v., -bat·ed, -bat·ing, -bates. v.intr. ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ v.tr. ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ n. ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ A discussion involving opposing points; an argument.

Deliberation; consideration: passed the motion with little debate. A formal contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams defend and attack a given proposition. Obsolete. Conflict; strife. To deliberate on; consider. To dispute or argue about. To discuss or argue (a question, for example) formally. Obsolete. To fight or argue for or over. To consider something; deliberate. To engage in argument by discussing opposing points. To engage in a formal discussion or argument. See synonyms at discuss. Obsolete. To fight or quarrel.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/debate#ixzz1FKiGouKT un 1. a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints: a debate in the Senate on farm price supports. 2. a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers. 3. deliberation; consideration. 4. Archaic . strife; contention. ±verb (used without object) 5. to engage in argument or discussion, as in a legislative or public assembly: When we left, the men were still debating. 6. to participate in a formal debate. 7. to deliberate; consider: I debated with myself whether to tell them the truth or not. 8.

Obsolete . to fight; quarrel. ±verb (used with object) 9. to argue or discuss (a question, issue, or the like), as in a legislative or public assembly: They debated the matter of free will. 10. to dispute or disagree about: The homeowners debated the value of a road on the island. 11. to engage in formal argumentation or disputation with (another person, group, etc.): Jones will debate Smith. Harvard will debate Princeton. 12. to deliberate upon; consider: He debated his decision in the matter. 13. Archaic . to contend for or over.

Debates in the middle school classroom
A plan for staging a debate, including choosing a topic, "debate do's," and assessment. A for grades 6±8 By Pamela Myrick and Sharon Pearson

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Arts of persuasion Strategies for teaching middle school students to think critically, analyze persuasive arguments, and use speaking and writing to persuade others. Page 2

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‡ ‡ Caucusing in the middle school classroom: Caucusing enables students to practice the elements of responsible citizenship, including persuasive writing and speaking. Government "kooshball" debate: Students will be presented with a situation where they will have to list pros and cons of an Islamic government and a democratic government. The students will be assigned one side of the argument and will write statements that support their side to be used in a debate. This lesson should follow a study of Islamic government and culture. Persuasive speaking: A classroom model: A plan for teaching persuasive speaking in the middle school classroom, with tips for speakers and on how to recognize bias. Learn more about debates, discussions, persuasive speaking, and speech.


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Debates allow students to become more proficient in speaking. Questioning allows students to explain and to explore additional facts for clarification purposes. Before the debate . reading. deleting less important information. both formal and informal. Images and other media may be licensed separately. develop vocabulary and read to support an opinion. Legal The text of this page is copyright ©2004. Debates offer that natural avenue for teachers to facilitate analytical thinking. Classroom debates enable students to work cooperatively. Print ‡ Print Share ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Email Delicious Digg Facebook StumbleUpon Why do we have dress codes? Why is homework necessary? Why do we have assigned seats? Why can¶t we talk? Why can¶t we tattoo our bodies using board markers? Why can¶t we use lotion in class? Why do have to be quiet during announcements? Why? Why? Why? Students are naturally inquisitive and sometimes quite spirited ³know it alls´. brainstorm ideas. Students are identifying the main idea. Through researching students are taking notes to summarize. categorizing. to question. researching. see captions for more information and read the fine print. In addition. not harder. we can channel student energy into a positive learning assignment. and they promote reasoning as well as communication skills. Why not capitalize on this somewhat annoying behavior? As teachers we need to work smarter. and to clarify information. These comprehension skills are essential for students to become competent readers and writers linking debates directly to the entire curriculum.Please read our disclaimer for lesson plans. and labeling information. collapsing. Using students¶ natural talent of arguing and challenging authority. and writing skills. See terms of use. Fact-filled and passionate debates provide the incentive for students of all academic and socioeconomic levels to become engaged and to participate in the debate process. debates. are a vehicle for students to express their opinions assertively in a respectful manner on a relevant issue or topic.

