Why should you debate? Harvard-Westlake Debate Team website
For the Experience in Itself
Debate has been fittingly described as an intellectual sport. As with any sport, the thrill of competition and the uncertainty of outcome serve to energize the whole team. Debaters are players; those who are committed instinctively aspire to ever-higher levels of play. They are judged on the skill evident in their performances.
A good debate is both serious and playful. Debaters soon become skilled enough to achieve what my students call "the zone," or what psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls optimal experience or flow—the experience of focus and complete involvement in an activity that is often "so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
- Jon Kendall. “The Case for Debate: Intrinsic Motivation for Thinking and Writing.” Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. April 10, 2014
For Improving Education
Critical thinking and argument skills -- the abilities to both generate and critique arguments -- are crucial elements in decision-making… In all careers, academic classes, and relationships, argument skills can be used to enhance learning when we treat reasoning as a process of argumentation, as fundamentally dialogical, and as metacognitive… It is imperative that high school students, of diverse personal, moral and intellectual commitments, become prepared to confront multiple perspectives on unclear and controversial issues when they move on to college and their careers. This is not only important for assuring students are equipped to compete in the marketplace of ideas but also to maximize their own cognitive development more broadly.
- Rabbi Shmuly Yankiowitz. “A Society with Poor Critical Thinking Skills: The Case for Argument in Education.” Huffington Post. October 13, 2013