Why debate is essential for students

The debate team can be the backbone of any high school, but it’s often not seen as an important extracurricular activity by students who are more interested in sports or other school activities. Debate can teach you a lot about communication, public speaking, and critical thinking, though—skills that will last you well into adulthood and make you much more employable than most of your classmates! Here are 7 important reasons why students should learn debate in high school...
7 Important Reasons Why Students Should Learn Debate

1) Debate Helps Build Confidence

Learning how to debate gives students experience in public speaking and communication, which can help them feel more confident in their ability to speak before others. Public speaking is one of those things that many people are afraid of, but practicing debate will help students learn how to tackle it in other areas.

2) Debate Teaches Communication Skills

Debaters must speak clearly and persuasively if they hope to win their case. Debate will help teach your students how to communicate effectively. Clear communication is a crucial skill for anyone who wants to succeed in business, science, engineering or any other field, so it’s a good idea for kids to learn these communication skills early on.

3) Debate Teaches Critical Thinking

In debate, you learn how to think critically about a topic. You are not just parroting your views to support a certain position—you must also defend your opponent’s views with logical reasoning and sound arguments of your own. This teaches you how to approach situations where opinions differ, no matter what career path you choose. It teaches that there are many sides to any given situation, which will help students become better citizens and leaders in their community after graduation.

4) Debate Teaches How to Reason Effectively

By creating an environment in which students are challenged to argue persuasively and think critically, debate improves critical-thinking skills. Effective communicators must be able to marshal data from many sources, weigh them against each other, and create convincing arguments that are grounded in logic. In addition, being able to make a good argument requires knowing how to listen actively and respond thoughtfully to criticisms of one’s own position.

5) Debate Teaches Self-Discipline

Our country is more divided than ever. Schools across North America are struggling to find ways to teach students how to engage respectfully with their peers who have opposing opinions. One of those ways is debate. Debate teaches students to listen and respond thoughtfully without immediately attacking an idea or an individual. Through speech and debate, students hone skills in public speaking, impromptu speaking, formal debating and cross-examination. Most importantly, debate teaches that a person can hold a dissenting opinion without being morally corrupt or intellectually inferior.

6) Debate Teaches Leadership Skills

Speaking in public is no small feat and it helps develop leadership skills by encouraging self-confidence. Debaters are often more comfortable in leadership roles because they’ve had so much practice communicating confidently.

7) Debate is Fun! (really!)

Debate is fun and engaging. Debaters learn to argue, ask questions, listen, weigh evidence, and make decisions. This process teaches students how to communicate their own ideas in an effective way. Want to convince your parents to buy you the cool holiday present? Learn to debate so you can convey your argument successfully!

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