Midlothian Independent School District


Heritage High School Debate

Heritage High School offers Debate 1-3 which is available to all grade levels.

The first year (Debate 1) is spent learning all the different forms of debate which are listed below.  This class focuses on basic argumentation, developing critical thinking, persuasion, and communication skills.

Debate 2 and 3 is for the students who wish to continue developing their speech and debate skills through competition.  Advanced strategies and techniques are taught to strengthen student abilities.


Policy Debate- A two-on-two debate that focuses on a policy question for the duration of the academic year, this format tests a student’s research, analytical, and delivery skills. Policy Debate involves the proposal of a plan by the affirmative team to enact a policy, while the negative team offers reasons to reject that proposal. Throughout the debate, students have the opportunity to cross-examine one another. A judge or panel of judges determines the winner based on the arguments presented.

Lincoln-Douglas debate (more commonly referred to as LD) is a competitive speaking activity that involves two debaters arguing for and against a resolution that is selected by the (National Speech and Debate Association) and voted on by coaches. Today, somewhat like the old debates, LD focuses on the conflicting values of social and philosophical issues, for example, by examining questions of morality, justice, democracy, etc. Typically, LD debates concern themselves with deciding whether or not certain actions, or states of affairs, are good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral.  The topic changes every two months.

Congressional Debate is a mock legislative assembly competition where students draft bills (proposed laws) and resolutions (position statements), which they and their peers later debate and vote to pass into law and then take action on by voting for or against the legislation. It is a chance for students to role-play congressmen and talk about a variety of issues important to making the nation better.

Public Forum Debate (PFD) is a team event that advocates or rejects a position posed by the monthly resolution topic (selected by the National Speech and Debate Association). The clash of ideas must be communicated in a manner persuasive to the non-specialist or “citizen judge.”

Extemporaneous speaking is a limited-preparation speech event based on research and original analysis. Extemporaneous speaking provides 30 minutes of preparation time, followed by a seven-minute speech. When preparation starts, speakers are offered three questions to answer based on current affairs, and topic areas generally include international and domestic policy, economic policy, and social or scientific issues.

Original Oratory- Students deliver a self-written, ten-minute speech on a topic of their choosing. Limited in their ability to quote words directly, competitors craft an argument using evidence, logic, and emotional appeals. Topics range widely and can be informative or persuasive in nature. The speech is delivered from memory.

Poetry Interpretation- Using a selection or selections of literature, students provide an oral interpretation of poetry. Poetry is characterized by writing that conveys ideas, experiences, and emotions through language and expression. Students may choose traditional poetry, often characterized by rhyme or rhythm, or nontraditional poetry, which often has a rhythmic flow but is not necessarily structured by formal meter (meter is a beat, pattern, or structure, such as iambic pentameter). This event is seven minutes, including an introduction.

Prose Interpretation-Using a short story, parts of a novel, or other published work of prose, students provide an oral interpretation of a selection of materials. Typically a single piece of literature, prose can be drawn from works of fiction or non-fiction. Prose corresponds to common speech patterns and may combine elements of narration and dialogue. This event is seven minutes, including an introduction.  

*All event descriptions are from NSDA.org