Augsburg College reaches bilingual students through Spanish debates

Augsburg College in Minneapolis is hosting a Spanish debate tournament today for Twin Cities middle and high school students.

About 40 students are expected to take part in the debate, which runs until 7 p.m. It will focus on whether the United States should increase economic activity with Mexico.

The tournament aims to introduce more bilingual students to debate, said David Song, program manager of Augsburg's Minnesota Urban Debate League. It also serves students who are recent immigrants who likely would not have joined an English-language debate team.

Song said bilingual students involved in debate tend to be more proficient in both English and Spanish.

"Having the debates in Spanish is such a great opportunity for kids who are not yet confident in their fluency in English," Song said. "But it's also an opportunity for students who have done debate in English, but have found it challenging in some respect."

The Minnesota Debate League is considering adding a Somali language debate tournament next year, he said.