Over the last three decades, the Greenhill Debate Team has amassed a level of success on the state, regional, and national levels that is virtually unparalleled.
Under the steadfast leadership of Aaron Timmons, Jr. (Director of Debate) and Dr. Allie Chase (Associate Director of Debate), the program continues to grow and even surpass the accomplishments of previous seasons.
“Speech and debate challenge the way students think. It gives them skills that they will use throughout their lives: critical thinking, critical listening, researching both sides of an argument, distilling information quickly, collaboration, teamwork, and public speaking. These skills are essential for members of an increasingly polarized, global, and interconnected world," said Timmons.

If you are interested in learning more about our Debate program, please contact Aaron Timmons.
Left to right: Rodrigo Paramo (MS/US Debate Coach), Aaron Timmons, Jr. (Director of Debate), and Allie Chase, Ph.D. (Associate Debate & Speech Coach)


Frequently Asked Questions

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What courses are offered in Speech & Debate?

    Communication in the 21st Century - 6th Grade (Semester 1, 2)
    The one quarter course for middle school students is designed to develop and enhance student’s oral communication skills. The course serves as an introduction and overview of the variety of communication methods used in the 21st century. Emphasis is on basic communication processes, listening skills, delivery techniques, organization and research techniques, utilization of technology, media evaluation and public speaking. A variety of technological skills will be developed and utilized to enhance student presentation skills. The course's goals include fostering confidence, poise, and self-esteem, and enhancing critical thinking.
    Introduction to Debate - 7th and 8th (Semester 1, 2)
    This one semester course for 7th and/or 8th grade middle school students is designed to allow students to develop, and demonstrate, proficiency in research, refutation, best practices in the construction of arguments, analyzing effective modes of persuasion, and group work necessary to succeed in debating. The course will examine Lincoln Douglas Debate, Policy Debate and World Schools Debate. This course does not have a prerequisite and may be taken by any 7th or 8th grade student. The first month of the course will be spent learning the basics of all three formats of debate. If students have a preferred format, instructor/instructors will work with them primarily in that format.
    Debate II - 7th and 8th (Semester 1, 2)
    This class is for students who are seriously considering Debate as an option in Upper School. We engage in a quick paced examination of competitive debate and focus on issues such as topic analysis, delivery, organization, research, and debates in class on a variety of issues. We focus on both team debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate formats in class. The goal is also to have a year-end in-class tournament and potential local area competitions.
    Advanced Debate - 7th or 8th - (Semester 1, 2)
    After completing this course, students will be comfortable with all dimensions of competitive debate. Building on the foundation established in the Debate I and/or Debate II course(s), this class will emphasize participation in formal debates and will require participation in at least one tournament (there are 4 to 5 tournament opportunities during the semester). This course will review the basics and introduce advanced forms of argumentation, research, evidence comparison, cost-benefit analysis, note-taking, audience adaptation and best practices in contemporary Debate theory. Students will focus on either Lincoln Douglas Debate, Policy Debate, or World Schools Debate. While debate is competitive in nature, students will never be graded on wins or losses. Grades will be earned based on student research, class participation, argument development, and the collaborative work done to create and prepare cases to put themselves in the best position to excel competitively in extra/co-curricular tournaments. Prerequisites for this class include taking Debate I and II. With permission of the Debate instructors, take Advanced Debate after taking either Debate 1 or Debate 2.

