Speech and Debate does more to get students "college and career ready" than any other learning activity. It imparts skills that can be employed in everyday life. As I tell my students, "Debate is about real life." It enables you to speak out clearly and forcefully on topics that are important to you. Students find public speaking fun, which is incredible when you consider speaking in public is the greatest fear people have after the fear of death!
A competitive debate can be thought of as a battle of ideas. I like to say, "Debate is war!" It's those ideas that do the fighting, with the debaters acting as generals and directing them on a field of well-crafted language. Debaters must attack arguments and defend their own with a skill greater than that of any athlete.
Here is a partial list of the skills to be obtained through Speech and Debate:
- Gaining broad, multi-faceted knowledge that cuts across several disciplines outside and above the normal academic curriculum
- Increasing confidence, poise, and self-esteem
- Instilling rigorous higher order and critical thinking skills
- Enhancing ability to organize and structure your thoughts
- Improving listening skills
- Improving research and writing skills
- Developing effective speech composition and delivery
- Improving ability to form balanced and informed arguments with reasoning and strong evidence
- Encouraging teamwork and forging friendships