What is Public Speaking and Competitive Debate? (Part I)

Coach Andy
Post by Coach Andy
What is Public Speaking and Competitive Debate? (Part I)

Why Is It Important for Public Speakers and Debaters to Compete?

Unlike traditional school subjects, public speaking and debate do not have a standard test to see if a student has hit high marks. But public speaking and debate do have the “performing test” where students can choose one or multiple challenges and see if they can achieve “high marks.” The “performing test” is a competition where students have a chance to compete against other participants, to advance past them, to be filtered into elimination rounds, and be “best-speakers”. Through competitions, students will have a chance to apply the skills they have learned, meet with new people and learn from judges and competitors. Thus we highly recommend students to attend competitions. But how as a parent can you help your student? What’s the best way to persuade a student to go to the competition if they are reluctant to? Knowing what the competition looks like so students can be more informed and prepared is a start. Some events are for beginners and some for students at higher levels.

In this series of articles, you will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of competitions.
  • Understand what a competition/tournament looks like (including but not limited to evaluation criteria, registration need-to-know, tournament journeys).
  • Learn ways that parents can help students for competitions.

Going to competitions can sometimes be nerve-breaking and anxiety-inducing. But there are numerous benefits to attending competitions:

  • Competitions are Fun

Different from class practice, in competitions, students will be able to meet students from other schools.  They find new friendships which may be life-long! It is also a good opportunity for students to talk to people who are from different backgrounds or students who have different mindsets and learn from each other. Understanding from different perspectives, gaining new knowledge can be exciting.

  • Competitions Help Students to Improve Their Skills

Competition is a perfect setting for students who want to improve through intensive practice. Although students have a chance to practice in class, their mindsets are different when in a competition. The proper stress pushes them to be more focused and overcome challenges on stage, increasing their confidence after. They compete in a different setting from classrooms, learn skills from other speakers whose speeches and arguments they have not listened to before. Also, students get feedback from different experts which allows them to dive deeper into the skills they have learned, and make progressions based on different feedback received.

  • Demonstrate Talents

Competitions put students in the spotlight to demonstrate the skills they have learned, whether it's presentation skills, delivery skills, argumentation skills, etc. In turn, the rewards of competitions can help students to achieve their educational and professional goals. They may be able to win an internship that leads to their dream job or get into their dream school due to the unique extra-curriculum activities they do.

Keep reading for Part II & III below!

Part II: What Does a Competition Look Like?
Part III: How to Help Students Prepare?

You can also get involved in competitions with LearningLeaders. Check out our availbe competitions below!
Compete at LL

Coach Andy
Post by Coach Andy