A student moderator should be able to speak clearly and keep everyone on task in a respec tful manner.) Opening and closing statements . To ensure equitable participation. and clarify their positions on an issue. after three folds. bold letters. Three to five resources are recommended. Source #1: Facts: Source #2: Facts: Source #3: Facts: The debate Select a moderator The moderator directs the debate and may be the teacher or a student. justify. The teacher can divide the class into pros and cons. The opposing or negative side. or students may choose their own stance. supports a proposition. In this informal debate plan. It will make your media visit much more pleasant! Opinion: I believe the United States should have bombed Hiroshima.A debate is a discussion in which participants articulate. We strongly suggest students understand the model before the media visit. students should not speak until all students have had an opportunity to voice their opinion. as students study World War II. opposes the proposition. Ensuring equitable participation Distribute 4 x 6 index cards. rebuttals attempt to refute statements made by the opposing side. Fact gathering should support the student¶s point of view. Students will track their participation by making a fold in the card every time they speak. Students need a structured framework to guide their research. Select the topic The topic for a debate evolves from what you are teaching. the affirmative side and the negative side. For example. The moderator formally introduces the debate topic and recognizes students to speak alternating between pro and con. Let the research begin Allow one to three class periods for research. The affirmative side. Other debates topics may include: Should recycling be required? Should all the countries of Europe be required to join the European Union? Should North Carolina begin a lottery? Take a stand Who¶s pro and who¶s con? Every debate has two sides. On the front side. A template for taking notes is shown below. ³con´. ³pro´. students will write their names and either PRO or CON in large. Raising the card will indicate the student¶s request to speak. (The back of the index card will be used in a postdebate activity. students could debate the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Reflections The index card used to designate pro or con will now be used for debate reflections. designed for student success. students need expectations spelled out. Suggestions include summarizing the debate in a paragraph or a poem. Rubric This rubric. billboard. Speak only when recognized by the moderator. or a bumper sticker. Opening statements should include each side¶s opinion with a brief overview of the supporting evidence. guides teachers and students in the evaluation process. The debate ends with closing statements from both sides. Debate do¶s As we all know. or the teacher may appoint students. The debate begins with an opening statement from the pro side. After the debate The debate is over. Requirement Research Guide ‡ Facts listed 3-5 sources 30 Number of Points Points Earned . Avoid inappropriate noises. Listen attentively Be respectful and supportive of peers. and loud enough to be heard by the audience. work smarter and not harder. Speak with passion and excitement. Extra credit can be awarded to the opening and closing speakers and to students who use more resources. Setting the tone for the debate. Speak clearly. or creating a graphic that represents their opinion. We suggest that these Debate Do¶s be posted in the classroom and referenced often: ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Be polite and courteous. the students should have a prepared speech (one to three minutes). Allow others to express their opinions. We like to staple the rubric to the completed assignments. designing a cartoon. Use grammatically correct language. followed by a statement from the con side. and it¶s time to review and evaluate. There again.Students may volunteer to make opening and closing statements. The planned closing statements (one to three minutes) should restate the opinions with strong supporting evidence. students will express their reactions to the debate in a media of their choice. Again the pro side speaks first followed by the con side. do not monopolize the debate. Using the back of the card. slowly.

The goal is to come up with a good argument in a short amount of time. This can give a team special strengths in certain topics. debate teams are becoming quite popular again. Sometimes each team member speaks. Typically in a debate two teams are presented a resolution or topic that they will debate. . a debate is an argument with rules. Debating rules will vary from one competition to another. Students are encouraged to read about current events and controversial issues to prepare for debates. At a debate. one team will argue in favor (pro) and the other will argue in opposition (con). What Is a Debate? Basically.documented Index Cards ‡ Name and position on front 30 Reflection on back Debate Do¶s Teacher observation 30 All work is neat. and sometimes the team selects one member to speak for the entire team. and especially in urban schools. and each team is given a set period of time to prepare an argument. and turned in on 10 time. legible. a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Debating competitions used to be populated by nerds in white-starched shirts and ties. Those days are over! In schools across the world. Students typically don't know their debate subjects ahead of time. and there are several formats for debates. Extra Credit Grade LEARN NC. Debates can involve single-member teams or teams that include several students. Sometimes school teams will encourage individual team members to choose special topics and focus on them.

