Ladies and gentlemen, this house believes that debating can be a thorough skills training and our speech rests on these three main points:
First, debating develops a student's speaking skills, second, debating develops the students' listening skills, third, debating develops other skills.
Now, first and foremost, debating develops the student's speaking skills, and that can easily be done from grade 7 or 8 onwards (the latter is in which most students at the Schubart start).
Students love arguing for one side and attacking the other side and they are rarely given the chance to speak for several consecutive minutes in a regular language classroom.
Second, debating develops the student's listening skills. Some experienced debaters coaches claim that this is actually the most important skill for a good debater - you cannot refute (speak against) somebody else's arguments unless you listened very carefully first.
And last but not least, debating develops ceratin other skills. Students learn how to stand up and present their case, they learn how importand structure and signpost is. They improve their command of English: they elarn certain useful phrases (e.g. to address a major point) and they enlarge their active as well as passive vocabulary. On top of all that, students become more self-confident by having to give speeches on the basis of just a few notes and they learn to speak to an audience as well.
For the above reasons - speaking, listening and presentational skills - we beg to oppose the motion!
based on an article by Ellen Butzko, abridged and slightly adapted (Klett-Magazin close-up, 02/2004)