While many parents do not recognize the benefits of participation in debate, the reality is that students can experience many benefits through this activity:
- Analytical skills: There is no shortage of studies that demonstrate that debate participation can increase the mental capacity and critical thinking abilities of students. Debate can help students with complex cognitive skills, such as properly structuring words and ideas in a way that makes an impact on the audience and bringing together information from a wide bodies of sources to build a solid argument. These skills are crucial for future leaders.
- Improved school performance: Debate participation pushes students to learn unfamiliar words and concepts and become comfortable with differing viewpoints and new information, such as college-level philosophy, history, public policy, and current events. They also become self-directed learners, which is one of the best skills to have to find success throughout one’s life. Additionally, debate students are much less likely to drop out of high school and graduate college.
- Mental and emotional maturity: Debate students show more maturity in the face of adversity than average students. It also improves their ability to resolve conflicts and increases students’ self-confidence.
- Long-term academic success: Debate skills do not just benefit the student in high school. The skills learned here can help students throughout their college tenure. Students in debate often have a higher than average GPA of 3.75 and most participants are within the top 10% of their high school class, which significantly boosts chances for an academic scholarship. Taken together, all of these benefits can give a student a boost in their career and pathway to success.