Speech & Debate
Contact Info

Speech & Debate Director:
Jana Riggins

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Department Phone:
512-471-5883

Department Fax:
512-232-1499

State Champions

Speech & Debate

UIL Speech and Debate

Debate is the League’s longest-running contest, dating back to 1910. A small group of debate coaches met in Abilene and enthusiastically began an interscholastic forensic program to motivate their students and provide them with a practical application for the skills they were developing. It was then that UIL was born. Ten teams representing ten divisions of the state competed in the first state tournament. Over one hundred years later, the UIL Cross-Examination Policy Debate State Meet is celebrated as the largest high school debate tournament in the nation.

At the first state meet, educators voted to add declamation as a state-qualifying contest. Since that time, the League has expanded speaking competition to include two debate contests, two public speaking contests and two oral performance contests and congress. Thousands of students from across the state of Texas compete each year in Cross-Examination Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Congress, Extemporaneous Informative Speaking, Extemporaneous Persuasive Speaking, Prose Interpretation and Poetry Interpretation.

Speech and Debate: Opportunity Should be Provided for All Students

by Mellessa Denny - Oct. 26, 2017 (UIL Coach, Amarillo HS)

Mellessa Denny

Debate is an essential opportunity that should be provided to all students. Studies and professional opinions touting the benefits of participation in speech and debate, also known as forensics, are easily found. Students develop skills in research, critical thinking, organization, persuasion and communication.

Speech and debate students see tangible benefits from participation while in school – confidence in speaking situations, spontaneity in interviews, improved writing in other courses, diverse perspectives. These skills also benefit the student after high school.

The above argument is formatted using a model developed by Stephen Toulmin, British author and philosopher. Speech and debate students learn this format for argumentation and employ it in competition. The model includes four traditional components: claim, data, warrant and backing, with a disputed claim or more complex argument also including a counterargument and rebuttal.

Students learn that the claim is the premise being argued. Data is evidence used to support the claim. Warrants tie the data to the claim, while backing provides additional logic and reasoning. In the same way, speech and debate students utilize the components of the Toulmin model to convince a judge to vote for them in a round, the following employs those same components to convince you to incorporate speech and debate programs in your schools.

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Speech & Debate News & Updates

August 18, 2017
Fall 2017 LD Debate Topic now posted
April 11, 2017

LD Paradigms now posted - 5/12/17

Latest Speech Articles from The Leaguer

UNIVERSITY INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE
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