Online Apprehension For Speech and Debate? By: Stacy Edmond

The concept of online speech & debate clubs, classes and tournaments, were, not too long ago, just about unheard of. Now, they are our new reality. Until recently, I was one of the many that thought the whole notion of any of our beloved speech & debate activities being done online, absolutely absurd and totally impossible. Boy, was I wrong…

After being given the honor, and gift, to judge an online debate round for Lasting Impact!, I was quite frankly surprised at how organized, smooth, and well, “doable” the whole thing was! I completed my experience with a resounding, “Wow, I just learned a whole lot!”

Since that experience, I have audited several LD debate summer classes on zoom and guess what? They were awesome too! Terrific communication was happening via video and chat and it presented an awesome way to connect with students all over the US, not just in our local area. Something that wouldn’t happen in a normal speech & debate season unless you made it to Nationals, or could afford to travel. But there in a virtual setting, I watched students discuss, question and debate one another in practice rounds, that wouldn’t otherwise have had that opportunity.

When learning a new concept, there is always that initial period of doubt; of questioning oneself and the process. Will this work? Can I do this? I’ve never done this before, and it feels…weird. Well, let me tell you, if you are feeling this way, you are certainly not alone. While some may embrace the whole digital communication and competition platform, many more, like I did, are shaking their heads in doubt. Sure, it is new, but therein lies the challenge! Just think how quickly you embraced cell phones, texting, social media and the like. There was the learning curve and then, wham! You got it! The same thing can happen here! Attitude is everything! If you think you can, you will! We all remember the story of “The Little Engine That
Could”, right? Conversely, if you determine it can’t be done, won’t be fun or you don’t want to even try, then you will be missing out on a great opportunity to learn, grow and embrace a new life skill that you’ll be able to employ throughout your life in the advancing digital age we are living in.

Online learning, meeting, speaking, debating and socializing is our reality right now and more than likely will remain so in some fashion going forward. Change can be good! Similarly, growing and learning are certainly a necessity in life. Just remember how you felt the first time you had to get up in front of a group and speak, ride a bike, or drive a car! You got in there and did it and learned a valuable life skill! Online clubs, classes & tournaments are here! We all need to face the challenge, learn, grow and look for all the opportunities this new platform presents. Thanks to Lasting Impact! there will be many!

Check out the newly launched, Lasting Impact! Fall Circuit sponsored by DFW Speech and Debate. Registration is going on until Labor Day! Go to This is an opportunity to build your cases through the fall, in a online tournament-like environment. Not ready to tackle an online tournament? Join one of the many online club or classes offered through Lasting Impact! Grow, engage, and connect as an online community. Check out the SHOP for all our online options.