Debate and public speaking clubs are common in boarding, or private schools, as they provide a valuable chance for students to develop important skills such as critical thinking, research, organisation, and communication. Debate clubs typically focus on training middle school students to argue a particular point of view in a formal, structured setting. They may participate in local, regional, or national debate competitions against other schools, and spend time researching and preparing arguments on a wide range of topics.
It often emphasises formal argumentation and the use of logical reasoning, as well as the ability to think. This is a crucial skill since it teaches one to examine the merits and demerits from different angles, and is useful even once kids leave school. It ensures that a student evaluates different perspectives, before arriving at a decision. Public speaking clubs, on the other hand, focus on training students to speak confidently and effectively in front of an audience. This may include giving speeches, participating in oral presentations, or delivering performances.
Participation in debate and public speaking clubs in middle school is essential for several reasons which include:
1. Critical thinking skills:
The purpose of speaking clubs or debate clubs is to not only present your ideas in a cogent manner but also be able to articulate for different perspectives. It requires the presenter to suspend their own beliefs, and examine each argument for its merits and demerits. As a result, children develop critical thinking and reasoning skills. Additionally, it builds their confidence and ability to express themselves effectively in front of an audience.
2. Career oriented:
Debate and public speaking clubs can prepare students for future academic and professional breaks. . Many higher education institutions and workplaces value individuals who possess strong communication and critical thinking skills. By participating in these clubs, students can gain experience in presenting their ideas, thinking and framing the response, and defending their positions. Furthermore, it can also provide them with the opportunity to gain exposure to different fields and interests, helping them identify their passions and potential career paths.
3. Social awareness:
Typically, most clubs focus on subjects around citizen matters, social responsibility, and the role of different bodies. As a result, it works to inform and educate student participants about issues that are of importance to the community at large.Students have the chance to learn about and discuss pressing social, political, and environmental issues. Through participation in debates and public speaking, they can develop a sense of agency and become motivated to take action on the issues they care about. Moreover, these clubs can foster collaboration and teamwork among students, encouraging them to work together to achieve a common goal.
4. Community building:
These clubs can provide a sense of belonging and community. Participating in debate and public speaking clubs can help students build friendships and connections with like-minded individuals. These clubs often provide an inclusive and welcoming environment, where students can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas. Additionally, these clubs can provide an outlet for students to showcase their talents and interests, fostering a sense of pride and self-worth.
5. Broadens knowledge:
By participating in debates, students are exposed to a wide range of ideas and perspectives on various issues. The multifaceted nature of debate topics allows debaters to gain knowledge beyond their normal academic subjects and explore real-world topics and issues. Additionally, public speaking and debate clubs can expose students to current events and potentially learn from experts. The key takeaway from debates in the classroom is not winning or losing, but rather the skill development in preparing and delivering arguments.