The Georgia Forensic Coaches Association advocates for competitive speech, debate, and related education. Many of the tournaments held throughout Georgia allow students to compete in a choice of either a debate event or a speech event. The speech events offered may include:
- Impromptu Speaking
- Extemporaneous Commentary
- Original Oratory
- Dramatic Performance
- Humorous Interpretation
- Duo Interpretation
- Program of Prose and Poetry
- Dramatic Improvisation
With appropriate preparation and individual commitment, Thomas County Central students may choose to compete in any of these events with the support of Mr. Bellamy.
Past research and data reviews verify that speech and debate education prepares students for success in communication. In particular, competitive speech and debate programs teache outstanding communication skills in presentation, audience analysis, professionalism, and other essential aspects of public speaking. Student naturally improve these skills while enjoying competition and making friends.
And why not? Speech and Debate students can try a variety of speech styles and skills through the different type of events. These include the debate events like student congress and policy debate, the oration events like impromptu speaking and original oratory, and the interpretive events like dramatic interpretation and duo. Whether students like to compete as individuals, or as a team, opportunity abounds to find a place to fit in and then gain valuable experience.
Students notice a marked improvement in critical thinking and reading skills after two years of speech and debate, which translates to better grades and academic success. Why? Every speech and debate event requires students to read professional peer-reviewed journals, read culturally relevant literature, and delve into the consequences and meaning of writing. Increased student vocabulary and literacy is the unintended but direct result of such engagement, not to mention intelligent engagement with society, culture, and politics.
Competitive speech & debate, to summarize, requires high-level thinking. In the first two years of participation, students notice a considerable improvement in their writing skills. In a 1991 study, students involved in competitive speaking events cited among the advantages they perceived: improved communication skills, enhanced critical thinking skills, organization, research skills, the capacity to think quickly, development of a sense of ethics and a sense of personal accomplishment. The bottom line is that speech and debate is a fun way to grow in self-esteem and ability to write, speak, and think.