Debating is an annual affair in most schools across the world. Special debate competitions are hosted to encourage children to come forth and argue on a topic that has been picked by the institutes judging panel. The topic of debate can be generic or specific, as per the student’s level of understanding and their ages. Some interesting debate topics are as follows; Who is responsible for keeping our planet safe, the Government or its people?, Is remote learning effective or is physical schooling more apt?, Is it okay to serve junk food in school canteens?. Basically, the topic of debate can be anything under the sun, from current affairs, to socio-cultural, politics or even controversial.
What is Debating?
Debate is nothing but a discussion about an issue or a topic, that needs to arrive at a resolution based on the concrete points shared by the teams. For debating to materialize, there needs to be two sets of teams each picking an opposite side. One team is ‘for’ and the other is ‘against’. That means, if the topic is – Should marks for extra-curricular activities be considered while calculating the grades of high school students? The team which is in favor of the marks being added to exams, will find evidences to support statement, and the other team will try to prove why it is Not beneficial to add extra-curricular marks in report cards, and why schools should only consider the written exam marks.
Benefits of Taking Part in Debates for Students
There are numerous skills that students need to learn through their years of schooling. Debating gives children the opportunity to develop these skills further and boosts their confidence.
Enhances Critical Thinking Skills
A debater needs to not only think fast, but also present innovative ideas across the table. To be able to do this successfully, one is constantly processing information and thereby developing their critical thinking skills further. Debate participation increases problem solving skills as students have to rationalize complex information and arrive at a counter argument to defeat the opposite team. Learning to think clearly and decoding the facts, goes a long way in making the student more capable.
Improves Research & Reading Skills
In order to be well versed and confident about the topic you are in favor of, one needs to spend time researching and read thoroughly. Trying to bring forth points that the judges may also not be aware about, creates an impression and adds to the team’s brownie points. This is only possible when one has complete knowledge of the subject and has prepared a well revised draft to present at the competition. Highlights is one such platform that supports the student’s journey of reading. The Highlights virtual Library has more than 2,600 books and students can site examples and use idioms from the books that they have read, to support their win at the debate competition. Schools in the Middle East, including Dubai, encourage students to utilize the Highlights App to their advantage.
Boosts Presentation & Speaking Skills
In order to go up on stage and speak in front of an audience requires courage. Children need to take the first step to fight their fear of the stage. Taking part in a debate competition is an excellent platform for students to practice, before they advance to inter-school competitions and other state level opportunities. Practicing in front of a mirror, rehearsing and with adults, helps students find a comfortable body language, posture, voice modulation, and take care of other aspects, before they actually start speaking on the mike, before an audience. In the future, when they graduate from school and enter college, the learners will already be attuned to appearing for presentations, and won’t find it as challenging as others naïve students.
Better Academic Performance
The student develops a good habit of reading, researching, practicing, etc. which ultimately helps him perform better in school. Just like the debater is well prepared to speak, the examinee is confident to appear for an exam. Hence, IB Schools in UAE, including GCC Countries, now arrange for frequent debating competitions and encourage students as young as 2nd graders to grace the stage and speak. Moreover, the skills learnt at an early age will stay with the child for life and go a long way in helping them reach the pinnacles of success.