research. . teams may have only 3 minutes to come up with their rebuttal. analytical and argumentation skills to the next generation of communicators for Christ's kingdom. Research has shown that participation in debates increases students' academic performance and increases their chances of earning a college degree. One team is usually declared the winner and that team will advance to a new round. Students benefit from preparing for debates by honing their research skills. For instance.. regional. A school team will prepare to compete in local.skills that are often overlooked or weakly developed in other school subjects. Urban debate teams are making a strong comeback. More Debate Tips How to Start a Club How to Speak in Public How to Read a Newspaper Teaching with Homeschool Debate A Help Article from the CHOC Board Homeschool Debate is a great way to teach communication.A judge or a panel of judges will assign points based on the strength of the arguments and the professionalism of the teams. Many colleges offer summer programs that teach debating skills. you should do some research to find out how to start a club in your school. Debate Facts By participating on a debate team. students learn the art of persuasion. If you are interested. and national tournaments.. Students can start a debate team in their own schools. Students also benefit from the experience of speaking in public. A typical debate includes: Students hear the topic and take positions (pro and con) Teams discuss their topics and come up with statements Teams deliver their statements and offer main points Students discuss the opposition's argument and come up with rebuttals Rebuttals delivered Closing statements made Each of these sessions is timed.

Debate also makes a great multi-subject teaching unit. One team will take the "for" position while the other will argue the "against" position. current events. Value. and research efforts are factored in. .) Debate can cover the topics of government. business. Evidence from experts is considered very important for validating a position. topics. (Example: Cooperation is superior to competition). (Oregon considers 130 fifty-minute class hours to equal 1 credit which equates to 108 sixty-minute clock hours for 1 credit and 54 sixty minute clock hours for 1/2 credit. While evidence is still used. worldview study. and a full year of debate can create 1 to 2 (or more) high school credits per year when the skills. it is a one to one debate between the person for and the person against. speech. ie. club or event time. debate argues over the merits of a certain value or ethic. Types of High School Debate The two most common types of debate used in high school are policy debate and value (or Lincoln-Douglas) debate. Policy debate argues over whether a certain government policy should be reformed. It is an excellent way to learn necessary skills while you immediately apply them. or Lincoln-Douglas. research skills. Beginning with Debate Many debaters begin by simply joining a club and learning as they go. Policy debate is a team event requiring a two-man team on each side of the issue. economics. politics. US Constitution. and thus policy debate requires substantial research to defend a position. Value debate is an individual event. less emphasis is placed on it and more emphasis is placed on persuasion through good logic and fluid presentation. as well as communication and argumentation. law. rhetorical skills. US History.

Christian Communicators Northwest (CCNW) CCNW exists for Christian homeschooling families in Oregon and Washington who are looking for a team policy debate program with local control that is responsive to the needs and interests of the participating families. Finding a Local Debate League There are two main Christian homeschool debate leagues in our area. as well as an established tournament season that remains locally based. CCNW sponsors introductory workshops. Both leagues have debate events throughout their tournament season which are open to the general public. The age requirement for participation is 14 to 18 years of age by January 1st. CCNW practices a more structured policy debate style which discourages the abusive forms this style has acquired in many high school and college leagues (such as the practice of reading huge volumes of evidence quickly with little thought to persuasive logic or presentation). . resources to find an existing club. Tournament season involves 4 events from January through April. National Christian Forensics & Communication Association (NCFCA) NCFCA is a national association which promotes competitive speech and both policy and values style debate events through member chapters. so you can observe an event before committing to a league. helpful mentorship to new clubs. the CCNW debate club in the Portland metro area is the Beaverton Homeschool Debate Club which is open to all Christian homeschooled students who meet CCNW eligibility standards and are willing to travel to their meeting location in Beaverton.Most debate clubs offer theory classes that will teach the basic theories of debate argumentation and their league's rules as each league will have slightly different rules of engagement. Currently.

