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  • Sophia Xie

Malcolm Davis: the New Debate Coach




The Edgemont Debate team has seen some ups and downs, from winning awards and championships to essentially pausing during the pandemic. We’ve journeyed through confusing formats and chaotic practices, using only Slack to communicate. This year, we’re welcoming a new debate coach, Malcolm Davis, who is taking over for Brian Mauel. 


As a member of the debate team, I was very interested in learning about the new coach. We’ve seen a lot of people join the debate team this year, especially in the parliamentary division, where we’re hosting practice debate rounds! We were fortunate enough to interview Mr. Davis and have our questions answered. 


How did you become interested in debate? What first made you want to pursue a career in it?

Debate is such a wonderful thing! I first encountered it as a student, and I was thrilled to find an activity where I could celebrate and explore ideas that weren't always being covered by my classes. I grew to love the competition that keeps the gears turning, and over time, it became clear to me that I'd love to stay involved with the activity as long as I could. As an educator, I found working with debaters to be great fun and that it gives us all the opportunity to work out complicated ideas in a supportive space.


What is your favorite type of debate: Parliamentary, Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, or Public Forum?

Wow, that's a hard choice! I bet if you ask me tomorrow, my answer would change! That said, I think Lincoln-Douglas and Policy debate hold a special place in my heart, primarily because debates in these formats are more welcoming to perspectives from the humanities and get somewhat less bogged down in statistics or fact assertions than do PF and Parli.


What do you like most about Edgemont?

The community! I have been consistently impressed with the students' eagerness to learn and am joyful to have found friends among administrators and teachers!


What do you want us to know about you?

I love to read and talk about ideas! I am always happy to discuss or exchange articles about an interesting idea, concept, or thinker.


What is a fun fact about you?

I love animals! I spend time every day training my cat to do silly tricks, which is only half as foolish as it sounds! Her name is Tanka, and she's the world's greatest athlete.


What advice do you have for any new debaters?

Stay curious and creative! Too often, debates get bogged down in attempts to repeat common arguments or echo lines of thought that we see in politics and popular culture. While debate is a great place to sharpen and hone our ability to make these arguments, it's also a place to experiment with new perspectives!


Why should someone join the debate team?

Well, why shouldn't they? But more precisely, there's a laundry list of reasons. Students should join if they're interested in thinking and learning with us! Those looking to hone analytical and interpretive skills will also find wonderful practice with us. Those who are politically inclined will have opportunities to explore current events and develop nuanced understandings of political conditions. Of course, debate is perhaps the premiere way to strengthen one's public speaking abilities and confidence! In sum, anyone with an interest in playing with ideas would be hard pressed to find a more fun scholarly pursuit!


Now, I know you’re all thinking about the same question in your mind: is this an advertisement for the debate team? The answer is YES. Is it working? If yes, the google classroom code for parliamentary debate is 3qpfv3t, and the code for public forum is jkxk46y. For other forms of debate (Lincoln Douglas and Policy), pop by after school on Thursday at A3! That’s where most debate practices are held. If your answer is still no, then I recommend that you re-read the article and focus on the last question.

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