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From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.
Over the last two weeks we presented a method for teaching debate to English learners. Developed by Professor Charles Lebeau and Michael Lubetsky, the method appears in their book, “Discover Debate.” The approach has three stages: creating a visual aid to communicate an argument, presenting the argument and then answering the other team’s argument. The visual aid shows the opinion as the roof of a building, the reasons are pillars, and the supporting evidence is the foundation of the building.
The experience of debating can have long-lasting rewards outside of the classroom.
Charles Lebeau tells VOA that there are four benefits to learning debate skills. First is the development of critical thinking skills. The second is widening one’s perspective, or outlook. Debate skills also improve persuasive thinking and communication. Finally, they help people to understand Western culture. Mr. Lebeau says he thinks debate is very important for English speaking. He says it is a good way of approaching and presenting opinions, as well as responding to opinions. In Japan, where Mr. Lebeau teaches, he says his students can learn to be better communicators and business people by learning debate techniques. If they can argue and answer opinions point by point, they can be more successful in an English-style meeting. He wants his students to learn that the basic parts of successful business communications are the same as those of debate. That means expressing opinions, reasons and supports for those opinions.