Sydney's Inner West
Your child may have the opportunity to join the debating team at their school this year. It’s important to be on top of the benefits of debating, to ensure your child makes an informed decision about joining the debating team.
Broaden your knowledge
Debating requires students to have knowledge of the world around them. Students on the debating team become well-informed about world issues, politics and policy. These students develop an appreciation of a broad range of perspectives and learn to address issues from either side of the table.
Develop skills in research and analysis
Depending on the debating competition, a team may have only a few days to prepare for the debate, or may not find out whether they are affirmative or negative until an hour before. This means students must have performed thorough research and analysed their findings. Debaters learn efficient ways to research and are taught the importance of using trusted, well-informed and balanced sources for gathering information on a particular topic.
Excel in argument
In debating, students learn how to structure an argument, and the importance of backing up their points with sufficient reasons and examples. Through rigorous preparation, debaters learn how to structure the argument to build to the main point and win over an audience. They learn the importance of examples to support the information and maintain relevance. The ability to develop and present an argument is essential to written expression and essay writing – so the debating skills quickly become relevant in the classroom.
Develop crucial communication skills
Regardless of the career path any of us take, the ability to communicate effectively and think critically is instrumental to social, professional and academic success. Debaters learn to use their voice to present their argument with clarity, confidence and conviction. Debaters are taught language techniques such as anecdote and repetition to build rapport with the audience and communicate their argument with strength.
Grow your social network
Each school participates in different debating competitions, but almost all of them are inter-school competitions. Students debate against students from other schools, often visiting other schools for debates, and have the chance to talk after the debate. It’s a great way to meet other people with similar interests from outside an immediate network. The friends made through debating could end up being future peers at university or even colleagues. Chances are, they are also interested in speaking out about important issues.
Amy Hume is a Voice Coach and Creative Director of Viva Voice voice coaching and drama studio in Sydney’s inner west. She coaches public speaking, debating and presentation skills to students and professionals.
Viva Voice are running School Holiday debating workshops for both beginner and experienced debaters during the July 2017 School Holidays.