DebateAble's curriculum emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills and a tolerance for differing viewpoints, instilling an appreciation for the value of teamwork.  Our debate program and format are inspired by the International Debate Education Association, which focuses on education – not competition – as the goal of debates.  DebateAble students work together in teams of three to present supporting arguments and are provided with research materials regarding the session's topic, or "resolution."  Distilling the research is an important part of the DebateAble program, as is learning to debate both sides of any topic, actively listening to the arguments of opposing teams, and realizing that there is more than one way of thinking about any single question.


DebateAble's curriculum and games are geared toward third through sixth graders, and can be implemented as after-school clubs or in the classroom during the school day. After five years of developing our curriculum through classroom lessons, after school clubs and camps in the greater Seattle area, we have made our Curriculum Package available nationwide so that any school, individual, or other organization throughout the country can easily provide the same DebateAble debate instruction to their students that has been so successful for students in the Seattle School District.

Research Findings

Gwen Dewar, PHD

Debate Lessons Improve Critical Thinking Skills

Gwen Dewar, PHD

"Debate forces kids to consider two perspectives, not just their own. It encourages kids to anticipate objections to their arguments. To answer counterarguments. To weigh the evidence on both sides.... I’m inclined to think that adding debate to the curriculum is a good investment for society as a whole. We might be laying the foundation for a more enlightened culture, with better-informed voters, more rational jurors, and citizens more appreciative of science."
Alfred Snider, World Debate Institute

Debate as a method for improving critical thinking and creativity

Alfred Snider, World Debate Institute

"Debaters become better critical thinkers and communicators. Debaters improve their social interactions. Debaters improve their personal expression. Debaters are more often seen as leaders. Debaters tend to become citizens in the real sense of the word -- informed, active, participating, a force to be harnessed for the betterment of all."
Dee Burek and Carol Losos

Debate: Where Speaking and Listening Come First

Dee Burek and Carol Losos

"According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook (2010), the top four skills that employers seek are outcomes of our... debate program: 1) communication skills (verbal), 2) strong work ethic, 3) teamwork skills (works well with others), and 4) analytical skills. “Each year, without fail, strong communication skills come out on top”
Paul Deards, Education Week

Making the Case for Teaching Students to Debate

Paul Deards, Education Week

"Learning to debate supports and enhances brain development in kids, encouraging the natural shift from concrete to abstract processing and increasing their capabilities to problem solve, plan, and think critically."
Rodie Akerman, Ian Neale, Research Report

Debating the evidence: an international review of current situations and perceptions

Rodie Akerman, Ian Neale, Research Report

"A range of studies suggest that debate activities have a practical and meaningful influence on the attainment of young people from diverse backgrounds, and in particular on the development of literacy skills... Debate activities have the power to contribute not only to educational achievement, but also to a range of wider outcomes that work towards developing more rounded and confident individuals for later life. An important finding is the positive influence that participating in debate activities can have on improving children’s and young people’s confidence, aspirations around education and cultural awareness."

How It All Started

DebateAble LLC was founded in 2012, with the goal of bringing a debate club program to elementary students in Seattle neighborhood schools... and beyond. Here's some   information about the founders. 

Elizabeth Kruse, Director and Co-Founder

Elizabeth practiced law in New York City for more than 10 years as an Assistant District Attorney, prosecuting homicides and other felony criminal cases. Since relocating to Seattle in 2002, Elizabeth has worked in and out of the legal field. In 2011, she was employed as the Debate Program Manager for Successful Schools in Action where she ran an elementary, inter school debate program, before founding DebateAble in 2012. Elizabeth and her husband, John, have two sons in Seattle Public Schools. 

"One of the highlights of my work with SSIA was their overwhelmingly successful Debate Tournament, where every participating student-- regardless of personal skill set--demonstrated intellect, courage, critical thinking skills and empathy during the debate competitions. I am very excited to introduce debate club and tournaments and all that comes with them to another wonderful group of fourth and fifth grade students."

Margot Saharic, Co-Founder

Margot spent 16 years in Sales, Marketing, and Channel Management in New York and Seattle. Margot and her husband, Troy, have two daughters in Seattle Public Schools. 

"My older daughter participated in a program similar to DebateAble's when she was in 4th grade. It was such a fun and educational experience for her that when the program was no longer available, I reached out to Elizabeth to see how we could bring a debate club program specifically for elementary students back to her school, as well as to other schools in the area. I hope that with our engaging curriculum and debate matches and tournaments we can foster a love of inquiry, linguistics, civilized debate and discussion among our elementary students. I look forward to growing this program to include other elementary and K-8 schools in the future."