By Gary Alan Fine
Learning to argue and convince in a hugely aggressive surroundings is just one element of existence on a high-school debate crew. Teenage debaters additionally perform a unique cultural world--complete with its personal jargon and standing system--in which they have to negotiate advanced relationships with teammates, opponents, coaches, and fogeys in addition to classmates outdoor the debating circuit. In Gifted Tongues, Gary Alan advantageous deals a wealthy description of this global as a trying out flooring for either highbrow and emotional improvement, whereas trying to comprehend youth as social actors. contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of the debating event, he additionally recommends methods of reshaping courses in order that extra excessive faculties can use them to spice up educational functionality and foster particular talents in citizenship.
fantastic analyzes the educational of debaters in rapid-fire speech, ideas of logical argumentation, and the strategic use of proof, and the way this education instills the center values of such American associations as legislations and politics. Debates, even if, occasionally veer speedy from high-quality screens of good judgment to acts of immaturity--a mirrored image of the tensions skilled by means of teens studying to imagine as adults. effective contributes to our figuring out of stripling years by means of encouraging us to not view them as a unique level of improvement yet fairly a time during which children draw from a toolkit of either childlike and grownup behaviors. A well-designed debate application, he concludes, nurtures the mind whereas delivering a surroundings within which youngsters learn how to make greater behavioral offerings, ones that might form relationships of their own, specialist, and civic lives.
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Additional info for Gifted Tongues: High School Debate and Adolescent Culture
Adolescents have expanded their cultural toolkit. The skills of both adulthood and childhood work for them at this social moment. 18 INTRODUCTION Despite its peculiarities and political ambiguities, high school debate is a valuable training ground for adolescents. Our educational system would be more successful in its goal of producing competent citizens if all, or many, students had the opportunity to participate in this activity. High school debate is a voluntary leisure and competitive sport, but it also captures the skills of competent expression, self-confidence in public activities, the use of logic, the gathering of evidence, and the presentation of policy options that we expect of all citizens.
18 Part of the job of the coaches is to teach their students how to talk. Speed—or, for that matter, all effective speech—does not come naturally. Adolescents (and also adults) have problems with breathing, enunciation, pitch, stumbling, monotone, and volume—a range of difficulties that drills are designed to address. Various techniques have been developed to aid the acquisition of this technical skill. 19 Not all advice comes with specific drills, but with the assumption that the debater can fix the problem.
Most of the latter are former debaters, now in college or recently graduated. While many tournaments have sections for Lincoln-Douglas debate, also known as values debate, in which students debate each other one-on-one on a topic selected every two months, Harrison’s tournament is only policy debate, in which teams of two persons each compete. Shortly after three o’clock on Friday afternoon, the coaches and debaters gather in the theater where the school’s debate teacher welcomes them and briefly explains the rules of the tournament, the policies of the school (a total prohibition on smoking, for instance), introduces the organizers, and points out the important locations: the rooms in which rounds will be held, the cafeteria, the tab room (where ballots are to be handed in and tabulated, and pairings for the following rounds set), the coaches’ lounge, and the restrooms.