Front New Mark
Students must listen and clarify each other's arguments to build critical thinking skills.
Participants learn to carefully listen, watch body language, and constructively criticize.
Teamwork leads to success.
Collaborate with a team.
Classes for All Ages
Give confident speaking experience to your elementary student.
Students work together.
Speaking to an audience.
Our academy was founded not only to teach meaningful / relevant skills, but to give students plenty of practice with those skills.
At New England Academy, you'll see your child learning with activities that they enjoy.
You never know when great communication will come in handy, says MIT Debate Team President Raj Krishnan. Three months ago when his cousin got married, he was asked 15 minutes before dinner to make a toast.
Many moms and dads, especially debate moms and dads, have often asked the question: How can I help my child become a better speaker or thinker? As parents ourselves, we at NEA believe parent involvement is crucial to a child's academic success in a variety of subjects, and speech and debate is no exception. So how can parents help their child grow?
After honing their skills the NEA debate program for over a year from 2014 to 2015 the Savdharia twins entered 7th grade and were eligible to join their school debate team.
Where are they now?
Today, they compete for their day school in both the Orange County Debate League (OCDL) and Southern California Junior Forensics League (SCJFL).
How have they done?
During the 2015-2016 OCDL season, Hitakshi won 10th and 5th place speaker awards. She was also a member of teams that placed 4th, 3rd and 1st. Not to be outdone, her sister Harishri has taken individual 13th, 5th and 3rd place speaker awards, including a top 7th grade speaker award at the Fairmont Historic Anaheim Tournament in March 2016. As a teammate, Harishri too helped lead her own team to 5th, 2nd and even 1st place awards.
In the Southern SCJFL, the duo competed as a two-person team, debating public forum style and placing in the top ten speakers and teams in their category in both the Glendale Community College event (December) as well as the Irvine Valley College tournament (January).
In debate, the Savdharias are truly a powerhouse team, and they've made their former teammates and teachers at NEA proud!
On Saturday, February 6th, the New England Academy took top awards at the OCDL's Buena Park Joint Tournament. The students were matched up against six other local schools (roughly 120 students) both public and private in the OCDL's Blue Division.
Led by coach Anjali Narang, the group was made up of 6th to 8th grade students Ava A, Milin P, Sujan A, Jahnvi M, Surina A, Vivian T, Nadia A, Kathy C, Ryan G, Arav P, Sandhya G, Samantha C, Shivana D and Marcus M.
Specific details follow
On Sunday, December 13th, nine New England Academy Debaters took part in the Orange County Debate League's Emery Tournament held in Buena Park. Nearly a dozen local schools (well over one hundred students) including Buena Park Junior High, Brentwood School (Los Angeles), Fairmont Private School and Pegasus competed in this event. The tournament topics included repealing the double jeopardy law and whether a government should prioritize the needs of refugees over national interests.
The performance at this tournament marked the best yet for the NEA students as they took the 2nd place tournament award - the highest award given to an after-school academy in the OCDL to date!
NEA Individuals and NEA teams thrived too. New England Teams APA and DCA both tied for 5th place, while New England Team ACM earned 9th place. Awards are given to only the top ten teams at the tournament. All NEA debaters, Ava A, Sujan S, Milin P, Shivana D, Samantha C, Surina A, Nadia A, Kathy C, and Marcus M were awarded team awards.
The students are looking forward to the next event at Buena Park Junior High on February 6. Great job, debaters!
As teachers we want many of the same things for our students as parents want for their children. We want to raise the next generation of adults, to stimulate the intellectual abilities of the youth, and to guide our students to become strong members of our society. To accomplish this we realized our students needed to be deeply engaged in relevant learning, to process information in an abstract way, and to strengthen their problem solving, planning, and critical thinking skills.
In the beginning of our careers we went about teaching our subjects with the books and worksheets, activities, labs, and various other teaching tools used by teachers. As we excelled in our craft, our students were quickly able to recite important factors that precipitated the civil war, draw Bohr models and note the number of valence electrons, and identify universals in test questions in order to choose the most likely correct answer. But while these were excellent ways to teach the content of our various subjects, we saw a flaw in the process. Our students were not developing into the critical thinkers that we desired. Our students were excellent at reciting content and taking tests, but they were equally good at repeating incorrect information found in books and on websites.
