Students on debate team learn to explain and persuade skillfully

You never know when great communication will come in handy, says MIT Debate Team President Raj Krishnan. Three months ago when his cousin got married, he was asked 15 minutes before dinner to make a toast.

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Why should Schools Support Debate?

It’s clear to many that debates are a great tool for engaging children and enhancing classroom curriculum. Skills of debate include essential critical thinking, presentation, abstract thinking, citizenship, etiquette, clarity, organization, persuasion, public speaking, research, and teamwork and cooperation. And that’s just a start.

Many schools are working to adapt curriculum to the new Common Core Standards since the beginning of their development in 2009. The California State Board of Education adopted Common Core in 2010. So we wondered how debate fits with the new standards. Take a look at the California Common Core English Language Arts and Literacy standards below (7th grade is used as an example, but grades 6-12 are similar, if not identical for most of the standards).

Top Five Ways to Help Your Child Succeed Using Speech and Debate

Many moms and dads, especially debate moms and dads, have often asked the question: How can I help my child become a better speaker or thinker? As parents ourselves, we at NEA believe parent involvement is crucial to a child's academic success in a variety of subjects, and speech and debate is no exception. So how can parents help their child grow?

Why Debate?

The Common Core curriculum guidelines, promoted by the National Governors Association, have been adopted by 45 states, including California. This has changed the face of public education in America as we know it. So why is this change relevant to speech and debate?

It is because it entails a new way of thinking. It is no longer sufficient for students to simply memorize the plot of the story or recall facts from a given document. Today, students are asked to use critical thinking skills such as prediction and evaluation to address more nuanced issues of a text. Instead of being asked about the action of a particular character in a story, students now must think more deeply with questions such as, was the action given by a certain character justified in light of other considerations of the story? The ability to reason and problem solve, so critical to success in speech and debate, make the activity the perfect tool to help students hone the skills necessary for similar success Common Core.

In debate, students must utilize many levels of higher order thinking: argument analysis, idea synthesis, response predictions and case evaluation, just to name a few. They must answer questions similar to what they might experience in a modern testing situation under the Common Core guidelines. What makes debate even better is that both judges and opponents provide real time evaluation and feedback of a student’s argument: During a debate round, the debater must always be ready for a response from his or her opponent.

The New England Academy teaches the skills useful for both Common Core and speech and debate. Instructors and coaches guide students in learning the highest levels of thinking and allow them ample time to practice what they've learned through in class debates. With so much emphasis on 21st Century thinking, New England Academy is the best choice to prepare students for success in education today.