How High School Debate Teaches Students to Research Important Current Issues and Events

High school debate is beneficial in many ways. It not only trains students to research, analyze, think critically, present logical arguments, obtain self-confidence, and engage in public speaking, it also creates change makers and social justice coordinators.

Today, citizens get their news from Facebook and other social media outlets. Many of these stories contain half-truths, biased uninformed opinions, and flat-out lies. High school debate students understand that current issues cannot simply be explained on social media. It takes ample time for research, writing, exploring, and interviewing experts.

High school debate creates a gateway for young people to continually research and engage in global events and issues. In many cases, debaters are already choosing topics relative to their lives, such as: funding for school programs, gun control, the teenage workload, and technology addiction. However, many high school debate programs choose to push social and political discussions so students will come out of their comfort zones and learn about broader issues.

High school teachers typically stay neutral when discussing high profile social and political events. However, they deem it necessary for students to engage in such topics as the welfare system, the Middle East, abortion, offshore drilling, illegal immigration, the death penalty, transgender rights, and climate change. When students become interested in worldly topics through debate, they become accustomed to researching and exploring the truth on a daily basis.

Examining and becoming advocates for current events helps students become active participants in class discussions, think quickly on their feet, and diligently prepare a reasonable argument. High school students must thoroughly research and become experts on an issue so they are able to challenge their opponent with logical rebuttals. This behavior leads high school students to become avid researchers and readers throughout their adult lives.