Debating & Academia

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Persuasion, structure, clarity: no matter what subject or academic context you will be writing or speaking in over the next few years, these three elements are crucial. Can you express your ideas and argument clearly? Does the way you organise your thoughts make sense? Are you able to convince people of your side of an argument? Being able to effectively utilise these three elements will prove to be every bit as useful in your academics at Warwick University as it is in debating.

Furthermore, we provide you with a whole range of useful tools and techniques designed to add nuance and depth to your analysis, which in turn will further help improve your ability to argue your side in any essay you choose to write or speech you choose to give. It takes time to learn how to write essays to suit a university context. This is generally because people are unsure how to be persuasive, clear and organised. Debating will teach you these skills in a friendly and relaxed environment, with the best part being that you won’t need to write essays to learn!

Irrespective of your subject of study, the ability to effectively and persuasively communicate your ideas is always an invaluable skill within an academic context. At university, critical thinking alone is never enough. Rather, you need to be able to demonstrate your critical thought, to show your professors that you are capable of thoughtful analysis and able to weigh up different arguments on their relative merits. When you debate, you will be acting upon these skills regularly to the point that they shall become second nature to you. In casual conversation as in actual debates, you will increasingly discuss ideas rationally and critically so that these skills no longer pose an obstacle to you, but rather they will become an integral part of your academic life. Thus, when it comes time to give a presentation, defend a dissertation or write an assessed essay, you will have the confidence in yourself and your academic abilities to do as well as you possibly can.”

When you debate, you will be acting upon these skills regularly to the point that they shall become second nature to you.

Finally, in an essay-based exam context, debating can prove extremely useful. It is true: debating can be stressful. Thinking up logically coherent arguments under intense time pressure can certainly be tough. However, this pressure directly replicates the pressure felt in an essay-based exam. In some ways, debate speeches are like mini-exams, testing the academic skills of critical thought, nuanced analysis and clarity of expression that examiners place such emphasis on when marking. However, unlike an exam, in a debate you won’t be hunched over desperately scribbling with aching hands with the threat of failure looming over you, but instead you will be expressing yourself in a friendly, non-judgemental environment with only constructive feedback from the judge – the penalty for doing poorl

Debating alone will not teach you to be an excellent academic, but it will provide you with a strong skill-based foundation to become one. Debating provides a relaxed, friendly and fun way to learn and practice crucial academic skills, allowing you to engage fully with the many fascinating and challenging ideas that university courses confront you with, allowing for a richer and more rewarding academic life at Warwick University.

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