We founded NSD Congress because we want to teach Congress differently, and at our core is a unique curriculum and instruction structure that sets us apart from other Congress camps.
NSD’s Congressional Debate Institute offers each and every participant a challenging, comprehensive, and fun course in everything Congress – from argumentation, to rhetoric, to research. NSD’s instructors and curriculum blend interactive lectures on public policy, constitutional law, economics, and philosophy together with rhetorical drills, speech practices and mock Congressional sessions. Every “topic lecture” is discussion-based; every speaking opportunity is critiqued by instructors and by students in small breakout sessions, made possible by our 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
Each day, students participate in topic discussions and speech practice, with many full Congressional Debate sessions throughout the course. Students participate in activities that improve research skills, reinforce proper parliamentary procedure, assist with bill writing, and enhance in-round strategies. Students also analyze speeches they’ve given on video to achieve better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
The Modular "Block Schedule"
The NSD schedule works on a "block schedule", where students are assigned to "modules" (content/technique labs) based on knowledge and ability, rather than being strictly assigned to a lab with a series of lectures and defined staff.
NSD's modular schedule allows us to customize each student's camp experience to what they need most, based on feedback from both the coach and the student. Rather than planning out each day before the camp even starts, our 50+ modules can be rearranged using student feedback. This also allows us to cap module breakout groups at six students regardless of the topic area, providing the most effective and enjoyable debate camp experience.
NSD Congress also features a special block of time in the evening called "BBB Time", named after cognitive science researcher and composer Dr. Anthony Brandt's definition of creativity (Bending, Breaking, and Blending). To further enhance our students' skills, we invite students to examine famous speeches, items of popular culture, media, and the arts with the guidance of our instructors.
Typical Daily Schedule
8:30-9:30 AM: Opening Seminar
9:30-11:00 AM: Lab Workshop
11:00-11:30 AM: Module 1 in Breakout Groups
11:30 AM-12:00 PM: Module 2 in Breakout Groups
12:00-1:00 PM: Lunch
1:00-3:30 PM: Module 3 in Lab
3:30-5:30 PM: Prep with Coaches/Mini-Rounds
5:30-6:30 PM: Dinner
6:30-7:30 PM: Module 4 in Breakout Groups
7:30-9:30 PM: BBB Time
9:30-11:00 PM: Free Time
11:00 PM: Room Checks