Enhancement of Skills
The core of competitive high school debate is to critically examine every side of a topic in an effort to formulate a reasoned argument in an environment of intellectual discourse. The rigorous and critical thinking required of debaters allows students to gain tremendous life skills, including problem solving, innovative thinking, synthesis of complex information, conflict resolution and deconstruction of opposing arguments. Speech and debate training focuses on argument construction, critical thinking and persuasion skills, which are fundamentally rooted in the techniques of verbal and non-verbal communication, logical organization, fallacy identification, word economy, evidentiary support, and research skills.
Participation in competitive speech and debate has been proven to enhance student's academic success and increase their motivation and engagement. Available research shows strong positive impacts from extra-curricular debate, including incredible improvements in critical thinking, standardized test scores, GPAs and college attendance. Additional skills promoted and instilled through speech and debate include mental and emotional maturity, effective writing, public speaking and self-confidence. Challenge yourself or your students to grow academically, become a self-learner and gain the skills necessary to successfully navigate the academic, social, political and career aspects of life. For more information and supportive evidence of the proven benefits of speech and debate, click here.
Benefits of Debate
The benefits offered to students by the FDI are remarkable: a number of peer-reviewed journals have established that speech and debate students are more likely to graduate, meet the ACT college-readiness benchmarks, have greater critical thinking and communication skills and show greater gains in cumulative grade point averages. The oral advocacy, reading retention, persuasive writing and communication skills fostered through the FDI are truly profound.
First, to train high school teachers to be able to continue, or begin, to successfully run competitive speech and debate teams. Many high school speech and debate programs are unable to develop or sustain long term because there isn’t faculty support or awareness of the benefits of having these programs. The FDI provides teachers with the tools they need to run a program and educate their students to become competitors. The skill sets developed through these training options are invaluable to the success of a competitive speech and debate program, and provide teachers with a tremendous opportunity to enrich their careers and their students’ educations.
Second, to empower students with the best opportunities to improve themselves, their education and their futures through the profound impacts of speech and debate education. Competitive speech and debate can address the need for both bridging the educational achievement gap and instilling critical thinking skills in students. The higher-level critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills fostered through competitive speech and debate supplement high school educations in ways that transcend what traditional classroom experiences provide. Speech and debate students have better career and college placement, are more mature and have greater reading retention and analytical skills. These incredible benefits should be commonplace in a normal high school education, but unfortunately are often omitted. Thus, speech and debate through the FDI has had transformative educational impacts.
Third, to provide a competitive speech and debate opportunity for students that has otherwise largely been afforded to only private schools or affluent school districts. Schools with speech and debate teams often have large budgets or endowments that allow them to travel nationally and hire multiple coaches to work with students. Unfortunately, budgetary constraints for high schools make it impossible for teachers who want to run a team to hire additional help. Thus, the FDI has been able to provide the training that is otherwise often prohibitively expensive for schools.
Check out all of the supportive evidence of the proven benefits of speech and debate.