    Introduction to Debate - (Semester 1, 2)
    Introduction to Debate is a one-semester entry level course for students who are new to Greenhill School, have limited Middle School debating experience, or have never debated before. This course surveys the formats of Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Policy Debate, and World Schools Debate over the semester. Students learn portable skills such as best practices in public speaking and critical thinking; learning to develop, defend, and respond to well-reasoned arguments; enhanced research skills; and collaboration and teamwork. Together these skills build a foundation for effective argumentation and advocacy, vital skills needed in an ever-changing world. Students should take this course in the first semester as the curriculum in the second semester builds on the concepts learned in the first semester. Students are encouraged to compete in interscholastic competitions throughout the Metroplex. Most students in this class are 9th graders, but any student who chooses to explore Debate could enroll in the class.
    Intermediate Debate - (Semester 1, 2)
    This course builds upon the principles of Introduction to Debate by emphasizing the research component of argumentation, in addition to building on skills such as effective writing of arguments as well as enhancing the most effective delivery techniques to persuade audiences and judges in interscholastic competitions. Students who complete Introduction to Debate and/or have written permission from the debate staff may take this course. Students in this class can focus on any of the formats of Debate in which Greenhill competes. Students in Intermediate Debate must attend at least three interscholastic competitions per semester. 
    Advanced Debate: Policy (Semester 1, 2)
    This course, intended for students active in interscholastic competition, covers advanced concepts in Policy Debate. Each year the course material changes to correspond to the National High School Debate Resolution. This course may be repeated for credit.
    Advanced Debate: Lincoln-Douglas Debate (Semester 1, 2)
    This course is intended for students active in competing at high levels of Lincoln Douglas debate – it will cover advanced concepts in Lincoln Douglas debate including moral and political philosophy, critical theory, public policy, and content knowledge relating to the 5 Lincoln Douglas topics that are debated each school year. The course may be repeated for credit. The minimum participation requirement for successful completion of this course is four tournaments per semester.
    Advanced Debate: World Schools Debate (Semester 1, 2)
    This course examines the practice of contemporary World Schools Debate by engaging in a study of the topics related to many of the major societal issues of the day. The course introduces students to argumentation, persuasion theory, research, and strategy necessary to participate in interscholastic debate. The course may be repeated for credit. The minimum participation requirement for successful completion of this course is three tournaments per semester. Students of all grade levels may take this course with the approval of the Director of Debate.
    Tutorial in Advanced Forensics (Semester 1, 2)
    One-semester tutorials are available to advanced debate and forensic students in the Upper School. Topics are to be jointly proposed in writing by the student and instructor and must be approved by the Director of Debate and the Head of the Upper School.
  • Q. Are the classes during the school day or after school?

    All Debate courses are offered during the school day. Students wishing to compete as a part of the team must take a Debate course.
  • Q. Do students need experience to be in the Introduction to Debate class?

    No! We encourage all students to try Debate regardless of previous experience. Any student coming from another school that has prior experience should discuss with Mr. Timmons, Dr. Chase, or Mr. Paramo which course would be best suited to their experience level.
  • Q. Should a rising ninth grader wait until later in their Upper School career to take Debate or should they try in the first semester of Upper School?

    While possible, we highly discourage that option.
    Debate, like many other activities, requires repetition and if a student begins in the second semester, they will be behind other students in content, in addition to tournament opportunities. If beginning in the second semester is something that cannot be avoided, we welcome all who want to enroll.
  • Q. When should students take each debate course?

    Taking Introduction to Debate in the first semester is STRONGLY preferred. In the second semester, we build on material learned in the first semester. If starting in the second semester is the only viable option, we will allow it, but it is not the preferable option.

    Intermediate Debate is a course designed for a student's second year in Policy Debate most typically. First-year students are only allowed to jump to Intermediate or Advanced Debate with the approval of the Director of Debate.
  • Q. I am interested in Debate, yet I have no clue in suggesting which course to take. What should I do?

    Those students/families should speak with Mr. Timmons, Dr. Chase, or Mr. Paramo to have a discussion on the format of Debate that works best for them based on interest, learning styles, debating alone or with partners, etc.
  • Q. Are students required to compete in tournaments if they are in the class?

    They are encouraged, although not required, to compete in the Introduction to Debate class. Students in any other class are required to compete. Any student signed up for an Advanced course (Advanced: Lincoln Douglas, Advanced: Policy, Advanced: World Schools, Advanced: Tutorial in Forensics).
  • Q. Can a student do sports, Band/Orchestra/Choir, robotics, etc, and Debate at the same time?

    Yes. While it does require communication between all parties (families, students, and coaches), we have had students compete in Speech and Debate and a variety of activities. Students and families should be realistic about the time commitment required to excel in multiple activities, but students have done it for decades.

Debate Styles

List of 3 items.

  • + Lincoln Douglas Debate

    This style of debating features one person on each side. Propositions of value are debated with the emphasis on developing logical argumentation. Students will learn values analysis, argumentation skills, sound and ethical uses of persuasion, and clear audience centered communication. Students will have the opportunity to debate several topics during the school year.
  • + Policy Debate

    The Policy topic shall be the current national question. Each student and their partner will debate both sides of an interesting and controversial proposition for the entire season, which includes constructive argument, cross examination, and refutation. Skills students will learn include research, policy analysis, case construction, refutation, questioning, organization, and communication.
  • + World Schools Debate

    World Schools Debating Championship debates use a special format known as "World Schools Style Debating." This is a combination of the British Parliamentary and Australian formats. Each debate comprises a total of eight speeches delivered by two three-member teams (the Proposition and the Opposition). Each speaker delivers an eight-minute speech; then both teams deliver a "reply speech" lasting four minutes, with the last word being reserved for the Proposition. Between the end of the first and the beginning of the last minute of an eight-minute speech, the opposing party may offer "points of information." The speaker may refuse these but should take at least one or two points during his or her speech.

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