How to win an Argument
In recent years, public speaking and debate have become widespread around the globe. Many debate and speech competitions are open to elementary school students. Public speaking and debate can help participants improve their communication skills, express themselves better, and think critically. The question is: will students gain more benefits if they start public speaking and debate as early as possible?
To answer this question, we first need to understand that speeches and debates differ from competitive speeches and debates.
While both formats require a certain level of confidence and skill from the speaker, competitive speeches and debates are formal presentations with specific rules (including title, judging criteria, speaking length, speaking structure, etc.). General speeches and debates do not have specific rules and forms, but are more about the interaction and expression of opinions.
The time to start your general speeches and debates depends on many factors, such as the individual’s age, maturity, and level of confidence in the content.
Since competitive speech and debate requires a certain degree of cognitive level of the participants, we do not recommend training students in competitive speech and debate activities when they are still very young. Although taking part in training can allow them to learn the skills of debate and speech, it will be more efficient if they study when they are older, and because of limited life experience and knowledge reserves, it is often difficult for students to really learn something. With the concept and effective output, it is also likely that the enthusiasm for speech and debate learning will be dampened by encountering older opponents during the competition. Since competitive speech and debate can be stressful for students, it is important for students to feel confident in their abilities and be able to think independently in a competitive atmosphere. If students are too young, the atmosphere of the game may overwhelm them or feel nervous and unable to perform to their best ability. We recommend that the earliest age to start speech and debate is Grade 5. However, the maturity, experience and confidence level of the student should always be taken consideration of.
It’s cool to ask a 1st or 2nd grader to explain the Russo-Ukraine war, but if they can’t quite grasp what they’re saying and just recite it mechanically, maybe asking them how their day was at school will encourage them to have the habit of sharing.