Debating! What’s in it for you?

Reading the newspapers, undertaking research online, marshalling knowledge, evaluating principles, structuring arguments, developing rhetoric, polishing style and standing up in front of a critical audience to present a team line; what’s not to like about debating? At every level high school students who are interested in current affairs and are keen to learn how to speak in public have the opportunity to stretch themselves intellectually, to interact competitively and to meet other debaters from all over the country.
Some competitions demand a fortnight’s research into topics such as whether development aid should be tied to human rights; others require competitors to be able, at fifteen minutes’ notice, to construct an argument on current issues such as banning size zero models or introducing positive discrimination in higher education. Getting into the habit of acquiring this sort of knowledge will be a valuable asset for all sorts of interviews in the future!
Outwith and beyond school, opportunities continue. The accolade of representing one’s country is the ultimate prize for which committed debaters strive.
No successful team can ever rest on its laurels however; this is particularly the case in schools where no sooner have debaters tallied up their wins than they are off to a prestigious university and the coach has to start again. If you feel that you have the drive, energy and sense of humour (you do need one of those!) to pursue challenges such as these and to travel the country and maybe even the world in the process, the first step is to sign up with your local Debating Club. They are looking forward to seeing you!

So why Debate?

“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.”
Mahatma Ghandi

The process of debate offers profound and lasting benefits for individuals, for societies and for the global community as a whole. With its emphasis on critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork, debate teaches skills that serve individuals well in school, in the workplace, in political life and in fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies. Once students have learned how to debate, they are better able to critically examine the pronouncements of their political representatives and to make informed judgments about crucial issues.