“We need to teach our children how to debate the major life issues. Debate strengthens their beliefs and enables them to defend themselves against ideologies that are going to come their way.”
— Jim Rohn
Introduction to Debating
Debates have often been part of drama classes. My first memory of trying to introduce a classroom debate led to a mini class disruption. Students at once think that it is a fight of some sort. It took some convincing on my part and the understanding that debates are really meant to derive at solutions.
Early on the students took a while to gather their points for the debate, trying to make valid points and understanding and listening to the opponent’s point of view as well. Students felt very engaged in a debate and often found themselves absorbed in the topic of discussion.
Aims of Classroom Debates
Back during the pandemic, it was a great way to urge students to speak especially the ones who preferred staying muted. An interesting topic encouraged them to put forth their views and an analysis could be taken about their knowledge on the given topic.
A class that I had, helped me once to choose a topic to discuss and I still remember it as the most engaging, interesting, lively, and even funny conversation and discussion that I’ve ever had with my students. They confidently led the way without any prior research work and it was fun to see their spontaneous thoughts and assessments of the topic.
The general aim of debating encourages students to learn to articulate their thoughts and put their stand across confidently and stay convincing. It helps further their knowledge on the topic through the inputs of their fellow mates and helps them learn about a topic in a different way.
Engaging them in a debate helps teachers understand how students think on various topics and gain insight on matters close to their heart. Often the students would tell me not to give them controversial topics but topics they related to and loved discussing.
Debating for Younger Students
Sometimes I would give the junior students a word or a question and discuss whether they liked it or did not and why and they would debate that example:- Would you rather be busy or bored? A great way of introducing debating to younger students without going too deep into the concept of debating.
Debating is a great tool for students to explore issues, discover their own views, put forth valid arguments and learn from those of others. Conducting debates have always been interesting and something the children take a liking to. I hope you agree?