Qualifying tournaments and elimination events occur throughout each NCFCA region culminating in the National Invitational Tournament in June. Read a Good Debate Book There are a number of good Argumentation and Debate books available.Participants must be between the ages of 12 and 18 by January 1st. All homeschool debate clubs run by the efforts of volunteers. shelley@oregon-ncfca. Contact them at antithesis-debate@comcast. the Beaverton Homeschool Debate Club is part of the CCNW League and appreciates the help of Christian adult volunteers (ages 20 and above) from the general . encourage the general Christian public to participate as a volunteer judge.org or the Washington State Representative Brad Frye at WA_StateRep@NCFCA. especially in the CCNW League. Volunteer as a Debate Judge As a parent. The most common is "An Introduction to Argumentation and Debate" by Christy Shipe which is considered by many to be the main primer for homeschool high school debate students. Locally for the Westside.org Currently. Contact the local leagues mentioned above for a club near you that can use your services as a volunteer judge.net or call 541-736-9054. Another good resource is "It Takes A Parent" or "Coaching Policy Debate" by Terry and Deanna Stollar of Eugene's Anti-Thesis Debate Club. please contact either the Oregon State Representative. experiencing the subject first-hand can be very beneficial before attempting to teach or reinforce it to our children. Shelley Miller. Oregon is part of Region 2 which incorporates 6 western states. For more information about joining a NCFCA competitive debate club (or starting your own local chapter). Other speech and persuasion books may be found at the local curriculum store Exodus Books. Many clubs. It is a great way to learn debate skills for yourself (since we adults are too old to have the fun of debating in these leagues!). Rainmakers is the NCFCA club for the Portland metro area.

. or before becoming involved. Teaching Subjects as a Unit with Debate Some study areas are a "natural" to teach through debate. Communication Skills Debate naturally encompasses learning good speaking skills. (good ole' Charlotte Mason type narration).community as judges. good ennunciation and pleasant phrasing. They should also practice using good eye contact with their audience. During debate events it will be important to convey your team's position with clear communication and application to the judge. In preparation of debating events. Debaters should continue to practice good speaking skills in their debate rounds.com if you are interested in volunteering as a judge for their Club. The most intelligent argument will be lost if it can't be understood or heard due to poor speaking skills. either directly in conjunction with debate or indirectly as a supplement. We've listed our favorite resources in each subject area that we found helpful to prepare a current or future debate student. have your student practice reading selections from stories or factual articles while speaking clearly with a loud voice. The piece should be read with some emotional character to avoid being monotone but should not be overly-dramatic. You may see their volunteer judge orientation on their website here. Debaters are judged on these speaking skills individually during the debate rounds. A step further is to have them then explain what they just read in their own words. taking time to look up and speak to the listeners as they recite. This will strengthen their comprehension and impromptu skills. Please contact the Beaverton coach directly at gtnas5@yahoo.

We tell our students "Google is our friend" and have taught them how to do "advance" searches to narrow the information down. Our favorite quick studies in logic and reasoning are the two Bluedorn books "The Fallacy Detective" and "The Thinking Toolbox. The Fallacy Detective website has a number of informative and fun articles. Debaters gain research skills as they sift through information looking for expert sources and understanding of their topics. with the research section of the library. both policy and values debate arguments are supported by evidence from experts. Professional periodicals will also be accessible at the libary (as well as on the internet if you have journal access. "The Student Daily News" provides online daily news selections analyzed from a Christian perspective.) Talk with the research librarian to learn how to effectively use the reference section. Black's Law Dictionary and other reference materials will be available there. additional logic resources.Research and Internet Skills Each debate topic will require study to understand the topic and the government policy about which the resolution is arguing. if you haven't already. Analysis of Current Events To gain critical reading and analysis skills about current events. Also. Parents can sign up to . Become familiar. Students may go online and read the selections and then take the optional weekly quizzes." Both of those books teach basic logic and reasoning skills in a fun way that will be very useful in debate. It is helpful to have a computer connected to the internet to practice research skills. and provides sign up for a periodic newsletter. Debate is an excellent vehicle to teach and practice logic skills. Logic and Reasoning Skills Application of good logic and reasoning is crucial in argumentation.

