All things considered, competing in debate was one of the highlights of my high school and college experience. Sparring intellectually was only part of it. The most helpful part, however, was learning to read, analyze, and persuade people through written or verbal mediums. As Jordan Peterson says,
“If you can think, and speak, and write, you’re absolutely deadly”
But Ethos isn’t here to just teach people to think and speak (and write). We are here to teach students of rhetoric, how to use debate to ascend to a higher medium of persuasion. What does that mean? Well after you graduate from debate in high school or college, there really aren’t recreational debate leagues for amateurs. Unlike other sports, where you can just google a local rec league, debate stops abruptly. How do we translate debate into REAL mature communication tactics that are helpful to everyday life? Ethos bridges that gap, by teaching students real-world communication tactics, that also help win debate rounds. Big things like thought-organization and logical structure, and little things like eye contact and non-verbals.
That said – what does this method look like in the real world?
Sir Ken Robinson once gave a talk called “Changing Education Paradigms” While its audio-only, he exhibits all the tenants that Ethos teaches: organization, humor, instruction, examples/evidence, etc. This talk is the most watched TED talk today.
His talk is more than just a good speech, its a masterful exposition on the public education system in America. I would heavily recommend flowing it as practice and looking over or researching his most salient points.
This video has been around for a while, so if you have already seen it, take a second to rewatch it. If you have not, then enjoy!