Why Debate is Good– Shaping Arguments

This article is by a former debater and rising comedian who has put the skills she’s learned from debating in high school to excellent usage. She indicates that when she was just going into high school, she was constantly argumentative but didn’t really have any direction or form of her arguments, and that joining the debate team helped her out with that (she even indicates that it helped her convince her parents to let her drink in her house). I think this is another skill that is underrepresented as something that debate helps teach– shaping arguments. While most teenagers and young adults are always wanting to argue, they don’t really know how, and they often times present ineffective and useless arguments just to have them. Debating helps teach a person how to formulate a position in an intelligent manner, making their point go across more effectively and efficiently. This in turn helps teach not only the debater how to convey arguments better, but also the person who the debater is arguing with different argument styles and points.


Why Debate is Good– Essay Writing

Debate teaches essay writing skills. Because a debater is required to process information so quickly (as discussed in a previous post about reading skills), a debater is also able to regurgitate that information rapidly. That process of regurgitation allows a debater to make fluffy and long sentences quickly and efficiently. It doesn’t seem like it would make a major difference, but every debater that I’ve talked to has expressed the opinion that their time in debate has elevated their abilities to write essays. This is especially useful as college progresses, because each student will be required to write larger amounts more frequently. Thus, this skill is incredibly useful for progressing throughout a debater’s education.

Why Debate is Good– Reading Skills

A skill that isn’t really discussed that debate helps cultivate is the ability to read effectively. Because of the short time requirements that each individual competitor is forced to deal with during a debate, each debater much be able to parse through information at an incredibly rapid pace. As such, a debater is forced to learn how to read and process information at incredible rates. And because of the speed in which one is forced to speak during a policy debate, a policy debater specifically learns how to process information quickly as s/he speaks out loud. This has helped me with school and throughout my daily life, as I am capable of comprehending something that I am forced to read very quickly. It’s surprising to me that this skill isn’t discussed very often in articles and posts about the value of debating, because it’s certainly an indispensable skill for one’s every and work life. I suppose it’s just something that people don’t think about very often.

How To Debate Without Being A Jerk

I think this is a really good explanation of how people should debate.

The Awkward Agent's Archive

Guess which two tiers of the pyramid I’m sick of seeing.
Source: ZME Science

So, I’ve noticed a rather upsetting trend lately as I followed some of my favorite personalities online. It seems that few people know the etiquette of debate.

Now, this is not focused on anyone person. This is a problem that has sprung up on many occasions with many people. I don’t want this to feel like an attack on people. This is a legitimate plea for civility among intelligent people.

I think most of the problem can be traced on the focus of debate. Far to often when civil debate goes awry, it seems that the conflict is focused less on the topic brought up and more the person who brought it up.

When someone online offers a position other than one you prescribe to, it’s perfectly fine – helpful even – to offer your own…

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Why Debate is Good– Learning to Think

One of the most difficult things for high school and college students to do is think on their own. We’re taught to always follow the instructions and do things like listen to authority figures. Even when we’re told to think outside of the box, we’re told to not get too far outside of it. For me, debate was the one thing that really taught me to get as far away from the box while thinking as possible; it taught me how to think for myself and how to think critically about any issue that occurs. I think the reason for this is the fact that debaters are forced to switch sides on a position depending on the debate. For example, I have defended that warming is real, anthropogenic, and will cause total extinction of every living thing on this planet one debate, while defending the exact opposite in the next debate. I have argued that American power projection is the best thing ever and the worst thing ever. I have argued that the capitalist system of production is the best economic system and I have argued that it is the worst economic system. The fact that a debater is forced to critically think about sides of a given topic means that s/he is forced to understand that there are merits to both sides of almost every single argument. Being exposed to the sheer amount of arguments on each side of a position really opens one’s mind up.