which should adhere to our Constitutional standard (contrary to what some modern politicians may think). from a Christian perspective. Since team policy debate argues federal policy. In its coverage of the Constitution. it does end up covering a lot of how our American system of government works--and naturally so since it is the document that created that system.have the answer key to the weekly quizzes emailed directly to them. however. We highly recommend it for all policy debate students who have not had a government course prior to beginning debate. "The Story of the Constitution" is not meant to be a full government course.) Government and Economics Since the debate argument in "policy debate" is over whether a certain government policy should be changed. Order the level for your student. An excellent free resource for current politics. how administrative agencies enforce them. . We would add to this "The Story of the Constitution" published by Christian Liberty Press. and that it does well. we suggest "Government 101: A Beginner's Guide to the Federal Government" by Laurie Petrisin. how judicial decisions interpret the laws. understanding some basic federal government and economic principles is essential for effective policy debate arguments. (Top Story and World levels would be appropriate for upper junior high and high school. Government Study For a first federal government primer. If your student has not already studied government or economics separately. the annual policy topic will offer a natural "launching pad" to study how federal laws are made. however it does mean to study the founding document of our American government. a thorough understanding of the Constitution is very beneficial and rounds the student's studies for both debate and government as well as helping them become a well-informed citizen. This short booklet provides a concise overview of our American system of federal government and how laws are made. The magazine subscription (about $25 per year) is arranged according to student grade level. God's World News also provides a monthly printed magazine that discusses current events from a Christian perspective. and how the laws affect the economics of our nation.

state. and this book covers both the history and structure of our American form of government with insightful commentary and important Supreme Court cases that have transformed our government from what it was originally intended to be to the progressive form it is today. round out with Clarence Carson's "Basic Government" in whole or in section (especially the court case studies). it lays a solid foundation of why the American system of free enterprise is based upon Christian principles and why it provides both prosperity and freedom for its citizens and how government intervention interfers with both. we recommend Notgrass "Exploring Government. This is not a concise book. Begin with "How We Live" by Fred C. it provides a good overview of our different government systems (federal. For those looking for supplemental historical depth. Although short. For the motivated who want to dig deeper in their study of government. While we have many favorite economics books. The addition of the original source documents book ("We Hold These Truths") adds further depth beyond the standard textbook. This short booklet packs a lot of information into its quick read. Optional tests provide materials for a full separate course. but Carson's works are brilliant. Economics Study We recommend that all policy debate students read "Free Enterprise Economics in America" by Tom Rose. Their website provides a number of online resources.If desired. and local) and the concepts of civic duty. . Wall Builders "Of God and Government" video series provides a detailed history of the Christian heritage behind our American system of government which is often glossed over in other curriculum (and denied by secular). Clark for a short primer of basic concepts of work. fill in state and local government with sections of Christian Liberty Press "Land of Fair Play" Written at a junior high level." The student text can be used as a stand alone spine. we can recommend this trio for a concise nontechnical but thorough eclectic study of economics that would be easy to do alongside debate. For those families who prefer a less eclectic approach and want to complete a separate full government study that is still understandable and concise. and possibly prepare for the American Government CLEP exam for college credit.

