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Socio Cognitive Perspective Essay

1327 words - 6 pages

The Benefits of Debate
Why Supporting High School Debate is a Worthwhile Project
The core of competitive high school debate is to examine every side of important and controversial issues in an
atmosphere of reasoned argument and respectful discourse. The enormous effort that students put forth to
succeed in this intellectually exciting activity is truly inspiring. They devote a huge number of hours to research,
discussion, case writing, and practicing for competitions. They spend countless evenings and weekends at
tournaments competing for their schools and teammates. The benefits they accrue as a result of all their hard
work are numerous. Here are just a few:
Rigorous and Critical ...view middle of the document...

6 This
makes competitive debate a particularly affective vehicle for gifted and talented education.7
Mental and Emotional Maturity
Debate requires students to engage serious subject matter in a mature and professional environment. Debate
students show more maturity in the face of adversity and tend to develop stronger relationships with peers and
mentors than the average student.8 Debate teaches students to recognize how others think, which improves their
ability to cooperate and resolve conflicts.9 This makes debate one of the most successful vehicles for providing
affective education to at-risk students.10 Ultimately, debate increases students’ self-confidence by helping to
teach them the skills necessary to become competent adults.11
Academic and Occupational Achievement
All of these skills ultimately lead debate students to notable academic achievement. Debate students consistently
receive impressive grades throughout high school and college. The average debate team has a GPA of 3.75 (and
it is often higher), and the average debate student is in the top 10% of his or her high school class.12
Improvement in academic performance is common to all debate students, regardless of their level of academic
achievement prior to joining the activity. Debate students also score better on the ACT and SAT than their
peers,13 and are consistently admitted to prestigious post-secondary institutions.14 A stunning 98.58% of debate
students attend college, and debate participation increases the chances of being offered college scholarships.15
Many debate students go on to earn advanced degrees.
Beyond their academic careers, debaters tend to enjoy success in the world of work. Many top corporate
executives and high-ranking officials in all branches of government are former high school debaters.16 Debate
students tend to become leaders in their schools and communities because they develop strong listening skills,
tact, self-confidence, and often take on strong leadership roles within their teams.17 Finally, debate students tend
to be politically active and have high levels of civic engagement. This is particularly true for women and
students of color, because debate skills help to break down traditional barriers to civic engagement.18
All considered, it is not surprising that many students report that participation in competitive debate was the
most educational and rewarding aspect of their high school careers.


The Benefits of Debate
Why Supporting High School Debate is a Worthwhile Project

Allen, Mike, Sandra Berkowitz, Steve Hunt, and Allan Louden, “A Meta-analysis of the Impact of Forensics and
Communication Education on Critical Thinking,” Communication Education, 48, January 1999
Bellon, J. (2000). A research-based justification for debate across the curriculum. Argumentation and Advocacy, 36(3),
Bradley, Bert E. “Debate – A Practical Training for Gifted Students.” The Speech Teacher 7...

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