Debate with Leadership:
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
When I saw COM267 “Debate” on my first semester schedule, I was not very happy about it. I was excited for my first year of college to begin, but I was not too thrilled about taking a debate class. I was not fond of the idea about arguing in front of a class. I felt very underprepared, as I had never even done an in class debate, while many kids had taken a debate class in high school. I even went to the extent of trying get out of it, and I looked for an easier communication class that I could fill my requirement with. I later learned that COM267 was apart of the Leadership Advancement Scholarship protocol, and I had no choice but to suck it up. I am now glad that I went through with it, because in order to grow as a person, you must be willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when trying something new. I am thankful that LAS pushed me to take something I was not necessarily found of. I believe that I gained some very useful life skills throughout this course, as I developed my debate, public speaking and persuasive writing.
In this class I learned some of the history of rhetoric, also known as the art of persuasion, which emerged from fifth century Greece. I was also educated on the various types of debates and their history, such as the Lincoln Douglas and Presidential Debates. I learned about the people that contributed to debate throughout history such as Chris Hedges, Walter Lippmann and Guy Debord. I also learned important elements of an argument (claim and reasons) along with how to identify the propositions of fact, value and policy.
I think that being able to argue your beliefs and opinions and stand up for what you believe in is incredibly important in life. Being well equipped with skills of debate and public speaking can be beneficial when entering the workforce and looking for a job. Having the knowledge of how to persuade others can make you much more marketable as well. As a leader, I think that debate class helped me to think out of the box and become more educated on issues in the world around me. I also learned how to better express my opinions. I think that all students in the United States should be required to take a debate class. I think that is a essential, important skill to have in order to be able to contribute to society. I really did develop my knowledge on the foundational principles of argumentation and debate, in a formalized and fun, yet competitive environment, when I learned how to engage and think critically in this class.
As mentioned previously, I was pretty terrified of the idea of a debate before this semester. I was surprised at that once you started doing them, it got easier and more comfortable. The first debate we did I was shaking and sweating up in front of the class, I was so nervous. When Audi and I were working on our first Parliamentary Debate, she had to give me along pep talk that I could do it and to not psych myself out. I didn’t think I would ever get to the point of being comfortable doing it. I now know how to properly argue a point and how to support it with evidence in the right way.
Overall, I think that I learned a lot of helpful life skills in this debate class. I improved my writing skills as I did reflections, I improved my public speaking skills with the formal debates, and I learned how to critically think and develop my opinion about things, through class discussions. I enjoyed learning the history of the people that developed debate, and through understanding that, I was able to easier understand the reasons for certain ways and techniques of arguing. Although I was extremely scared and nervous coming into this class, I am very glad I took it.
“Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.”
— Gilbert Amelio