5 Reasons to Learn Debate

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1. It’s fun!

Most of you imagine that fun is just fun, and has nothing to do with hard work. Yes, I love this type of fun very much. But I also love another kind of fun: Hard work is rewarding. You can feel this kind of fun through debate.

I don’t have enough knowledge about social issues so I failed my debate matches almost all the time. But failure made my weak points clearer than before. Then I was really motivated to check social news even if it’s not related to me. You can expand your point of view through debate. You can get a lot of feedback from your debate whether you win or lose. Then you can feel your improvements. In this way, you can enjoy debate because your hard work is rewarded.

2. You can convince your family, friends and supervisor.

I didn’t know why sometimes I couldn’t convince my family, friends and supervisor. Debate taught me the framework to convince others. Have you ever heard of “AREA”? A stands for “Argument”, R stands for “Reason”, E stands for “Example”, A stands for “Argument” again. You can convince others easily if you follow this framework. We need to paraphrase arguments in the second A part. One day, I joined debate practice. We were given the motion that “We should adopt the grade system.” (Motion is kind of discussion theme.) I need to oppose this opinion, I made a speech as follows:
A: The school purpose is not just learning subjects, but also learning social skills.
R: Parents should focus on just learning subjects and evaluate their children whether they have intellectually talented or not.
A: The school is the only place to learn social skills between the same grade people.
My speech would have been more convincing if I had an “E” example part. e.g. Korea applied this system but there are so many people who commit suicide because of their parents pressure.
I feel “AREA” framework is quite useful to convince others. It’s worth trying with your family, friends and supervisor if you feel the same as me.

3. Debate gives you a chance to connect to timely world news in English

“I wish I could check social news in English someday…” This wish is always in my mind when I study English. But I know it’s pretty hard since I have little knowledge about vocabulary. I couldn’t catch the words by listening. I got fed up with listening.
However, I changed my mind after I start learning debate because I’d like to get knowledge about social news. I often check social news on the Internet. Do you know how to pronounce “Crimea”? I guess you read like Japanese pronunciation (クリミア) if you don’t listen to this word. You can just hear “/krī-ˈmē-ə, krə-/” (http://youtu.be/yFyhGkqp88A) if you listen social news in English.
Don’t just listen. I strongly recommend you to listen and ask question to the news. Just say “Why” is fine. As Japan’s top motorcycle company Toyota recommend, “Asking why 5 times” really makes you think about the issue deeply. You need to analyze the sentence when you are given the motion like “This house would reduce corporate tax.” Listen to each word carefully and compare the other words. For instance, “Why is it corporate tax? What is the difference between corporate tax and consumption tax?” You can just do the same practice by listening to social news.
I’m sure you can open your mind to the world issue by using debate practice skills!

4. You can improve your speech and presentation skills through debate.

You need to remove audience’s fear when you have a speech or presentation. You are excited when you introduce your wonderful idea to the audience, then you forget the pessimistic point of view of audience. Let me share my example. I’d like to explain that trial action is more important than discussion. We tend to discuss and evaluate whether the idea is good or bad when the new idea is proposed. We just need to try the idea before discussing and evaluating it, and then we can judge the idea correctly. This is what I mean by “trial action”. But I didn’t care about what the audience really wanted to discuss at first. So most of the audience felt uncomfortable when they listened to my speech. It would be more acceptable for audience if I accepted the benefit of discussion at first. For instance, “Discussion is essential to communicate with each other. It is quite a strong tool for exchanging our opinions. But have you ever experienced difficult discussion? I am always bothered because our opinions couldn’t go deeper. Then, anyway, just do it! Trial action can help you to discuss the topic deeper.”
You can learn critical thinking with debate. Debate does not criticize other people’s character. You can use debate technique to change the audience’s negative thoughts!

5. Excellent debaters are not negative speakers, but very positive speakers.

Debaters are not negative thinking speakers. Excellent debaters are really positive speakers. As I said, debate does not criticize your character. You can learn the right manner of feedback.
Excellent debaters say “Thank you” when they get a question from the opposite side debaters. I was so surprised. I couldn’t do it because I really get nervous to answer other people’s question. I’d like you to know this is a beginner debater’s attitude. Experienced debater’s manner is perfect. Their way of speaking never criticizes others. They really enjoy discussion, and they take everything positively. I heard from experienced debater about how he could change his negative situation to positive. Their motion is to abolish nuclear power plants. This debate tends to the affirmative side for Japanese. Affirmative side emphasized how nuclear power plants are dangerous. Most of audience seemed to agree with affirmative side. However, he changed their opinion to show positive side of nuclear power plant and point out affirmative side’s narrow point of view. He was from Niigata. And he talked about how Niigata people were struggling to live with nuclear power plants together. His manner of speaking and content are perfect, and he could win this debate match. He is a kind of magician for me to change something negative to positive. I was so impressed when I heard this story from him. I’d like to become the debater like him someday. You can change something very negative to positive if you learn debate.

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