November 19, 2013
RMC students traveled to Cheif Dullknife College in November to run workshops in
Professor Kate Bertin's class. Director, Shelby Jo Long-Hammond, was unable to attend the workshop but three founding members of this grant program attended the workshop session. The workshop sessions included a more advanced approach to argumentation because they were working with a class that had a debate assignment. The workshops included persuasive advocacy, case building, refutation and research.
RMC Student and Tribal College Debate Grant assistant Toryn Rogers reaction to the workshop:
I was probably equal parts apprehensive and excited going back to Lame Deer, because while we had a better idea of what did and didn't work well as far as teaching methods, we were still going to be trying out new ideas for the lessons. Not only that, but we also would be conducting our first solo workshops since Shelby couldn't afford to cancel her classes. In the end, it was not such a big deal, since both classes we taught were fairly small.
" Despite the size of the groups, it proved to be a very productive session. Both groups responded well to the somewhat-improvised lessons we delivered. While quiet at first, they gradually opened up as things went along and had very interesting discussions. The first session in particular asked interesting questions and had a good grasp of the different kinds of evidence one could use to support an argument, especially when it came to examples and testimony. The second group expressed some interest in doing more – not necessarily through the grant, but through Chief Dull Knife Community College, such as starting a debate club or team, having more regular meetings, etc. Overall, I felt that it was a good thing that we decided to go ahead and conduct the workshops despite schedules not lining up as ideally as we would've liked. The desire to continue the program and possibly expand from multiple schools is a particularly good sign for the grant's future."
RMC Student and Trainer Holly Todd's reaction to the workshop:
"We only taught a few classes on this day. Our first class was responsive and fun to teach. They appeared to enjoy our lessons and they were active in participating. They seemed similar to many of the other classes we have taught.
The second class was unique. The class was comprised of about eight students, three of which had been in the previous class. Due to the size and content of the class, we tried a new approach to our lesson. The class was normally Business Law, so we each incorporated how law and debate work together into our lectures. The class was not as far into the textbook as we had hoped, though. One high point of the class was when the class started a drill about the legitimacy of puffery. The size of the class did not permit the normal debate drills to happen so we tried something new after our lectures: a small question and answer began between the class and ourselves on debate programs and how to start one. This session was fun because we got to know some of the students better and we experienced first-hand that our lectures were getting people interested in debate."