As we move into the heart of the debate season over the next four months, the CDL administration would like to encourage all coaches to reach out to the Chicago Debate Commission programming staff to arrange for a site visit.
The CDC programming staff — Cydney Edwards, Chris Baron, and Les Lynn — has a great deal of experience coaching and teaching competitive debate. You can access it at no cost simply by contacting us. CDC site visits provide coaches with CDL and CMSDL professional development credit; help conduct what the CDC calls “program building” by providing instructional and coaching modeling and specific debate resources and strategies; and expand the capacity of a school’s coaching staff by bringing in debate experts to cover particular challenges or problems the coaches want to address.
We respond to every site visit request we receive, and we also do some pro-active outreach to schools to which we would like to make a site visit.
Here are our Top Ten Tips to coaches for taking full advantage of a CDC site visit:
- Schedule the visit at least several days in advance. You can do this by contacting anyone on the CDC programming staff. After-school visits are by far the most popular, but if you’re able to meet with students during the day that is a boon for us.
- Discuss with the CDC a specific agenda, and start that discussion with your ideas for objectives and agenda items. Take the agenda-setting stage of the site visit seriously. Planning here is important.
- Consult the CDL Debater Development Benchmarks for a guideline on the academic debate objectives that CDL debaters should be focused on.
- Get as many students to be present the site visit as possible by working on strong attendance in advance of the visit
- Be sure to be present yourself and active during the visit. Ask questions and take part as much as possible.
- Schedule the visit for as long as possible, but at a minimum 90 minutes. The labor of arranging for and then logistically carrying out the visit makes it sensible to get as much instructional time on site as possible.
- Confirm with the CDC person coming out on the morning of the visit.
- Avoid at all costs cancelling the visit at the last minute. There are of course unavoidable circumstances, but please know that last- minute cancellations block other site visits from happening at that date/time and are a real waste of resources and opportunities.
- Consider scheduling a 15 – 30 minute meeting with the CDC staff person one-on-one after the meeting with students to cover specific challenges and to problem-solve about administrative or organizational matters.
- Don’t hesitate to request repeat visits. We’ll let you know if we’re not able to perform additional visits.