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From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.
As an English learner, you want to be able to understand and to discuss a subject. You also want to be able to express your opinions, and to support them. You can learn these skills by learning how to debate. Americans use the word debate to talk about discussions among people. Another use of the word debate describes a more formal discussion. Debaters work on a team to convince a judge that their opinion about a topic has more value than the opposite side’s opinion. The National Speech and Debate Association says that students of debate research both sides of a topic. They “learn to think critically about every argument that could be made on each side.” Debate comes from a tradition started in Ancient Greece. They believed people needed to have certain skills in a democracy, including speaking in public in support of an opinion, and being able to explain that opinion.
A debate contest traditionally has this structure: Teams agree to debate a statement, such as “Nuclear power should be banned.” One team supports the resolution. The other one is against the resolution. Each team gives an argument for or against the resolution. Then each team asks questions about the other team’s argument. After answering the questions, each team makes more statements to support its argument. Finally, they summarize the arguments, they talk about them again, in less time. In a classic debate, teams may take 12 turns, in which one member of the team speaks. Join us next week for more information on debates.