. Instruction about classroom participation was provided to students in the experimental group to see whether this treatment can (a) increase students' oral participation in class. These books are very useful for the policy debate student since all government policy impacts a nation's economics whether it was intended to do so or not. Next follow with "Whatever Happened to Penny Candy" by Richard Mayberry which provides a quick. fun study of basic economic principles from a conservative libertarian approach (albeit not from a Christian worldview). The addition of the original source documents book ("We Hold These Truths") adds further depth. worldview is another natural subject area to teach Studies in language learning have addressed the necessity of classroom interaction or students' oral participation in class.tools. and (b) lead to the improvement of students' speaking proficiency. For an advanced economic read. Clarence Carson's "Basic Economics" provides both historical analysis as well as examination of the various economic systems.in spite of historical proof they don't. using Taiwanese students as participants. Optional tests provide materials for a full separate course." The student text can be used as a stand alone spine. "Penny Candy" lays a good foundation for understanding how the government's actions affect economic stability. For a full. Christian Worldview Since our purpose is to create effective communicators for Christ. what prompts business cycles. separate economics study from a Christian perspective that is easily understandable. employment and the capital system. getting students to respond in a language classroom especially a foreign language class is a problem that most language teachers face. Both hypotheses are supported by the data of the study. Then finish with "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt which lays out common economic fallacies and why they won't work even though modern politicians continue to contend they will -. However. and how the real value of things is determined. we recommend Notgrass "Exploring Economics. His insightful and probing analysis won't be a quick read. but it will be a valuable read that is still approachable for the motivated high school student. Suggestions for participation instruction in regular foreign language classes are also provided. This article suggests remedies to language learners' reticence.

hearings and community gatherings Critically evaluate the presentations of others Speaking about social issues in terms of problems. research. arguments. The participants are forced to deal with a plethora of opposition facts.Public Speaking Learn These Methods Tips to getting familiar and comfortable speaking in public Adapting oral presentations to various audiences Using non-verbal communication effectively in public speaking performance Impromptu speaking techniques Preparing for public meetings. speak and write more clearly and to see the relationships between information and . face. and vocal cords before delivering a speech Improving persuasiveness. Debaters almost universally agree that debate has helped them to listen more efficiently. causes and solutions Recording speeches Articulation drills Reading fluency drills Strategies for dealing with unfamiliar words and phrases Eye contact and gestures Emphasis on key words and phrases Confidence and assertiveness Relaxation methods for the body. perspectives and assumptions. Involvement in debate therefore serves as a perfect training device for aiding individuals in the processing of information. argumentation skill and word economy Deliver effective rebuttal speeches A debate by its very nature is filled with conflicting viewpoints.

But most homeschoolers still have never attended or participated in this kind of debate. Interviews). . Debaters as a group have a superior ability to crystallize large sums of information both mentally and in terms of summarizing that information for a listener (Semlak and Shields). Some debaters comment that after researching and debating a public policy topic for a year they are now more interested in that topic in general. Consider the seven-year history of the homeschool league and the seven topics debated by homeschoolers: 2002-2003 . Debate provides for investigation and intensive analysis of significant contemporary problems. This allows fellow citizens to more effectively participate in the democratic process.Resolved: That the United States should significantly change its trade policy within one or both of the following areas: the Middle East and Africa. From its earliest beginnings to today. gleaned from a major book about debate1 plus my own experience: Debate provides preparation for effective participation in a society with representative government. The fundamental requirement of all leaders in any position is to provide direction and be able to explain why that direction is needed. it offers short-term and long-term motivations and rewards. Debate offers preparation for leadership. Debate offers training in argumentation. While education in general might only touch upon various recent issues. Our form of civil governance has relied upon debate to empower citizens with greater knowledge and to help spread that knowledge. If you've ever participated in competitive educational debate. I don't have to convince you of its benefits for your life. debate topics cover ground students may never discuss and in much greater depth than most curriculums will allow. "How can I benefit from participating in debate? It seems like a lot of work and it doesn't follow a standard lecture or workbook format.ideas more readily (Matlon. debate has been the best practice for argumentation. The Benefits of Debate By Larry Bailey Printed in PHS #52." Ready for Debate 101? Here are some of the answers to your questions. As an educational method. 2003. Busy homeschooled teens ask me.

