Welcome to Debate Centered Instruction: A Great Way to Teach, Promote Student Engagement and Learning

Hi, I’m Bob Litan, the creator of this website to help teachers and education policy makers find the resources that will equip them with the ability to harness powerful debate principles — I call it “debate centered instruction” or “DCI” — for teaching in all classrooms, principally in middle and high school, but also for elementary school and even at the college level. I promise you DCI will forever change your classrooms, your students, and the way you teach — for the better!

Here’s my short bio. I’m an economist and attorney with 40+ years of professional experience in think tanks, government, law firms, and the private sector. Competitive debate was instrumental in my career, helped me overcome my childhood stuttering, and gave me the confidence to speak publicly I never dreamed I’d have. You can find out about this and much more in Resolved: Debate can Revolutionize Education and Help Save our Democracy ( Brookings Press, 2020).

Following the publication of Resolved the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation provided The Ethics Project with a grant to organize a Summer DCI Institute in July 2021, and follow-on mentorship program for teachers around the US who wanted to learn from some of the nation’s leading DCI practitioners how to use DCI in their classrooms. You can view and learn from these remarkable videos here.

You can also learn who provides DCI professional development (“Teaching”), about organizations that enable adults to learn and practice their debate techniques (“Adults”), as well as research and books about DCI and debate (“Research”).

If you have suggestions for additional resources or news that should be posted on this site, please contact me though the address on the Contact tab. 

Welcome to DCI – and to the Educational Revolution!

Resolved: Debate Can Revolutionize Education and Help Save Our Democracy

This book provides a comprehensive guide to DCI, and how it has grown of various forms of competitive debate. The book features two of the leading practitioners of DCI: Argument-Centered Education (Les Lynn) and the Boston Debate League — throughout the country. (You will find them here. They are all available to provide professional development in DCI to schools and school districts who would like to engage them).

Resolved makes a compelling case that DCI can improve student engagement and academic performance in all subjects in middle and high schools, generating benefits for students well beyond graduation: in the workplace and as citizens. It also considers and rebuts objections to using DCI, and provides a practical agenda for spreading DCI to school districts throughout the country.

Why This Site?

Welcome, this is the place where teachers and others in the educational arena can learn how to use the power of DEBATE IN THE CLASSROOM — in every subject in middle and high school, maybe even in later elementary grades, and also in college, without making changes in the curriculum or the content of what is taught.

The skills learned through debate – how to speak clearly persuasively and in civil way, to think critically, back up arguments with evidence and reasoning on two or more sides of virtually any topic, and to work collaboratively with peers – are critical to educating us all in our personal lives, in our careers, and to becoming informed, thinking citizens.

Debate-Centered Instruction Can Eliminate Achievement Gaps

Debate is Democracy in Action, Learning Civics by Doing, and is Fun and Engaging for Students and Teachers Alike