FAQ: About Us

FAQ: About Our Program

Our mission is to provide a deeper learning experience for every student – helping students build 21st Century Skills, which include Creative/Critical Thinking, Clear/Confident Communication,  Respectful Collaboration, and Civic Involvement. Our goal is to promote the development of self-motivated, self-confident, problem solvers who think critically and express their ideas clearly, effectively, and with respect. We believe that debate education serves as an excellent way to create a solid foundation for future success.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions


21st Century Debate Institution serves students of all age groups – including young adults.

K-12 students receive access to Online training and events as well as special in-person events related to debate, model united nations, and other after-school clubs, activities, and contests.

K-3: These courses are still in development and will function more like a “book club,” yet debate education is a core component of any such club. Students read books, write reports, speak in small groups (and to the class), and debate certain elements of the reading…

For example, if the book has a character making a difficult choice, or has a difficult relationship, the teacher will invite problem-solving discussions and debates about some of the various choices.

3*-6 (Elementary): In some school districts, grade 6 students are still attending elementary school, in some districts a grade 6 student is starting middle school. The elementary debate classes will discuss topics that are appropriate for younger students, and critical/creative problem-solving will be a significant component of their classes. We will work on building stronger skills in research, organization, delivery, speaking (voice), and respectful engagement (arguing with both purpose and respect for others). We build self-confidence by learning to meet/exceed expectations in public speaking and debate.

*Most third graders have done well in elementary debate classes – any third grader who would like to try a debate class is invited to do so. Parents should check with the instructor prior to the start of the debate course.

6-8 (Middle School): In some school districts, grade 6 students are still in elementary schools, yet in many places including the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grade 6 is the first year of middle school. The middle school debate class also works toward building even stronger skills in research, organization, delivery, public speaking, and respectful engagement (arguing effectively with mindfulness of the need to respect others). We continue to build self-confidence by learning to exceed the expectations of others in public speaking and debate. We work toward becoming self-sufficient and self-confident problem solvers (encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning). In addition to participating in debates, students are encouraged to mentor others (peers and elementary learners) … this leads to formalized volunteerism opportunities with certificates for service, end-of-year recognition, and awards (possibly scholarships).

9-12 (High School): In our debate classes, we may at times mix older middle school students with younger high school students – particularly when it is an advanced debate class where experience matters more than age. The high school debate class works toward building strong research skills, logical organization and development, delivery skills (in-class and presentations), public speaking, and respectful/civil engagement and activism (arguing passionately with an open mind to listen/respect opposing points of view – open to change yet possessing a strong voice that is heard and respected). We work to exceed expectations and make significant strides toward becoming effective, self-sufficient, and self-confident problem solvers who communicate ideas clearly and convincingly. In addition to participating in debates, students are encouraged to mentor others (peers, middle school, and elementary learners) … this leads to formalized volunteerism with certificates for resumes and college applications, end-of-year recognition/awards, and potential scholarship opportunities.

21st Century Debate provides online learning, online (and in-person) activities, and community events. We apply deeper learning concepts through our debate education to help students develop the 21st Century Skills that are essential to future success. Our pedagogy encourages students to take ownership of their learning and coaches/supports them in their educational pursuits.

We create top-quality learning materials from industry-leading experts. Our debate education is effective not only for competitive success in public speaking and debate contests, but it also prepares our students for success in college writing and engagement with professors and peers. We provide self-paced courses, and instructor-led courses, both utilizing videos, and text that will help them achieve potentially higher success in academics as well as lifelong skill development that has been proven to increase pathways to success beyond academic achievement.

We also provide free and purchasable research guides that will help students to prepare for upcoming contests.

Our classes run all year long. We work hard to provide fun and exciting learning opportunities as well as numerous online events for students to demonstrate their skills and stay motivated (we have a variety of debate formats available).

Online classes meet once a week for about an hour. Homework is self-paced and takes about 30 minutes (sometimes a little more) to complete. Some skills are taught via videos and written text and the student will practice and reinforce the skill building during class activities and debates. The instructor is available via the online learning platform and through email.

The FALL 2022 Session begins the week of October 10, 2022.

