» Frequently Asked Questions «

  1. The Organization
    1. General Information
      1. What is SEDA?
      2. How is SEDA funded?

    2. Board of Directors
      1. How is the Board composed?
      2. Who can sit on the Board?

    3. Governance
      1. How does SEDA develop its rules and policies?

    4. Membership
      1. Who can become a member of SEDA?
      2. What are the advantages of membership?

  2. Volunteers
    1. Judges
      1. Am I qualified to judge debate?
      2. What can I expect at a tournament?

  3. Participation
    1. Clubs
      1. How do I start a club

  4. Program
    1. General Information
      1. What kind of program does SEDA offer?
      2. Why should I debate?
      3. Do I need a partner to debate?
      4. Can I debate with a partner from a different school?
      5. Can I still debate if I'm not in high school?

    2. Debate Tournaments
      1. How many debate tournaments are there each year?

    3. Inter-Provincial and National Events
      1. What is Westerns?
      2. What is Speech Nationals?
      3. What is Junior Nationals?
      4. What is the National Seminar?
      5. What is Worlds?
      6. What are the qualifying rounds for these events?
  1. The Organization
    1. General Information
      1. What is SEDA?

        SEDA is a non-profit, charitable, volunteer-driven, youth-based organization. It is mandated to promote the debate and speech arts in Saskatchewan and is best known for coordinating an extra-curricular, competitive debate program for students in grades 5 through 12.

        SEDA also runs special events, such as the annual Historical Model Legislature, and provides services to teachers using debate in the classroom.

        In addition, SEDA provides services to the public and maintains a library of print and DVD video debate materials which are available to anyone on request.

      2. How is SEDA funded?

        SEDA receives funds from a number of sources. The largest amount of financial support comes from the Saskatchewan Lotteries. Grants come from organizations like the Saskatchewan Law Foundation and the McLeese Fund. Part of the SEDA budget is made up of revenue generated from things like event registrations and fundraising.

    2. Board of Directors
      1. How is the Board composed?

        The Board of Directors consists of up to 11 individuals: the Past President, an ex-officio member, and up to ten directors, eight of whom will be elected at large with the remaining two being the appointed alumni representatives.

        The term of each Director is two years, with one-half of the Board being elected annually at the Annual General Meeting

        The Board shall be regionally representative where possible and practical. Individuals are not limited to serving one term on the Board.

      2. Who can sit on the Board?

        There are few restrictions to who can serve on SEDA's Board of Directors. Six of the elected members shall be from the member clubs of the organization, although the Board may appoint an individual to any vacant position. The alumni representative positions shall be filled with one standing member from each of Saskatchewan's universities.

    3. Governance
      1. How does SEDA develop its rules and policies?

        SEDA is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who, with input from the membership, sets goals and policy directions for the organization. SEDA has a Constitution and Policy Manual that govern the business and activities of the organization.

    4. Membership
      1. Who can become a member of SEDA?

        The majority of SEDA's members are individual debate clubs usually formed within schools. However, individuals can become "friends of SEDA".

      2. What are the advantages of membership?

        Members are entitled to participate in all SEDA events. They receive invitations, event information, our newsletter, Voice, and other publications. Of course, the real value of membership is being able to participate in fun and valuable educational opportunities.

        Membership fees are a flat fee of $40 to register the club and $20 per debater. At minimum, all debaters who have attended two tournaments must pay their registration fee.  New clubs receive a 25% discount on both club and indivdual membership fees.

  1. Volunteers
    1. Judges
      1. Am I qualified to judge debate?

        Yes! Debate judges are volunteers from all walks of life; some have lots of debate background and some have absolutely none. One of the skills that debate teaches is communicating to a diverse audience, and therefore it's preferable that the judges are not all "debate experts".

        Furthermore, judging debate uses the same skills you use every day -- whether you're reading a newspaper or a magazine, watching television, or viewing an Internet Webpage, you are constantly formulating and evaluating arguments and opinions. Everyone brings something different to the table in the way ideas and experience, and it's important to get a broad mixture of people participating.

      2. What can I expect at a tournament?

        Check in with the registration table when you arrive at the tournament. Here you will receive an information package containing a schedule for the event, a map of the school, one ballot for each round of debate, and a copy of SEDA's Guide to Judging. You will then be directed to the judge's room where you will receive a 30 minute briefing on how to judge debate. This briefing will explain what to look for in a debate and the criteria for picking the winner.

        You will then be assigned to a classroom in which you and other judges will watch the debates. At the end of each debate, you will pick the winning team and give each debater a score based on how well he or she spoke -- the ballot will assist you in doing this. You are also encouraged to give the students some brief, constructive comments.

        The total time that you will spend at the event will be four or five hours, and a meal will be provided. Most judges find that they get the hang of it quite quickly and ultimately find tournaments to be an interesting and positive experience.

  1. Participation
    1. Clubs
      1. How do I start a club?

        Contact the SEDA office and let us know you're interested. SEDA will provide you with guides on how to coach a debate club and a membership form. The SEDA staff will also provide you with orientation materials and a workshop if you are interested.

  1. Program
    1. General Information
      1. What kind of program does SEDA offer?

        SEDA offers a comprehensive annual program of debate and speech events for students in grades 5-12.

        Four regional tournaments are held each year, as well as a speech tournament, a televised Canada Day event, a Model Legislature, and a high school/university Pro-Am tournament. The Weekend Workshop and two one-day workshops round out the yearly schedule.

