Debate tournaments move online

Debate has always been a face-to-face activity with a team from one school going against the other. Due to the coronavirus debate has been changed to 100 percent online. All debate tournaments will be online with each team staying at there school to complete the tournament.

“Debates not a typical class because the topic is different every year,” debate teacher and coach Tim Laner said. “It’s good to teach students to see both sides to a story instead of teaching them to be one-sided.”

With debate typically being in an in-person format, it will be a chance to see how students can adapt to the new way of debating. Reading and understanding your opponent’s weaknesses and strengths is why it is crucial, but being online could change how kids read their opponent’s body language, mood. 

“It’s going to be hard not to have the opponent in the room, and the flow may be gone. You’re going to miss a lot of action and body language that takes place in a typical debate round, ” Laner said.

Debate is a time-consuming activity, especially tournaments. A typical tournament a team has five rounds with each round lasting an hour. By debating at your own school not being with any other schools could lead to problems with times, internet, and the overall pace of the tournament.

“Traveling was stressful because getting ready for a debate tournament early in the morning on a bus can be difficult,” junior debate student Chance Kohls said.

Having most of the normal debate format changed can take away or change some of the main parts of a debate round like face-to-face interaction, and questioning your opponent. Judging is based on which team presented and defended their side the best. Judging could also be a challenge to not be able to see both teams in-person debate.

“Judging could definitely be a challenge with not being able to see them in an in-person round could be difficult for the judge to make to pick a team over the other,” said Laner.“I think it is going to be interesting to see how the season plays out especially with it being so new to everyone.”