My Introduction to Debate class for my first semester freshman year, I found to be one of my most beneficial classes I have ever had. I was required to take this class to fulfill my scholarship requirement for the Leadership Advancement Scholarship Protocol and to go towards my Leadership Minor. Yes, this class helped me for my future and I believe debating in class is an important skill, but the one thing I found most beneficial is the communication skills that I learned through this class. As a leadership student, there are many uses of this class that I am more than grateful for and I cannot wait to bring what I have learned into the world.
First off, I would like to explain what is so important that I learned in this class. I feel that in life there are going to be some things that you agree and disagree about, and you are going to have to state your beliefs in a way that persuades people to have the same opinion as you. If you say something accidently, it could be taken as negative and will put you in a very bad position. Debating is one of those topics where you have to be prepared for because you are going to use it in life at some point whether it is at your job, or defending your rights!
In this class, there were a few things that did surprise me a little bit. Coming into this course I thought all we would be doing is just constantly debating each other on random topics, but boy was I wrong! Most of the class was explaining the background and history of debate. It didn’t bother me at all though, because I love history and I found the class to be very interesting. Something else that also surprised me and also was not that helpful was the point distribution. I felt that there was a very little amount of assignments so there was not that many opportunities to improve my grade if I didn’t do too well on one quiz. Also I think something else that didn’t help too much was giving us our Lincoln-Douglas Debate topic way too soon into the year. It did get to the point during the semester where I forgot completely about my topic, which, understandably, is my own fault.
Actually performing the debate in class was very beneficial to my growth and development as a leader. This skill gave me the ability to actually get up in front of an audience and argue over controversial topics. I feel as a leader in training, public speaking and ability to speak confidently is key for my future so I am prepared for what life has ahead of me. The specific aspects of the debate were definitely the researching your topic and arguing in front of audience aspects. You really do have to be very informed about your topic before you go talk about it. Gaining this experience will eventually be a part of my everyday life, so I am very glad that I am doing it now.
Something that really surprised me about the actual debate was how much you do have to know to master your topic. Mastering your knowledge about a specific topic is vital when it comes to debating someone. If you don’t know too much about the topic, your opponent who will clearly know more about the topic will eat you alive. This is why you have to be very prepared for when you actually debate.
In the course of this class, I found that learning the history about debating was very interesting. From the opinion of most of the class that I heard, was that they didn’t like the history or background of the debate. I guess that everyone has his or her own opinions and mine would be to definitely be to keep teaching about the background because then you really get an understanding where everything is coming from. I feel that observing the debates were also very interesting as well. Watching my peers and friends debate against each other was not only quite entertaining, but gave me an opportunity to witness debates before I perform one.
If there were to be any changes to the course of the class, I would hope to wish for more quizzes or grades. I feel like one reason I don’t feel like I did as well as I wanted was because I did bad on one quiz or exam even though I felt like I was prepared for it. If there were more extended points or grades, I would have exceled much more. Also I feel like we should have had more than two debates. I do realize that we only have limited class time, but I would have loved to be able to participate in another debate like that. This way we would gain more experience, have fun, and also add more points to help out our grades.
I do believe I really did benefit from taking this class. Learning these skills about how to debate I feel is very beneficial, not only in college, but in real life. I know that taking this class my social skills and my leadership skills were greatly impacted. There were some ups and downs about the class, but overall I was really impressed about how much I learned and how I am going to be able to relate material from the class with real life. Although I know that I am not going to pursue a communications major, I will be able to use what I have learned with whatever it is I will try to do.