        Top Saskatchewan debaters earn the right to attend a number of inter-provincial and national events, such as the Western Canada Debate Championships, the National Speech Competition, the Junior Debate Nationals, Senior Nationals, North-American Championships, and the National Student Debating Seminar.

        For those people interested in debate but unable to come to the workshops or tournaments, SEDA has qualified instructors that will facilitate debate workshops in classrooms or teacher inservices. In addition, SEDA offers a wide range of debate videos and print guides available to members and the public at large.

      2. Why should I debate?

        Debate is one of the few extra-curricular activities also highly prized for its educational benefits. Debaters tend to have higher self-esteem and learn how to speak effectively in public, whether to a single person or a large audience.

        Debate develops a number of skills including the understanding that there are always two sides to every argument; a sense of timing, to prioritize your material; how to structure your thoughts, to introduce, develop, and summarize your points; and flexibility to react to new ideas, and remain unflustered in a crisis.

        Most importantly, debate is fun! Debaters are not just "guys in suits", but include a wide range of people from all walks of life with varied interests. Some debaters go on to become lawyers or teachers; some, like Roy Romanow, become a provincial Premier. Other famous debaters include Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt, Michael Stipe, John Wayne, and Oprah Winfrey.

      3. Do I need a partner to debate?

        Yes. SEDA's rules for debate have no provision for individual debaters. All debates in Saskatchewan occur between two teams of two people each.

      4. Can I debate with a partner from a different school?

        Yes, but only under certain circumstances.

        SEDA wishes to encourage participation as widely as possible. There will sometimes be individual students who wish to participate in debates, but have no partner and no club at their school. In this case, special permission may be granted by the Board to these students to debate with a partner from another school.

        Another time permission may be granted is when a debater moves to a different school in the middle of the year, breaking up a competetive team. In this case, the Board may grant permission for the team to continue to debate together even though both teammates attend different schools.

        This list is not exhaustive. If you feel your situation deserves special consideration by the Board, please contact SEDA.

      5. Can I still debate if I'm not in high school?

        Debate clubs are available for students at both the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan. If you are a post-secondary student at either of these institutions and you wish to debate, please contact your local university debate society.

        Although no program exists for non-student debaters, there are still ways to involve yourself in debate! Everyone interested in debate is encouraged to attend a local tournament as an observer or volunteer. Please contact SEDA for more information.

    2. Debate Tournaments
      1. How many debate tournaments are there each year?

        Each year, SEDA holds four debate rounds. For the purposes of regional representation, there is one tournament held in both the North and the South for each round.

        This makes a minimum of eight tournaments per year. Because of increasing participation numbers, tournaments are sometimes split along divisional lines as well. SEDA has held as many as 17 tournaments in one year!

        Schools all over Saskatchewan host these debate rounds each year. Size is not an issue -- in the past, hosts have ranged from Saskatoon's Walter Murray Collegiate and Regina's Campbell Collegiate, to H. Hardcastle School in Edam and Oxbow Prairie Heights.

    3. Inter-Provincial and National Events
      1. What is Westerns?

        The Western Canada Debate Championship, or Westerns, is an annual event held in Nevember or December. The location of the tournament rotates between the western provinces and territories.

        Westerns delegates are typically chosen through regional competitions. In Saskatchewan, delegates are chosen from the High School Novice category, based on performance at the Round I tournaments. Four delegates are typically chosen: the top individual debater from the North Rural, South Rural, Saskatoon, and Regina regions.

      2. What is Speech Nationals?
      3. What is Junior Nationals?

        The Junior Debate Nationals is an annual event held in April or May. The location of the tournament rotates across Canada, and the topic is usually of timely canadian interest.

        Junior Nationals delegates are typically chosen through regional competitions. In Saskatchewan, delegates are chosen from the High School Junior category, based on a weighted average of a team's performance at regional competitions and at Provincials. Three teams are typically chosen as delegates: the top North team, the top South team, and the next overall.

      4. What is the National Seminar?
      5. What is Worlds?
      6. What are the qualifying rounds for these events?

Our Sponsors

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News & Upcoming Events

  • Changes to the Board

     

    The October AGM saw a number of changes to the board we'd like to acknowledge. We are pleased with the strong turn-out this year. We had a number of parents and coaches present as well as most clubs represented. With the regular turn-over in board member terms, we would like to welcome Melissa Gerlach and Paula Dvernichuk as new members to the board. Of course these psotions mark the end of terms of other members. So, we'd also like to acknowledge the following retiring board members:

     

    Kara Helmes - Kara has been a long history with SEDA. A member of the board for over 10 years, she has committed to coaching and supporting SEDA. A former debater, president and past president (two terms), she helped SEDA navigate some turbulent waters in recent years. We thank Kara for her commitment and leadership.

     

    Sarah Myers - Sarah, a recent addition to the board, has spent her free time supporting elementary debate and coaching. As a highly respected member of the board, her contributions are valued. We are grateful to Sarah for her contributions to SEDA.

     

    Dylan Hardy - A former debater, Dylan is passionate about debate. He has committed his time to the advancement of debate and debaters in the province as a coach, mentor, judge and board member. Although his long commitment to the board is coming to an end, Dylan's impact on the debate community will remain.

     

    Matt Schmeisser - Also a former debater, Matt has dedicated hours debating, coaching and actively participating on the board. Matt has volunteered his time and energy and influence many young debaters and many have noted the feedback he provides. Wherever his career takes him, debate will remain an important part of Matt's life. SEDA is grateful to Matt and wishes him the best in his endeavors.

  • Your Canada - Your Constitution

    Thank you YCYC for sponsoring 2016 National Debate!

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