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ABOUT DEBATE

"A good debater must not only study material in support of his own case, but he must also, of course, thoroughly analyze the expected argument of his opponent. The give and take of debating, the testing of ideas, is essential to democracy. I wish we had a good deal more debating in our educational institutions than we do now." John F. Kennedy, August 22, 1960

  According to "Forensics And College Admission" by Yale University professor
  Minh A. Luong, state and national debate winners have a 22% to 30% higher acceptance  
  rate at top tier colleges and universities than the average student, compared with  school  
  newspaper reporters (+3%), sports team captains (+5%), class presidents (+5%), and
  band members (+3%).
  Furthermore, since colleges are looking for articulate thinkers and comunicators who will
  become  the leaders of tomorrow, talents inculcated in students by participation in debate,
  mere participation  in debate even without winning major awards has resulted in a 
                                                                 college acceptance rate 4% above average.
                                                
A Wall Street Journal report highlighted a consistent trend, known to forensic coaches for quite some time, reflecting that committed participation in debate has significantly increased the chances of admission to college. Extracurricular activities such as forensics are playing an increasingly important role in the college admissions and scholarship awarding processes. Why? Grade inflation is rampant in both public and private secondary schools and test preparation programs are distorting the reliability of national standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT. Subsequently, college admissions directors are relying less on grade point averages and standardized test scores and more on success in academically related extracurricular activities such as speech and debate. Additionally. research has shown that participation in debate improves overall academic performance. Colleges thus value participation in debate because it not only nurtures the skills necessary for success in academia, but success in the professional world after graduation as well.

  • What is Debate?
    Debate is a formal, timed contest of argumentation between two teams or individuals in which the respective sides put forward a series of arguments and counterarguments in favor of or in opposition to a given resolution. Often times the resolution or topic purports to resolve a proposed problem that exists in the status quo. Certain debate formats such as Policy Debate ask for students to additionally come up with a counter plan to solve the given problem as an alternative to their opponents' plan. Other debates such as Lincoln Douglas Debate ask for students to state a value and defend that value. Recently the NFL (National Forensic League) has featured more audience friendly debate formats such as Public Forum Debate where students are asked to construct arguments appealing to non-expert, "regular" audiences.
     
  • Will Debate Improve My Child’s writing?
    -Debate reinforces the importance in writing of research, organization, presentation and logical analysis of evidence, as well as rewriting and editing.
    -Debaters improve their ability to outline, analyze and respond thoughtfully to literature, as well as compose persuasive compositions.
    -Debate emphasizes self-motivated research and thus hones research skills.
  • Debate will Teach Your Child to “Think Critically”
    The most important benefit of debate is that it teaches students to think critically. This is a skill which is often not taught nor identified by public or private schools. Critical thinking means the ability to independently evaluate competing propositions (or “truth claims”) and competing epistemological frameworks. Critical thinking skills are highly sought after in the American job market in any field; hence, debate improves ones chances for acceptance into top universities in the United States. 
  • Benefits of Debate
    - Nurturing of healthy self-esteem through encouragement and teamwork
    - Improving essay writing ability
    -Developing presentation skills
    -Promoting effective communication
    -Nurturing sound logic and analysis
    -Developing the ability to integrate research into the learning process
    -Building the skill to present ideas in a logical, well-thought out manner
  • Professional Success
    Debaters have a more extensive history of professional success than participants in any other extra-curricular academic activity; the following is a short list of former debaters whom you might recognize:
    - Hillary Rodham Clinton, former New York senator and present Secretary of State
    - Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, and Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justices
    - Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton, former Presidents of the United States
    - Richard Lugar, Evan Bayh, Jr. and Lamar Alexander, present U.S. Senators
    - Phil Gramm, Bob Graham, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, and Edmund Muskie, former U.S. Senators
    - Ted Turner, owner of CNN
    - Oprah Winfrey, world reknowned media entrepreneur
    - Margaret Thatcher and John Major, former Prime Ministers of Great Britain
     
  • Debate increases retention of knowledge and motivates students to learn in a competitive framework
    Debate focuses on evidence based argumentation, which means that your child will be reading literature that is advanced beyond his or her grade level. It also motivates your child to learn through competitive incentives. When a debater realizes that he can find a useful argument anywhere he or she might be studying, it is much more likely that your child will see an immediate value in studying.
     
  • Debate teaches skills important for all professional areas: from law, to communications, to science and beyond
    Debate will increase your children's confidence and their ability to assert themselves from one on one conversations to presentations before large audiences. This is helpful in all walks of life, but debate goes beyond confidence building and teaches your child how to understand definitional and theoretical concepts and apply them in various contexts, which is key to understanding theories and principles in science, engineering and business, or excelling in law school. 
"Debating in high school and college is most valuable training whether for politics, the law, business, or for service on community committees such as the PTA and the League of Women voters."
John F. Kennedy, August 22, 1960 


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