High School Debate Coach Evaluates Presidential Debates
Teaches students to pay attention to body language
ANCHORAGE - Service High School debate coach Chad Sant -- a self-proclaimed "debate nerd" -- says he listens for specific detail in the presidental debates.
However, he knows that is not what always wins an election or a debate.
"Those guffaws, those blanches, the raising of the eyebrows, nodding the head yes or no," Sant pointed out -- clues of what a candidate really thinks or how they feel in the debate.
When coaching, he shows students how they can get a different perspective on the 90 percent of communication that is not verbal. "It's fun to just hit mute and watch their actions and have the kids comment on what they're seeing." He said when he asks students what they feel more strongly about, they say it's more how they say something.
President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney faced off three times... each debate a different format.
At last week's town hall, undecided voters had the opportunity to ask the candidates a question that was important to them. Sant said he liked the format that engaged the audience. "It was much more public oriented. It didn't seem like they were so psychically distanced from the moderator or from the people that were in the audience."
Tonight's debate, like the first one, had established topics, giving the two men a chance to use skills taught in high school. He said, "In the end, its gonna be who did their homework... or who hired the best team of homework-ers."
Voters have just two weeks to decide which candidate resonates with them: whether it's on the grounds of policy plans or body language that will ultimately secure their decision for president.