So we wanted students to be critical consumers of information, cite reasonable sources for the things they think are true. We set about looking for ways to help our children to have an open mind, listen critically, challenge and identify weaknesses in the information they are presented by others. And when they were wrong, we wanted them to change their mind, and show grace in the face of pressure, adversity, and loss.
What we valued and appreciated in students, and what could separate them from their peers, was when they were confident and persuasive, when they channeled empathy, and when they acted as team players by supporting each other and by anticipating and understanding others. These behaviors became the benchmark for defining students as stronger members of society.
And so we wondered what could help students become critical thinkers, empathetic and team players, graceful and assertive, and informed or intelligent young adults? In retrospect, we didn’t think it an ambitious question and didn’t consider the magnitude of what we expected, we just thought about the different tools we were using as teachers. So while helping students to learn about history, science, math, and other elements of our various subjects, we evaluated different ways of teaching students and concluded the strongest ways of deeply engaging students was asking them to participate in real-world based learning, including science fairs but especially activities such as debate.
We observed that teaching students by asking them to find the answers to their own questions developed their critical thinking skills. Asking them to present their findings to judges or peers improved their communication skills. Lastly, if their findings were challenged by their peers, as they often are in a debate, students were forced to defend their own findings. They not only began to critically evaluate their own but also others’ evidence and thought processes.
The center of this real-world based learning of science fair and debate is teaching students to constructing and present arguments. Their arguments must support their position using evidence, requiring research and understanding of a subject, which is often very complex. Students must not only understand their arguments but be able to explain them and present them in a persuasive manner. We concluded that debate fosters both confidence and persuasiveness in participants.
But debate not only helps students’ critical thinking skills by forcing them to look for evidence and evaluate sources, but it helps them anticipate and empathize with others. Students on teams must listen to their opponents and understand them in order to refute their arguments, and when students are required to debate both sides of a topic, those skills become even stronger.
Much like a team sport, the skills of debate aren’t winning or losing, and repeated exposure to debate helps students practice sportsmanship, winning with grace and losing with dignity. It’s important to give students the opportunity to win and lose, not simply remove competition from the learning environment in order to protect children’s self-esteem. Debate is a great way to help students recognize that both victory and defeat are opportunities to grow and learn.
Considering the debates are often about real world topics, we are confident that debates not only make students into better leaders and thinkers, they do so while students are learning about relevant issues that affect society and are worthy of discussing.
And studies support our conclusions. A quick google search of how debate participation affects college acceptance and success reveals that being involved in debate is more important than being involved in sports.
If we want our students to raise the level of national discourse, to improve the critical consumption and evaluation of new information, and to become strong members of a global society, then we need to give them the tools to do so, and we had better start teaching them the means to do so early. We need to give them regular and routine opportunities to debate. The skills they develop become stronger with each opportunity.
The New England Academy students performed excellently at the 2015 OCDL Championship. The tournament, held in May in Huntington Beach, matched students from over a dozen local schools, public, private and after-school academies. The event featured nearly 200 students and 60 teams.
Twelve students and coach Mark Hobbs made up the NEA delegation. Not only did the group walk away with a winning record, individual students and teams also took home several awards: Ryan G earned the top 5th grade student speaker award, while Hitakshi S, Vivian C, and Ryan G won 11th place team award. Awards are given for the top 15 teams of the tournament. For a first year team, these were major achievements.
February 7, 2015
Several students from the New England Academy took home top awards from the OCDL North Beatty Elementary tournament. 130 students were present at the event featuring some of the most difficult competition in the country!
Julia K, Moss N and Nadia A won 10th place team award, and Nadia A also took home the award for first place speaker in 5th grade! Great job debaters!
It’s clear to many that debates are a great tool for engaging children and enhancing classroom curriculum. Skills of debate include essential critical thinking, presentation, abstract thinking, citizenship, etiquette, clarity, organization, persuasion, public speaking, research, and teamwork and cooperation. And that’s just a start.
Many schools are working to adapt curriculum to the new Common Core Standards since the beginning of their development in 2009. The California State Board of Education adopted Common Core in 2010. So we wondered how debate fits with the new standards. Take a look at the California Common Core English Language Arts and Literacy standards below (7th grade is used as an example, but grades 6-12 are similar, if not identical for most of the standards).