Welcome to Competitive Speech and Debate!  



 Competitive Speech and Debate Syllabus

Mrs. Donna Love

Speech & Debate Coach 

Louisa County High School – Room V10


(540) 894-5436 ext. 1128


Course Objectives:

Welcome to Speech and Debate class! We will study all competition events, including public speaking, oral interpretation of literature, and debate. The idea behind this course is not only to learn more about Speech, Interp, and Debate, as well as other areas of communication, but to develop effective research, writing, organizational and time-management skills.  You will also learn the best ways to work independently to achieve success in your events. 

The class is designed for students wishing to apply what they learn in a speech and debate course by providing the opportunity to compete against other Virginia high school students in performance events. 

 Students should learn the following from this class:

· How to think critically and make persuasive arguments

· How to research, using a wide variety of sources, and write cases and speeches

· How to improve organizational and note-taking skills

· How to improve time-management skills

· How to actively listen and engage in genuine dialogue and criticism

· How to cut and block stories, poetry and plays

· How to interpret an author’s intent and analyze characters

· How to prepare for performance and competition

· How to work independently toward deadlines

· Protocol, etiquette, and professionalism

· Healthy objectivity and competitive spirit

· And much, much more!!!!!

Course Design:

Argumentation and Persuasion Techniques

Values and Philosophy

Researching, Writing, Delivering Speeches

Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and Public Forum Debate

Student Congress

Extemporaneous Speaking

Impromptu Speaking

Original Oratory


Prose Interpretation

Poetry Interpretation

Humorous and Dramatic Interp

Duet and Duo Interp


Searching for Material

Learning to Analyze Characters

Critiques—Oral and Written Evaluation

Preparing for Competition/Tournaments


Class Expectations:

Please understand that even though there is a lot of independent work in class, there will also be a mix of instruction, blocking, and coaching.  It is VERY important that students understand that there is no free time in this class.  I expect everyone to be working intently every day.  It can be a struggle to meet before and after school, so use this class time as your opportunity to write, research, read, analyze critiques and material, practice speeches, create introductions, and improve your performances.

Students will be required to meet after school weekly beginning in September to participate in practice debates or mock speech tournaments. Team practices occur on Tuesday and Thursday each week. Students are required to prepare for a minimum of two competitive events. Saturday tournaments are held October through March in VCFL competition and January through March in VHSL competition. Even though students are not in class second semester, they should plan to stay after school 1-2 days each week to prepare for tournaments.

Because the students motivated by the challenging curriculum of this course enter this classroom with diverse academic backgrounds and experiences, RESPECT for others will be the number one rule. Please be sure you are respectful of our classroom, school, your Coach, and your peers.  Recognize that other people have different values, beliefs, appearance and desires. I will not tolerate language or actions that exclude or demean. Argumentation will be one of the models for our class—argumentation that is focused on issues and not personality.


Classroom Rules:

· NO TALKING will be tolerated while I am talking or while other students have the floor, especially during performances, speeches, debates, or while questions are being asked and answered. Remember you will also be responsible for the information being presented.  You will have plenty of class time to work on projects, etc., but listening to instruction beforehand is VERY IMPORTANT. Be respectful at all times!

· Please be sure you are familiar with the LCPS “Acceptable Use Policy” as it pertains to computer use in the classroom.  This policy will be strictly enforced in our classroom!  This means NO downloading of ANY file, software, movie, game, music, etc.  This means NO playing games during class time, as well.

· Be sure you are prepared for class and for scheduled contests.  Bring all materials and supplies to class each day and dress appropriately for contests. 

· You may bring water bottles to class. No other food or drink is allowed.

· Attendance is very important. DON’T BE TARDY to class. You will miss all the fun. 

· Take care of restroom and locker needs between classes.  Passes to the nurse, office or restroom are given only in emergencies.

· Follow ALL LCHS rules; they are non-negotiable.



 Grading for this class is simple:

  Daily Grades   =   20%

  Projects/Speech Writing   =   30%

  Tests/Debates/Performances   =   50%

  • Class work and library work are considered "Daily" work.
  • Everyone will be REQUIRED to keep up with their Competition Notebook for the entire year.  The first step in learning to organize for contest events is learning to get organized yourself.  There are a lot of handouts for this course, and it is VERY important to keep up with everything.  This syllabus should always be found in the front of your competition notebook. The notebook will be checked periodically, and will be considered a "project" grade each nine-weeks.
  • LATE WORK -  All assignments should be submitted on the due date.  Late assignments will be accepted one day after the original due date at a penalty of 10%. Make-up work is the responsibility of the student. 
  • PLAGIARISM -  Any suspicion of plagiarizing all or part of any research, speeches, debate cases, etc. will be discussed with the student and could result in a ZERO for the assignment. Credit all sources properly; ask for assistance if you have any questions.



  • 2-3 inch 3-ring binder (Competition Notebook)
  • Loose-leaf notebook paper
  • 2 different color pens (black, blue, red, purple, or green)
  • Note-cards (300 4x6 index cards)
  • Highlighter
  • USB drive—required!

Parent Signature Assignment:

Attached, you will find a form that MUST be turned in by the date assigned.  This syllabus MUST be kept by YOU at ALL times, but the attached form states that your parents have read this course outline and have been informed of the policies, etc. explained above. You should also bring the list of class materials required, along with your Competition Notebook.

Parent Signature Form


I (please print)_________________________ have read myson/daughter's (please print) ____________________________ Competitive Speech and Debate Syllabus and I understand the policies of the class. I also understand that students are required to meet after school 1-2 times weekly September through March to participate in practice debates or mock speech tournaments. Students are required to prepare for a minimum of two events in preparation for Forensics/Debate competition held October 2011-March 2012.

I understand that progress reports will be sent home 1-2 times each nine weeks (usually before interim and report cards), and I am encouraged to call or email Mrs. Love if I ever have questions or concerns.  I also understand that I will be notified of any behavior or academic difficulties as they arise, and I can be reached at

phone: ____________________ email:________________________________