Public Forum Curriculum

At National Debate Forum we take tremendous pride in our Public Forum Debate division.  NDF has a proven track record of success in Public Forum, providing a unique, focused experience that delivers results.  Unlike other camps where PF comes second, NDF gives this event the attention and resources is deserves as the National Speech and Debate Association‘s most popular event.

NDF is a great institute choice because we attract students who want to be nationally competitive in PF.  Our students are a key part of the institute experience, and we encourage peer learning.  The top-notch competitors who come to NDF for Public Forum are a testament to our approach — and a benefit to our camp.

What is the #CampThatWins Culture?


NDF prioritizes skill based activities

The students will research, write cases, and develop strategies to debate a simulated Public Forum Debate resolution and compete in a full tournament at the end of the institute. Students will work on case revisions, participate in several practice debates and refine their skills with the best coaches and former debaters in the country. We aim to help students build the confidence they need to stand toe to toe with the best debaters in the county and to provide students with skills that will extend beyond their debate rounds.

Each student leaves the National Debate Forum with at least sixteen full debates.  Additionally, many labs hold mini or extemporaneous debates within small groups.   In 2017, the NDF Iowa lab taught by Mollie Clark & Sam Wood participated in six mini-debates in addition to the full debates.

Extemp debates in lab were incredibly beneficial to my growth as a debater. In addition to teaching me how to research effectively under pressure, extemp debates also helped me develop stronger warrants and improve my overall round vision.
— Student in the Apex lab taught by Jeffrey Miller, Mollie Clark & Jake Mengarelli

NDF prioritizes teaching multiple perspectives

Our staff provides students a variety of perspectives on Public Forum Debate. We recognize that there are many valid approaches to Public Forum Debate, and our goal is to teach to your needs and style.

We hold seminars and classes on topics ranging from case writing to the psychology of judges to the geopolitics of resource security. Our faculty goes out of its way to make you think harder and deeper about how you debate — and how to win your rounds.

I would recommend NDF to everyone. It’s incredibly educational and has already drastically improved my debating skills, but it’s also really fun. The instructors genuinely care about you and work hard to help you grow.
— Student in the Forum lab taught by Tim Greenfield, Jordann Krouse & Kaley Pillinger


NDF prioritizes individual attention through a tiered curriculum

NDF provides a four tiered curriculum to cater to the needs of every debater. Students learn the skills relevant to their style and level and debate, and even returning campers receive a unique, varied experience.  Each level has their own curriculum coordinator that is a High School teacher that collaborate with the overall Camp Curriculum Director.

Small lab groups are built around skill and experience level. No one is made to feel more or less important than anyone else. Students will work with their lab leaders in group and individual settings to develop they specific skills they need. Every student who attends walks away a better debate.

NDF is a great experience for me because I feel as though a lot of other debate camps breed a really competitive atmosphere where NDF, by not focusing solely on the September/October topic both makes you a better debater in the long run and breeds a less competitive environment to build friendships last a lifetime.
— Student in the Summit lab taught by Harrison Hurt & Ella Fanger