The Importance of Teaching Debate
Remember the Debate Club in high school? It was an excellent tool to help young people to start thinking critically about various issues and honing their communication skills to be able to intelligently articulate issues.
Debate requires someone to construct an argument. That argument can be pro or against, but it must incorporate research, analysis, reasoning, and sometimes synthesis and evaluation in order to establish and substantiate one’s position.
One of the reasons that I like to utilize debate in my training designs is because it helps people to understand how to deal with conflict in a constructive and measured way. Countering an opposing argument does not mean name calling, introducing distracting or off-topic issues, or simply blustering louder than one’s opponent. That is an argument. Arguments are rarely constructive and lead to hurt feelings and opposing sides. I can’t think of any appropriate situation – in the business world – where opposing sides is a good thing – especially if those two sides are within the same company.