NSD Texas is designed to provide a rigorous and supportive environment for Texas LD debaters at all levels of experience and success, and across diverse styles of debate. As one of the most competitive states for high school LD, Texas hosts a number of local circuits, each one competitive and unique. NSD Texas is primarily aimed at helping students from Texas develop the skills and knowledge needed to excel at all levels of competition, including the UIL, TFA, and TOC circuits. For students from other states wanting to do well at the TOC tournaments in the lone star state, NSD Texas will offer the opportunity to develop the keys to success with some of Texas’ most successful coaches and recent competitors. Click here for an overview of our curriculum and why NSD does debate camp better. Read below for the specificities of the Texas curriculum.
Students are grouped into labs based on experience level, and these groups form the heart of the NSD experience. All NSD labs maintain a 1:4 instructors to student ratio, and this calculation does not include additional administrative staff. NSD treats all students as equally important by assuring individualized attention to each and appointing veteran national circuit instructors to work in every lab.
NSD Texas will move away from a traditional system of lab and modular lectures to a system of labs and “rotations”. Students will still do the bulk of their learning in traditional labs, but will receive outside instruction in rotations. Rotations consist of three 2-hour blocks of time (one a day for three days) during which labs receive instruction on some topic by two instructors who are not their lab leaders. Rotations will happen in lab groups, but from outside instructors who specialize in the content area. We believe rotations capture the benefits of the old lectures (introducing students to new staff, and allowing the staff to speak on their strongest topics) but retain the unique benefits of lab (hands on instruction, small size, and the ability to effectively and immediately reinforce topics with drills and homework).
At NSD Texas, each student will be assigned a mentor that they will see daily over the duration of camp. Meeting in either small group or individual group sessions, mentor time will be the concluding portion of the day where students are able to ask questions they may have had from lab that day, do drills, or be taught new and exciting topics that they're interested in learning about. In this time, students are able to make closer connections with their staff members and have somebody watching and checking in on their progress during their camp experience.
While we believe that teaching in lab is the most effective way to teach, we acknowledge that there is value in being able to teach more specific topics for shorter periods of time, which led to the creation of Elective Seminars. These are one-off, two hour seminars (constituted of a mixture of lecture, discussion, and drills), taught by single instructors to lab-sized groups but not in actual labs, since students choose which seminars to attend. Staff propose the topics they would like to teach in elective seminars and so all seminars are taught by staff who are passionate about the subject they are teaching.
All students attending NSD Texas will have at least 7 practice debates observed by instructors, who will provide feedback on what students should do to improve.