Debate develops proficiency in purposeful inquiry. Debate helps integrate knowledge. David Zarefesky. Debaters develop excellent listening skills from their first debate when they learn that they must know their opponent's arguments as well as their own. dealing with new technology and different ideas from the norm of the day. in intensity it is equivalent to working on a masters thesis. 1997-1998 . 1998-1999 . businesses to foreign countries.Resolved: that the United States should significantly change its immigration policy. organization. By learning to research and inquire into new sources. and corporate income taxes should be repealed and replaced with an alternate plan..2001-2002 . 2000-2001 . Debate topics are multi-faceted and cut across several disciplines.Resolved: that the United States should substantially change its federal agricultural policy." 2 Debate develops the ability to make prompt. personal. . research skills. Debate develops critical listening skills.Resolved: that the 16th amendment to the United States Constitution and all federal. This allows debaters to gain knowledge from unique disciplines outside the student's normal academic subjects. 1996-1997 . Through making accurate and practiced note taking of the "flow" of a debate round.Resolved: that Congress should enact laws which discourage the relocation of U. 1999-2000 . The competition encourages students to pursue their regular course work with vigor and use their full capabilities. While some parents and students worry that debate might interfere with other education. debaters learn to glean and analyze information as they hear it. Debate emphasizes quality instruction. Cross-examination demands quick and decisive responses to questions about argumentation made before. certainly compared to undergraduates in general. most report that it enhances their work in general education with better note taking skills.S..Resolved: that the United States should adopt a more narrow policy for foreign military intervention. argumentation and debate instruction has relied more upon interactive coaching and a closer relationship between coach and student than most other educational settings. Debate encourages student scholarship. Since classical rhetoric was taught in ancient times. former associate dean of the School of Speech at Northwestern University. and presentations. debaters find ways of collecting data new to them. remarked that "debaters gain research skills at a pretty sophisticated level. analytical responses. Often debate topics are on the cutting edge.Resolved: that the United States should substantially change the rules governing federal campaign finances.

While the greater part of debate is perceived to be speaking in front of people. and arguing ability will carry over to many other fields such as preparing research and background papers and answering essay questions on exams."3 Assertions made from anecdotal evidence that "participating in competitive debate improves critical thinking" does not make it true. a good portion is research and preparation of argumentation before ever standing in front of another team or judge. and a bit of bravery to stand up and defend a position in front of a judge and another team arguing the exact opposite. writing. It takes discipline. This researching. or conclusion until sufficient evidence and reasoning is provided to conclusively support it. We must define what constitutes critical thinking before we can measure how competitive debate or other activities might improve it. Debate encourages effective speech composition and delivery. organize. Most research by debaters is now done on various types of computer systems. and comprehend the logic of decision making. claim. Debate helps develops social maturity.Debate develops proficiency in writing. or databases. understand how to reason the conclusions. debaters learn appropriate manners and proper behavior. preparation. recognize and critique different methods of reason. and use the information they collect. Debate develops courage. but in the presentation of the material. Thinking that reflects a controlled sense of skepticism or disbelief of any assertion. Debate develops computer competencies. Whether Internet. relevant. accurate. debaters learn how to find. Debaters will present before hostile teams and in front of class. college library catalogs. debaters know that the complex issues of today have many sides that need to be examined. logical. . Most people would rather be in the casket at a funeral than giving the eulogy. precise. Debate encourages mature judgment. The time-honored maxim usually attributed to Descartes states "he who asserts must prove. Debate uses students' skills to their utmost. synthesize different kinds of data. evaluate the conclusion drawn from the data. To argue requires students to: research issues. and consistent. organize and analyze data. The business-like atmosphere of a debate tournament coupled with the diversity within the debate community forces debaters to react to various situations. From a survey of peerreviewed communication literature. Debate not only requires work in knowing speech material. After debating both sides of an issue for an entire year. Along with the competitive prospect of losing or winning. Garside suggests four defining aspects of thinking that make it critical: Thinking that is clear. Debaters learn the value of suspending judgment until both sides are scrutinized.