Each session lasts for between six to eight weeks (approximately 2 months): Six weeks of classes are followed by two weeks of workshops (optional, yet highly encouraged) and this leads to a one-day online debate contest. These contests are low-stress, and fun, and provide recognition in the form of certificates, medallions, and for some events, we provide nice-sized trophies for the top performers in team debating and recognition for individual speaking (top speaker awards).

Currently, classes are meeting weekly (Mon-Fri) at either 4:20 PM, or 5:35 PM. Each class meets for 70 minutes.

The Orientation Classes/Meetings begin the week of September 26, 2022.

Orientation Classes meet online using Zoom. These are similar to an “Open House” at school. Parents and students get to meet the teacher, learn about the class, and get their questions answered. These classes meet for 60 minutes, using the same schedule as the online classes (Mon-Fri, at 4:20pm or 5:35pm). There is no cost to attend, and students participate in debate activities at the end of the meeting (parents can stay to watch the activity if they wish).

No appointment is necessary for attending an orientation meeting. You can attend as many of these as you wish! 
Note: Please send an email to billeddy@21stCenturyDebate.org for the Zoom information (it’s also in the welcome letter).

Our training is located online at https://21stcenturydebate.org/.

Training We meet online on a weekly basis for 70 minutes per class. We also have self-paced learning opportunities.

Events: We will host a variety of seasonal debate events, which will include debate (in various formats), model united nations, mock legislature, and business leadership. Whenever possible, we invite industry leaders to serve as guest lecturers, judges, and keynote speakers to help students prepare and give special recognition for achievement and success.

Most events will be held online using Zoom. We are planning to host live, in-person debates as part of our end-of-year celebration. This is still in the very early stages of planning and development.

Previously Coach Bill and the volunteer staff had financial backing from a significant university in the Commonwealth of Kentucky sponsoring the program, which covered the salaries, paid for the program, and offered stipends to the teachers. In these early stages, our organization wants to make debate education affordable for everyone, yet we will need donations to cover our operational expenses. As part of the funding for our program, we ask parents to pay a modest fee for the classes being taught, the workshops, and the online events we are putting together for our students.

Here is the vision: Membership is free to anyone (student and non-student) who joins our community. Several of the self-paced courses, our material support, and even some of our events are free to members (free to join). So we want to create an immediate value for our members and give you reasons to want to stay connected with us. Most of our classes will cost around $29.95 (beginning), $39.95 (intermediate), and $49.95 (advanced) to attend the six-week online classes. It breaks down to around $5 per meeting for the beginning courses each session (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer). Satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

How we handle the payment: After the second class meeting, we will send you a link to pay via credit/debit card or ask you to use our online payment system. Our policy is to not store credit or location data on our servers in order to better protect our members’ privacy and for security purposes.

  1. Create an Account: After creating an account, please send us an email to let us know.
  2. Choose a Class: There will be links to take you to different locations containing class enrollment information).
  3. Enroll in the Class: There will be a form to fill out and after sending the form, you will be sent a follow-up email with the details.
  4. Sign/Return the Forms: There is a parent permission form as well as a code of conduct, which must be returned prior to the first day of class.
  5. Students Prepare: The ‘free’ and enrolled courses will appear on the student’s profile page. There will be homework that is due before the first meeting.

21st Century Debate Academy is dedicated to creating substantial pathways to success for all of our members. We hope to build a community of students, parents, and educators equally dedicated to helping each other succeed and giving back to our community. At 21st Century Debate, we believe that Deeper Learning is necessary for the development of essential life skills that will open doors and lead to a successful future. We also believe in the transformative power of debate to change lives – improved academics, the ability to use research and strong thinking to solve significant problems, and build powerful collaboration skills that lead to better relationships and stronger communities.

“We choose to [do this], not because it is easy, but because it is hard…” John F. Kennedy, President of the United States.

At times it may seem as if we are reaching for the moon, but we must help our children understand that the moon is within our grasp and what once was considered impossible and well beyond everything but our imagination, is now made real through hard work, study, and the willingness to believe in oneself and their ability.

Please click the following to create an account and join our debate community (thank you!): JOIN US TODAY.

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