Andrew Curran on Why We Should All Debate
During my days at university here in Hartford, New Haven, CT, my biddy Andrew Curran and I would regularly debate the topics of the day. In fact we stilled regularly lock heads on particular subjects, although these days we prefer email as our debating medium. Something which we recently went back and forth on was the lack of debating societies and debates within education, something which we both agree helped us to become better people. It is his belief that the entire school system should use debates as a tool to help their students and here is why he believes that it can benefit the kids.
Whether you are debating in a mock lawsuit, against your professor or any other topic which happens to take you out of your comfort zone, you must get creative in order to win. Simply offering up facts is not enough, you must learn how to take the debate to certain places, in order to try and tie your opponent up in knots. In Andrew’s view debating is a great way to encourage creativity from your students.
Something which Andrew believes is a mistake is taking competition out of the school setting, something which we have seen throughout the country. In fact, as he rightfully states, the real world is a highly competitive place and we must teach our kids about how to compete healthily. When you debate you are essentially pitting one mind against another and if we encourage healthy debate Andrew thinks, then we can teach kids how to win with class and how to lose without compliant or retaliation.
One of the reasons why both Andrew and myself enjoyed debating so much was because it was a great chance to study and learn more about a particular subject. The reason why you learn more in this situation is because you have a motivation which is to go and beat your opponent. Andrew also agrees that with this extra knowledge that you have, you can form better opinions on tough subjects. Andrew spoke to me about how so many people simply regurgitate what they have seen online or in the newspaper in order to form an opinion, whereas having to debate the whys and the wherefores of a particular topic is a far better way to have an opinion.
Andrew says that his favorite types of debates where those which forced him to argue against what he actually believes. The reason for this was that it gave him an opportunity to look at all sides of an argument. Not only does he believe that in doing this you will be learning how to be empathetic, which can help greatly in life, but you can also learn how to persuade people to do things. When you understand all sides to an argument there is very little that the opponent can say that you will not have already prepared for, and in life this is a great skill which can help in numerous situations.
What are your thoughts on debating? Do you agree with Andrew and I?