critical thinking improved as a result of training in communication skills. and evaluation of arguments. before and after participation for at least a year in public speaking/individual events. Mike Allen and others7 analyzed more than 19 studies that quantitatively evaluated improvement in critical thinking for teen-aged students. Six studies assessed the effects of public speaking/individual events participation on critical thinking. the type of design employed.4 One measure of critical thinking before and after a behavioral intervention has been the WatsonGlaser test. Allen's meta-analysis indicate regardless of the measure used to assess critical thinking. Our field is a lived experience that every person enacts each . the test has been accepted by researchers as valid for measuring critical thinking. recognition of assumptions. and five studies assessed the effects of argumentation/logic/rhetoric classes on critical thinking. Comparable control groups who had no behavioral intervention were also used for the studies. A 1999 study by Dr. prejudice. or the specific type of communication skill training taught. Participation in public speaking/individual events and particularly competitive debate demonstrated the largest improvement in critical thinking test scores (See Table A). The test has a history of adequate reliability. thereby certifying what we know or don't know. Eight studies assessed the effects of competitive debate on critical thinking. understand allowable conclusions that one can make from the example or available data. as a field. interpretation. using the accepted rules of inference. and Thinking that is free from bias. The question is whether the person can. the question is one of validity. or argumentation/logic/rhetoric classes. deduction.5 This paper-and-pencil objective test uses a multiple-choice format. and one-sidedness of thought.8 Dr.6 The Watson-Glaser test measures the ability of persons to follow the "rules" involved in various forms of reasoning. Allen states "The central issue regarding communication. The methodological issue is whether one can measure critical thinking using an objective test and whether an objective test completely captures the domain of critical thinking. The Watson-Glaser test scores each answer as correct or incorrect. involves the fact that the process is an action necessary to living. The test format uses an example and then some test of an implication that follows. competitive debate. The questions test five different critical thinking skills: inference. The findings illustrate that participation in public communication skill-building exercises consistently improved critical thinking. Results from Dr. To the extent that one accepts the underlying rules. using the Watson-Glaser or equivalent test.Thinking that takes stock of existing information and identifies holes and weaknesses.

whether required in public speaking. problem solving ability. The effects point to a possible additional advantage that forensics' participation can provide to training solely in public speaking for those interested in the development of critical thinking. They include writing. in the cross-sectional comparison. The results [of Dr. 87% rated debate to be "helpful" or "very helpful" in performing their legislative duties. Regardless of the area (organizational. The central issue is to what degree the need to develop critical thinking skills plays an important part of the expectations for this or any course. small group. etc. oral presentation. and/or forensics competition better prepare students to become full participants in society. technological. discussion.day. argumentation. higher level cognitive learning."10 In 1978 Huseman and Goodman discovered that 55% of all members of Congress had participated in high school debate and that 51% debated in college. One result. instructional games or role playing. and not one rated it as "not helpful. attitude change. and moral and communication skill development. may require the development of critical listening skills."9 Skeptical parents and potential community volunteers might ask: how does debate compare with other teaching methods and are the skills learned transferable to the "real" world? "Debate is one of the most successful methods of teaching because of its inherently interactive format. and field study methods. Debate. it certainly can help! . Allen's meta-analysis] demonstrate the value of forensics' [competitive speech and debate] participation in improving critical thinking.). Research demonstrates that interactive formats are the preferred method for achieving critical thinking. The format of competitive debate relies on 'coaching' as a method of instruction. debate uses five. interpersonal. Of those. there exists an aspect of performance and/or competence within that area which is a part of the ongoing theoretical and research tradition. Of the six recommended methods for active learning. small group strategies. demonstrates that public speaking instruction may be improved by incorporating more aspects of argumentation into the curriculum. an often underdeveloped part of the practice that is important."11 So while a background in debate isn't absolutely necessary in order to end up in Congress. The companion activities of engaging in both argument and counterargument. rhetorical. mass.

. "What are some of the benefits of participating in debate?" or "What can a student gain from all that hard work?" I hope this article will help the reader prepare their own wellreasoned response that is backed by evidence.org.When others ask." then e-mail your regional director who will give you information on homeschool speech and debate clubs and events in your area. Click on "local contacts. For information on the national homeschool speech and debate league go to www.ncfca.

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