By Katherine Gu
The transition from middle school to high school is regarded as both stressful and liberating, as it opens students up to much more diverse classes and choices for extracurriculars. A lot of common academic activities include things like the science team and math olympiad. Unlike all the other extracurricular activities, however, debate will expand any student’s understanding of the world around them as well as give students a chance to offer their complex argumentative skills on a broad platform.
Here are four reasons to choose debate over any extracurricular:
1. Understanding real world context.
Oftentimes, the stress of the high school environments forces students to focus purely on academics, which disconnects them from the events happening in the world. However, as students learn more about historical events and literature in school, understanding the current political climate allows students to envision how the events in the past influence the society we have today. Moreover, because debate requires students to research opposing interpretations of a conflict or event, they can truly come to appreciate how important discourse is, especially in today’s societal divide.
2. Learning presentation skills.
Being able to speak confidently and smoothly is considered one of the most important skills both in and out of school. Being able to persuade others charismatically becomes increasingly important if the student chooses to pursue careers in fields such as corporate or legal settings. Many young students today are finding it more difficult to be charismatic and persuasive with individuals they just meet. Debate teaches the ability to think quickly and convey those thoughts fluidly, since there is limited time to prep their speeches and present without anything written out.
3. Formulating strong arguments.
After learning the “claim, warrant, and impact” structure at practice--a skills taught at Lumos debate camp sessions--debaters apply the logic they have learned in debate into schoolwork, like essays or class discussions. Possessing these sorts of skills allows students to have strong arguments both in and out of debate, which is especially important when they are trying to prove something in writing.
Debate as an activity elevates a students ability to pick out a logical flaw. This gives them the opportunity to strengthen analysis, which is an element of writing English and Social Studies teachers consider the most crucial and persuasive in a good paper.
Further, coming up with a unique thesis in a paper might be hard for some. Debate, however, teaches students to think of a variety of arguments for a single topic, which in turn teaches students to think outside of the box and formulate logical ways of structuring an argument.
4. Debate inspires young teenagers to stand up, and speak out.
Most importantly, because debate events like Public Forum open students up to discovering the current events that have international effects, they can form their own opinions while understanding all sides of a conflict. Through all the rounds that a debater experiences, the confidence they build in their voice transfers into all parts of life, whether it is expressing an idea in English class or speaking about a serious political issue. Debate teaches students to research every side and perspective of an event, giving them the opportunity to formulate an educated and strong argument that they can truly put out to the world.