The concept of critical thinking is complex, and one that many individuals are unable to fully understand. Adults and students typically lead with emotion, preconceptions, and irrational reasoning. It takes careful debate training to independently think and deduce what researched information is most relevant in order to win an argument.
Critical thinking, “plays an important role in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks. Critical thinking can help us acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments.” Critical thinking teaches the debater to put her emotions aside, and create an analysis based on facts, logic, and reasoning.
Most debaters have chosen a topic that they wish to advocate for, but they also know that advocacy is only achieved through strong and compelling debate. Debaters use critical thinking skills by:
- Learning about the debate topic in full, as well as researching and learning the argument of their opponent.
- While researching the topic at hand, great debaters must analyze what information is pertinent.
- Organizing with a purpose: taking the most important bits of information and strategically placing it in a persuasive timeline.
Critical thinking is an essential skill not only in debate, but also in academic classes, and the real world. Because technology has placed immediate information in the palm of our hands, it is easy for individuals to make instant judgments and form unreasonable opinions. Debaters are strong-minded, and are not swayed by what they read on social media.
Critical thinking allows high school debaters the opportunity to look at a topic, diligently research it, organize their findings, and then be able to form an argument based on rational connections. It is highly satisfying to logically justify one’s beliefs through the use of critical analysis rather than by yelling and illogical arguing.