No debate about it: he helps a lot of students

By Leilani Kimura
Ka Lā staff writer

Ever been afraid of public speaking? Douglas Raphael sure was until he learned to conquer it. Now, Raphael is a speech professor at Honolulu Community College helping others overcome their own fears about public speaking. And he is co-adviser for the
HonCC debate team.
During his college years, Raphael took a speech class and was also on a debate team. His personal feeling of the debate team was this: “Being on the debate team in college helped tremendously as far as getting rid of those fears and being more comfortable with expressing different ideas and different points of view.”
Raphael,who is from Long Beach, Calif., came to Hawaii in July 2003 for graduate school. After starting classes at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, he found that majoring in speech was his calling. He also thought that being a speech teacher was a goodcareer path forhimself.
After being a teacher’s assistant for a year in the fall of 2004, Raphael decided to follow his teaching goal completely. His result? He taught at many different schools such as Kapiolani Community College, Windward CommunityCollege, Hawaii Pacific University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and is now at Honolulu CommunityCollege; all in the speech department. He had been teaching at HonCC since the fall of 2005.
Raphael also is the co-adviserfor the debate team. After enjoying and learning from his debate years, why wouldn’t he want to go back and teach it to others? The debate team meets up twice a week for practice rounds. In the practice rounds, a topic is given,the debate team is split in two with each side arguing their supporting positions, and then the opposing team has to make a revert.The debate team also has competitions with other schools such as: UH, HPU, WCC and mainlandschools who fly to Hawaii forcompetitions.
Outside of school and debates, Raphael has his own special hobbies: swimming, surfing, playing tennis, and is currently getting ready to run this year’s Honolulu Marathon.
When asked to give students advice about speaking or just lifeitself, this is what he said: “Keep at it. Don’t be worried if the first time you try something and it doesn’t go very well. You just gotta keep trying it and keep doing it, and it just gets better with time. Almost everything increases with practice.”

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