Our Mission

For more than a decade ModernBrain and our collaborators have worked to help students to become independent learners. We teach critical thinking through oral communication. Our mission is to help students and teachers develop confidence, build self efficacy, conflict resolution, and intercultural skills. We believe that the most important skill is to learn how to learn.

  • Progress in any learning environment comes from hard work, but too often this work lacks a sound theoretical foundation.

  • The model of learning where instructors lecture and students passively engage in the course’s content is quickly being understood as ineffective.

  • But engagement is not sufficient.

  • Instructors must skilled in their discipline and also effectively mentor student self efficacy, give effective feedback, and teach self assessment in order for students to acquire the 21st century literacies necessary to thrive in today’s schools and workplaces.

  • We teach an evidence based system of theory and applied learning, developing students critical faculties through self assessment, feedback, and coaching.

Why our process works

Critical thinking, communication, and wages.

When the Martin Prosperity Institute looked at data from 800 occupations over a period of 63 years. They found increasing evidence that a combination of analytical skills and social skills produced the largest lifetime effects on wages.

Which skills boost success?

“[S]ocial intelligence skills, like teamwork, communication, people management”

At one time, students could learn a specific skill like:

  • Math

  • Biology

  • Law

Now, students need to be able to identify a problem, decide which tools to use (math, biology,law, etc), solve the problem, and communicate their methods and solution in an effective and persuasive manner while adapting to their audience.

Only one small part of that process falls within the traditional model of education. Each part is necessary but not sufficient for a student to thrive and adapt to the coming future.

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Why Join Us?

1. We produce great debaters

  • Every year that we have coached at the college level, someone that we coached was a national champion

  • Top speaker awards at prestigious K-12 debate tournaments like Harvard-Westlake

  • Irvine students won awards for storytelling from New York Times best selling children’s author Adriana Mather

  • More than 90% of ModernBrain’s students have won an award this year and most have won multiple awards.

2. We create great results at any age and any skill level

  • Our students consistently outperform other teams at tournaments, taking home more awards than any other school.

  • We average at least one award per student per tournament, and many students take home 2-3 awards.

  • Our students win awards and place at tournaments with only 1-2 months training.

  • Most programs only teach one thing well. Our students win in every category of speech: limited preparation, memorized speeches, acting, and debate.

  • We have coached national champion speakers for nearly every year for the last ten years.

  • We invented a new form of competition that puts the focus on learning and thinking.

  • We have taught our techniques to students and teachers in the US and China.

  • We have worked with award winning community organizations like ACLA in order to bring high quality educational opportunities to those in need.

  • We have helped award winning community colleges provide even better service to their communities through our evidence based, data driven process.

3. We are the only debate group that teaches students to create and innovate

  • Our students created a new speech and debate event. Then, they got a university to run a competition with that event. And we have now won most of the awards in that event: Original Narrative.

4. Success in life proves our system works

  • Our students get into top schools like UC Berkeley & Stanford, but what they do after college is even more exceptional:

    • Palantir Interns - Innovative company founded by Peter Thiel

    • Harvard Law School

    • Latham and Watkins - One of the top law firms in the world

    • Published in top tier journals - Nearly impossible for an undergrad

    • Startups in Silicon Valley

  • Our students come from many backgrounds. Debate helps them all

  • One of our ESL debate students won a Goldman Sachs global leader competition by developing a business plan and then defending it through debate

5. What do our students learn in class?

  • We give our students more chances to practice than any other program

    • Nationwide, 78% of public speaking classes have four or fewer speeches

    • Our students give at least 2 speeches per class

  • To improve critical thinking, every class includes

    • Oral assessments required by all students each class meeting

    • In class written assignments

    • Constructing evidenced arguments - making inferences

  • We teach every type of speaking to create a well rounded performer

    • Limited Preparation speaking - 2 minutes to prepare a 5 minute speech

      • Teaches critical thinking and how react quickly

    • Memorized speeches

      • Research, writing skills, and interview skills

    • Acting

      • Teaches students how to understand and capture an audience's attention using emotions

    • Debate

      • Students learn how to analyze evidence, make persuasive arguments, and respond to opposition