  • CVCU

Speech and Debate Skills

By Griffith William Vertican, Esq.

CVCU Board Member

This fall, The Academy at CVCU will be launching our first speech and debate team! Teams compete at the national level, and we will offer weekly training as one of our elective course offerings for ages 11 and up. Below are some thoughts from Coach Griffith about the invaluable life skills students gain from participating in speech and debate. Do you know what the most underrated skill gained from speech and debate is? The skill is not one that likely jumps to the top of your mind. Yes, speech and debate is great for developing critical thinking, vocabulary, public speaking, advanced nonverbal, interpersonal communication, research, leadership, and problem-solving skills, however, there is one more - let’s call it skill nine - that is absolutely worth highlighting… [Insert drum roll here]… self-awareness. Yesterday, I came across a fantastic article “Harvard-trained neuroscientist: The ‘most underrated’ skill successful people use at work—and how to develop it” (Monday's top-ranked article on CNBC), which highlighted just how important developing your self-awareness is. According to new neuroscience research, developing your self-awareness is critical for learning techniques to maximize your natural strengths and mitigate unknown weaknesses. “Research suggests that developing self-awareness helps us to be more creative, make sounder decisions, communicate better and build stronger relationships.” The author further points out that honing your self-awareness skill is linked directly to your opportunity for success, as it will enable you to improve how others see you, help you to determine what career path you should pursue, and who would make a great complementary partner among other important insights. How to improve? The article suggests that getting intentional feedback from colleagues and friends is one of the most important ways to improve your self-awareness. This is where speech and debate comes in, as no other activity I know of will provide you with this kind of in-depth and insightful feedback. At competitions, judges provide constructive feedback on virtually everything you may be unaware of — everything from the quality of your argument to the quality of your posture, from how well your shoes match your outfit to how many times you say the word “um” in a five-minute speech (I think I’ve counted 27+ before!). The reality is we all have blind spots and room for improvement, which is why we need to be open and intentional about having others come alongside us and “speak the truth in love” (see James 5:16). Constructive feedback is just that, constructive, especially for our self-awareness to improve. So how does NIHD Camp uniquely improve your self-awareness? I am so glad you asked! :P NIHD Camp is designed to provide just this sort of self-awareness feedback but on a whole new level in at least 5 ways:

  1. For brand new students, we patiently walk you through the process of how to give their first speech while giving them feedback and encouragement every step of the way.

  2. For experienced students, we teach you how to make your arguments more persuasive (i.e. my original 3 Pillars of Debate) and offer advanced classes you will not hear anywhere else (i.e. Master Class on CX - see below 3 Unique Advantages).

  3. For parents/coaches, we offer specific classes just for you where we teach you how to provide better feedback and drills/games for helping your child develop specific skills.

  4. For all students, our camp competition rounds provide immediate oral feedback, where we help you identify weaknesses so you can adjust your strategy in real-time in between rounds.

  5. Finally, everyone benefits from our small group model and camper-staff mentorship. At NIHD we are very selective of who we hire for mentors/lab leaders, as we are intentional about providing leadership that will encourage your spiritual growth (see 3 Unique Advantages below) and develop specific strategies and skills all in a small group setting.

In sum, developing your self-awareness is a game changer and the 16th Annual NIHD Speech and Debate camp is the perfect place to do just that. So don't let cost or distance (we provide airport shuttles) keep you from what is sure to be the best and most productive week of the summer! God willing, as we all grow in our self-awareness, we will increase our impact for his kingdom. To register for Coach Griffith's camp, click here. Click here to register for The Academy Speech and Debate electives.

We look forward to seeing you at our July 22 RFRSH Conference! RSVP here!


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